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Is it your NEW YEAR?

The ushering in of a New Year is a welcome event to most people.. Lest they miss the excitement of the
transition of the old into new, many people keep awake through the night of the last day of the last
month. The celebration wanes off by the end of the day and one discovers that nothing has become new
except the calendar that has replaced the old. Old problems and previous sorrows linger on. The
oppressive employer, the nagging neighbour the disharmony at home, the uncertainties of the future are
still there. What newness can be brought in just by a good meal, go04dress and the sound of crackers that
rend the air? It is another vanity that vanishes thin into the air.
The walls may receive anew paint but the brick and the mortar inside remain the same. With the fears and
sorrows still locked in the heart, what newness can come just by wearing something brand new?

The history of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt thirty-four centuries ago was just that. Sighing and sorrow,
poverty and slavery were their lot under Pharaoh and his taskmasters. Months and years rolled by. The
tyranny of Pharaoh would not lessen nor the tears of their tormented souls cease. What joy, what newness
could there be to a soul in slavery and sorrow? The universal disease called SIN has done just that to the
whole world. Sin appears a pleasure to begin with, but slowly it turns into a power. The monsters of lust,
greed, selfishness, deception and envy, rule and ruin the hearts of people. "Whosoever committeth sin is
the servant (or slave) of sin", the Lord Jesus said (John 8:34). Sin brings the wages of eternal death
(Rom.6: 23). Sin brings guilt and guilt brings unrest. Fear and frustration cause people to go to the
extreme act of committing suicide.

Hebrew slaves cried in desperation. Their tormentors were too strong for them. God in heaven saw their
plight and sent a saviour in the person of Moses. God did this to deliver a small community of people.
Later God sent a global Saviour in the Person of Jesus of Bethlehem. No human is concerned or capable
enough of solving the sorrows of men. The Scripture says, "...he saw that there was no man...therefore his
own arm brought salvation" (lsa.59: 16). In the Person of Jesus on the cross, God stretched out His arm of
sympathy and salvation.
Deliverance to the Hebrew slaves came not by signs and wonders that Moses performed. Victory came
through the blood of the siain Passover lamb. This incident is recorded for us in Exodus 12 and this is one
of the "cross" chapters in the Old Testament. "...we have redemption", Eph.1 :7tells us "through his
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace". Salvation is in Christ. He is our
Passover Lamb. Salvation is offered free for the recipient but for the Donor, it did cost Him His all.

Deliverance demanded the blood of Jesus.
Salvation is conditional. Though Christ is the potential Saviour of all, He is the practical Saviour of only
those who repent and believe on Him. He is "the Saviour of all men", Paul tells us, "specially of those
that believe" (1 Tim.4:10). The belief or faith envisaged here is a special kind of faith. It is not merely
intellectual -a mental grasp and acceptance of objective, historical truths. It is a faith that comes with
repentance. Repentance that is Biblical involves two things. Firstly, there is a turning away from sin in
godly sorrow and secondly, there is a turning to and a yielding to God and His will. Biblical faith is
always a sequel to Biblical repentance. The Hebrew slave who applied the blood of the slain lamb was
spared and the one who did not, perished. The slaying of the lamb alone did not bring salvation but the
applying of its blood did. God did not save the Hebrew slaves because they deserved it. God does not
save anybody because he or she deserves it. Salvation is always by 'grace'. Salvation is God's unmerited
favour to undeserving sinners.

The work of redemption -the slaying of the lamb and the application of its blood -brought a new start to
the life of a Hebrew slave. The years that had gone before were left uncounted and unvalued. Divine
dating begins with salvation. "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first
month of the year to you" (Exo.12:2). God values only Redemption years and not calendar years.
Have you begun with God? January firsts may come and go. They have no real and lasting significance.

