A “new year” is arbitrary, but I like it anyway. Most things do not improve with age. I peeled this orange for snack this week on the 5th day of Christmas, but it was not a gift from my true love. Inside this beautiful-looking orange was—yes, you can see it—mold! It looked good on the outside, but it was not fresh.
When God sent Moses back to his people, God gave them four great gifts:
• Protection—immediately welcomed! “When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down” (Exodus 12:23).
• Freedom—obviously marvelous! “During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites!’” (Exodus 12:31).
• Wealth—once again, transparently fantastic! “The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians” (Exodus 12:35-36). (NOTE: I am not citing this verse in relation to the modern nation-state of Egypt. This verse refers to an event more than 3,000 years ago.)
• New Calendar—Huh? “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, ‘This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year’” (Exodus 12:1-2). God makes things new and fresh. He showed this to his people by pushing the restart button on their culture: Happy New Year! Everything that happened before is gone. It won’t fit into your calendar, and it doesn’t belong in your memory weighing you down! Welcome to a fresh start with God!
As with everything in the Old Testament, God is pointing ahead to Jesus:
• When Jesus came, we received a New Testament.
• When Jesus died and rose again, a new kind of life became available: “Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life (Romans 6:4).
• When Jesus comes again, he will restart our universe with a new heaven and a new earth!
New is good! New is God’s idea! If you’re holding onto something old and rotten, chuck it! Ask God for something new!