Welcome to 2023!
Who knows what adventures lie before us?
If 2022 is anything to go by, 2023 will be a messy mix of highs and lows. Yet, whatever we’re about to face, the Bible reminds us that God is always able – and committed – to do something good. Something fresh. Something new.
The question is, are we ready for it?
How will we respond to the familiar divine invitation of Isaiah at the advent of a new year?
“The Lord says, “Forget what happened before,Isaiah 43:18-19
and do not think about the past.
Look at the new thing I am going to do.
It is already happening. Don’t you see it?”
When God teases us with his plans for ‘new things’, the original Hebrew word used for ‘new’ is chadash. It refers to something completely new. Something fresh. Something good that you’ve not seen or experienced before.
And when He invites us to ‘see’ it, the Hebrew word is yada which it appears over 900 times in the Old Testament. It’s often translated ‘know’. But it doesn’t mean to ‘know’ or ‘see’ something intellectually. This is an invitation to encounter the ‘new thing’ experientially and relationally, through active participation.
For example, if you know me then you’ll be aware that I have a passionate conviction that Belgian Chocolate Haagen Daz is the best ice cream on the planet. This is not intellectual knowledge. I did not read about this. I have not studied the Encyclopaedia of ice cream brands and flavours (although if such a thing existed, I might be tempted!). My love for this flavour has come through experience. I ‘know’ it, because I’ve tasted it – and it is goooooood!
But, of course, this divine invitation trumps ice cream any day – and it’s not so subjective. Taste and see that the Lord is good, is the invitation of the Psalmist (Psalm 34:8). Elsewhere we’re reminded that the goodness of God comes to us new and fresh every day (Lamentations 3:22-23) – like the most beautifully fragrant baked bread, ready for enjoying.
Maybe 2023 could begin with a new daily habit?
A simple prayer offered in humble surrender.
Whatever you’re up today
Whatever new thing you’re doing
Count me in.
Help me to see it,
and do it.
And as you pray this, I pray that the freshness of Heaven will give you strength and hope for all that is to come.