In the life of the Hebrew slave, redemption through the blood marked a new beginning.
Such a beginning is characterised by four aspects. Firstly, it was a beginning of their liberty from all
bondage. God in His mercy freed the slaves. Secondly, it marked the beginning of their separation.
Salvation must be followed by separation. Thirdly, it was the beginning of God's continual provision. It
was a marvel that God fed two to three million people in the wilderness by raining manna from heaven.
Fourthly, it marked the begin ning of revelations regarding Himself, His Law and His Sanctuary.
God desires to initiate such a fourfold beginning in your life and mine. Christ was made sin for us on the
cross (2 Cor.5: 21), only to initiate such a new year in our lives. Have you begun with Christ


Scripture portion: Exodus 3

In this well-known story from God's Word, we are being made to see how each and everyone of us as
God's witness can become fruitful and even abundantly fruitful in God's service. All of us as fellow
-believers are called by God to a high heavenly calling. He not only forgives our sins but He also wants
us to serve Him as His co-workers. In two places in the Scriptures we are called God's co -workers. "F,or
we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building We then, as workers
together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain"(1Cor.3:9; 2 Cor.6:1).
That privilege is not given to angels even though they are mighty angels, and that is why nowhere in the
Bible do we read of angels as God's co -workers. God has called us not only with a heavenly calling but
with a high heavenly calling, to build for Him His glorious, everlasting, heavenly Sanctuary. That
mystery cannot be understood by us, by any kind of worldly knowledge, or wisdom. By faith we accept
it, and by the same faith we want to be prepared for our part in it. God wants us to be filled with His
fullness and become His everlasting Habitation in return.

From the story of Moses we see how God prepares us for His ministry. First of all, we see that our human
zeal cannot make us useful for God. Moses tried to serve God with his zeal and met with failure. Even
though he made a great sacrifice in refusing to be called Pharaoh's daughters son, and showed much zeal
to serve the people of God and help them, he came across failure. He had to .run away and hide himself
in a desert with his father -in -law for forty years. During that period of forty years, he forgot what all he
learned in Egypt. Even though the man of God was so mightily taught in all the wisdom of the Egyptians
and was mighty in words and in deeds, God could not use him. To make him forget all what he learnt in
Egypt, God had to take him away from Egypt. Thus he became empty, before God could use him
mightily and fruitfully.

Then God gave him a definite personal experience of his holiness. That is how the story begins in Exodus
chapter 3. None of us can be useful to God by our human qualifications, wisdom, or cleverness. First of
all we need to have a personal experience of the loving and the living God. And the angel of the Lord
appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush
burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this
great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called
unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I" (Exodus 3:2-4).

By living in the desert with his father -in - law for forty years, Moses became like a dry bush. Everything
that he learned from the great teachers of Egypt was forgotten by him completely. Only then he could
become entirely dependent upon God and God's word to serve Him and follow Him.
Then he saw the fire in the bush, and that bush was not consumed. He was made to see how God is holy.
God wants us to be indwelt by Him. In a symbolic way it speaks of the experience of new birth. We know
that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing (Rom.7:18). According to God's standard, He wants us to have
everlasting righteousness. Only then we can become His co -workers for eternity in His heavenly
kingdom. This burning bush and the divine fire, speak of the righteousness of God -God's own
righteousness. According to Rom.1 0:3,4 there is God's righteousness and there is our righteousness.

Moses tried to become righteous before God by his own wisdom and zeal for his people. No one could
find any fault in his life at that time. He was a man of great sacrifice. Always he had some way to help his
people. That way he became self -righteous. What we do in self -righteousness cannot please God. When
Moses saw the fire, he understood how he had to become righteous before God.
Now the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our righteousness, not our Bible knowledge, nor the rituals in
which we take part. "But of him are ye in, Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption"(1 Cor.1: 30). By that righteousness alone we can stand
before God for eternity.

Now, having become righteous, Moses heard God's voice (Exo.3: 4). After we become righteous by
God's righteousness, we have to receive heavenly, definite commission to serve God in some capacity.
Many believers think of salvation only as coming to meetings and going back home, or having their
family prayers morning and evening or giving some money for God's service. They are satisfied with
these things but do not make any inquiry from God or find out His purpose in saving them. The very fact
that the Lord Jesus Christ gave all that He had to be our Saviour, is proof to us that He had a high purpose
in doing so. According to Col.1: 16 the Lord Jesus Christ is the creator of the whole universe. He created
it by one word. He created it from nothing (Psa.33:6 and Heb.11 :3). But to be our Saviour and Redeemer
He had to empty Himself as we read in 2 Cor.8:9. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that,
though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich".

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