Psalm 47:1-2; Revelation 22:8-9
A new year will soon be here. Have you made your resolutions? When the New Year came to ancient Israel a procession of praise wound its way up Mount Zion to the Temple. It was a time of festive celebration. “On New Year’s Day, the first rays of the sun, rising over the Mount of Olives, shone in a straight line through the outer Eastern Gate of the Temple, then on across the Temple court and over the great altar inside, between the two pillars on either side and on down the long corridor into the holy of holies, the sacred recess at the western end. These first rays of New Year’s Day were called “the radiance of God” and symbolized God’s entrance into the sanctuary. – Just at this moment, the shofar or ram’s horn sounded, and the procession began …” (Jeter, Joseph R. Jr, ReMemberiing). As they wound their way up the hill and into the Temple area they probably sang the opening of Psalm 47: “CLAP YOUR HANDS, ALL YOU PEOPLES; SHOUT TO GOD WITH LOUD SONGS OF JOY. FOR THE LORD, THE MOST HIGH, IS AWESOME, A GREAT KING OVER ALL THE EARTH.”
As the new year began they were reminded that, as the Psalm says, “THE LORD IS AWESOME, A GREAT KING OVER ALL THE EARTH.”
As we approach the New Year the media will draw attention to the past and often to a lot of negatives. Terrible storms, terrorist attacks, the polarization of congress, a contentious political race, war that escalated rather than ending, and if we get personal we can probably think of enough bad things that happened to us to make us miserable.
Instead, maybe we should adopt instead the view of the psalmist and ancient Israel and place our focus on the Lord, a great king over all the earth. Or take our cue from the way the book of Revelation ends. The book summarizes everything that has gone before: the fall of mankind, the strife and sinfulness that followed, and the death that came upon all. But it also includes the God who sits on the throne and says, “BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW” (21:5).
What can we do that will help us look to the future with faith and hope for the fulfillment of this promise? Hear the answer in the last chapter of the Bible: NOW I, JOHN, SAW AND HEARD THESE THINGS. AND WHEN I HEARD AND SAW, I FELL DOWN TO WORSHIP BEFORE THE FEET OF THE ANGEL WHO SHOWED E THESE THINGS. THEN HE SAID TO ME, “SEE THAT YOU DO NOT DO THAT. FOR I AM YOUR FELLOW SERVANT, …” Then he added two words: “ WORSHIP GOD!”
Two words: worship God. Remember that we have an awesome God, a King over all the earth. In the New Year the key to hope for the future lies not in our resolutions but in our worship of God. In a sense, each Lord’s Day is a New Year, and new beginning, and the Lord’s Table is the place where we can come to worship God and hear him say once again, “BEHOLD, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.”