January 5, 2014

The Beginning of the Year – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

This phrase, “the beginning…of the year,” occurs only twice in the Bible, here and in Ezekiel 40:1, introducing the prophet’s prophetic vision of the future church.

“In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was taken, on that same day the hand of the LORD was upon me and He brought me there. In the visions of God He brought me into the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, and on it to the south there was a structure like a city.” (Ezekiel 40:1-2)

Ezekiel is providing a real, specific historical setting, in the promised land, for God’s vision of the future. In Deuteronomy, the Lord, through Moses, is speaking of this land that He had prepared for the children of Israel.

“…a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven…”

It was the promised land of their dreams, “a land flowing with milk and honey.…” (Deuteronomy 11:9-10)

Moses assures Israel that God cares for this land and that His eyes will be on it bringing great blessings…if they obeyed God.

“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain,…” (Deuteronomy 11:13-14)

But, it doesn’t rain in Israel, except in the winter, when they don’t need it. Americans (especially Arkansans) who spend time in Israel today, are struck with the desolate nature of this desert land. They understandably wonder, “…a land flowing with milk and honey…?” It’s a pile of rocks!

Once you see the desert Israel has become, you cannot miss the impact of the alternative promises Moses made about what would occur if they did not “serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain,…”

At the same time, with ominous certainty, Moses said…

“Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. ‘Or the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain…’” (Deuteronomy 11:16-17)

Israel forgot that, “ the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.” God saw their disobedience and kept His promises.

Although these promises were made specifically with reference to Israel, the principle surely would apply worldwide.

“He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God…” (Acts 17:26-27)

It certainly has applied to America, for God has certainly blessed our nation abundantly, founded as it was in its beginnings on the principles of God’s words. The “Pilgrims” who came to this country to serve God according to His word, demonstrated encouraging scriptural insights regarding the singular nature of the Lord’s church, practicing baptism for remission of sins.

Sadly, however, there are now many signs that His blessings are being withdrawn, because of the widespread apostasy and moral decay that has overtaken us.

Here, at “the beginning of the year,” we can pray that America will return to the God of our fathers before it is too late and final judgment falls on our once-blessed nation. In the words of our text, “the eyes of the LORD” are on us, “from the beginning even to the end of the year.”

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

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