How lovely the stars sparkle in the sky on a dark night! When the sun isn’t shining and the moon doesn’t light up the night sky, then gaze at the stars! Even they can guide a lonely wanderer on his way, providing new courage and hope, helping him not to miss his goal. Then, as you marvel at the myriad of stars, allow them to teach you to look at even brighter and more glorious ones: the manifold promises of God’s Word, which resemble shining stars.
There are said to be about 32,000 promises in the eternal Word of Truth. For the beginning of the new year, we want to choose only one of them to enlighten us on the still unknown path. In Hebrews 13:5, we find this glorious star of divine promise: “For He has said, ‘I will never…desert you […nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake…you’” (AMP).
What a rock-solid foundation we have in the expression: “For He Himself has said!” If we place our faith in this Word, we hold a weapon in our hands with which we can cause the world, the devil, and sin to flee. Are there any doubts that cannot be eradicated with this double-edged sword?
Brother and sister, you who were stricken and tormented by doubts of many kinds in the past year, gird yourselves for the new year with this double-edged sword, “He Himself has said!”
The temptations and trials will not be the same ones. But we will have the strength to easily overcome them if we lean on this: “The Lord has said!” Oh, how great the divine Word should be for us; with diligence and zeal we should seek and search in it! It is noteworthy how our courage multiplies when we consider all the heroes of faith of whom the apostle in the epistle to the Hebrews speaks. They simply all depended on the God-given word. They were all mindful of the fact: “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)
Let us take a closer look at what God has said: “nor will I…leave you helpless.” Every attribute of God is at our service with this sentence. He wants to make His power and might known to us if we trust Him. With eternal love, He wants to let His enduring patience and kindness shepherd us. “I will never deny you my assistance!” This is a pledge that the Lord, the great God, has validated so often.
Dear brothers and sisters, perhaps in this new year we may have many spiritual battles to fight and many strongholds of Satan to storm. Let us now, more than ever before, cling to His divine promises. Let us allow ourselves to be led by this shining star. With the Lord’s help, let us rise above the petty, inconsequential things. Let us risk greater things in faith, and we will certainly be able to accomplish greater things.
The Church of the Lord is called to be the bearer of the gospel to all mankind. Are we to stand on the sidelines and wait, timid and despondent, by the wayside while God’s mighty work remains undone? Let us not look at the impossible but remember that God’s Word tells us: “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). “Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion” (Isaiah 52:1). The NIV states it like this: “Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city.”
Remember how the Lord has faithfully stood by you in the past days. There were some battles in the past year, some fiery trials, some waves of tribulation. Has not God proven what He says in His Word? Isaiah 43:2 says: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” We have all certainly had some experiences with God in the past. Sometimes it seemed as if the waves of trials were going to drown us. But wasn’t God faithful to His Word? Yes, certainly! Therefore, take courage, dear soul: God is with you!
How confidently we can face the new year! We can fearlessly place ourselves in the hands of the great God. Some things may even seem discouraging, but if we remain at the “fountain of living water,” we shall certainly not lack anything. But we also want to be courageous. Being a child of God and feeling dejected and discouraged at the same time does not fit together very well. If you are faced with persecution, be strong and bear it: “Be an overcomer, we must never yield.”
Someone told me that Christians are sometimes called “head-hangers.” The reply to that was: “That may be true, but that is an insult to Christians.” Others of the world walk proudly with their heads held high, while some Christians let their heads hang. But on the day when the Lord Jesus will return, the head-hangers will lift up their heads, and the others will have to lower their heads in great shame and disgrace.
The word of assurance, “I will not leave you,” gives us all cause to sing a song of joy. For “if God is for us, who can be against us?” But most importantly, we want to own this promise in faith. If God has given us this promise, and if this star is to lead us and prepare the way in the new year, we need to believe that God is faithful and that He will fulfill His promise.
Let us remember that He has said: “As your days, so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25). If the days are overcast, there will also be more strength to cheer us up and encourage us. Let us learn to look not so much at ourselves and our inability, but at Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. This star shall be our guide in the days ahead. Its brilliant rays should illuminate Jesus gloriously new every day. Remember this in all situations – God Himself said: “I will never… leave you helpless, nor will I forsake… you!”