A new year is here, and with it comes both anticipation and anxiety. We are excited about the new possibilities, albeit pursuing new possibilities is often accompanied by anxieties over the unknowns that come with new choices. God has blessed us to be alive to start 2020, and since he is a purposeful God, we know he has some purposes for each of us to fulfill each year. God has put us where we are to partner with him to accomplish his purposes.
In the Old Testament, God had plans for Israel. The people that he had called to be his unique people were to manifest his love and reality to people who did not know the one true God. As God called Israel out of their slavery in Egypt, he promised that if they would love him and live out his values in the world, then he would lead them into their own land, a land full of bountiful resources.
In Deuteronomy 11, God tells them about the land they will take possession of in the days ahead. In Deuteronomy 11:11–12 (CSB), God said, “The land you are entering to possess is a land of mountains and valleys, watered by rain from the sky. It is a land the Lord your God cares for. He is always watching over it from the beginning to the end of the year.”
God contrasts rain watered crops with the hours of slavery they spent in Egypt digging ditches to get water to the fields and crops. In the new land, God provided the water for the crops; they didn’t need to worry about that. Their labor was to cultivate the fields and harvest their bounty. So the land could be a blessing or a curse. It would be a blessing if they committed themselves to live for God, keeping his priorities as their own during the challenges to come.
We have the same challenge in the year that lies ahead. God goes before us, makes provisions for us, keeps his eye and caregiving upon us, and blesses us as we follow his instructions. However, when we forget God, running headlong into future opportunities without consulting and partnering with him, then the new opportunities often become self-made curses. On the other hand, life becomes a blessing when we follow God directions, and live with him and for him.
When we daily walk with God, seek his instructions and fulfill his purposes, then the promises of verse 11-12 become personal promises to us. We can confidently embrace and possess the new challenges and opportunities God gives to us, because God is with us, and God will be caring for the projects and providing the needed resources to carry out his promises to us. Life’s sustaining resources will be provided by God, and God will be working in the plans and processes he leads us to initiate.
God will provide for us as we serve him, and his promises will be kept from the beginning of the year to the end. God is watching over your life, and he doesn’t get tired or lose interest. The whole year belongs to God.
We need not fear the unknowns or hardship that will pop up as we serve him. Making his plans successful is God’s job, not ours. Our job is to align our life with God, love him, listen to him, obey him and leave the results to him. When we do this, there is no need to be anxious about the things that we will face in 2020.
Instead of making resolutions we never keep, maybe we could ponder some questions as we seek God’s plans for this next year: How does God fit into your life as you face the new year? Or perhaps a better question is: Where does your life fit into God’s purposes, plans and activities for the new year? How could this year be different for you if you became more aware of his presence with you from the beginning of the year to its end?
Blessing comes from putting God first and fulfilling his purposes. When we daily follow God’s instructions, we can be confident that the results ahead will manifest God’s activities in and through our lives. May God give you a blessed life as you serve Him in this new year.
Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church in Gwynn, Virginia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.