A Clean Slate

The New Year is a time many people like to look at as a clean slate. The past is behind them and the New Year brings an opportunity to start afresh.

This brings to mind a verse from the book of Lamentations…

But this I call to mind, and therefore have hope;
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, says my soul,
Therefore I will hope in Him.
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
to the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:21-26 ESV

So much about the character of God and our relationship with Him is revealed in those verses.

First, we see that that there is an action that we must take; we must “call to mind” – that is, to consider, to think about, to bring to the forefront of our thoughts – Him who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and last of all creation. In so doing, we have hope. Hope that all is not lost, that what we see is not all there is, that all life – most especially, our life – has value and meaning and purpose beyond that which we can perceive or conceive with our limited knowledge and understanding.

Secondly, we take hope in the fact the love of God (who is Lord of all, but most especially of those who seek Him and honor Him with all their heart and soul), never ceases. As a result, His mercies are new every day! We have a clean-slate with God every day, because “love keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Cor 13:5 CEV). As a result, we come to see and know just how great God’s faithfulness is. Even if we are faithless, “he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13 RSV).

Thirdly, the Lord is my [our] portion. What does that mean? I’m going to let Matthew Henry lay that out for us here, as he does it so well…

That God is, and ever will be, the all-sufficient happiness of his people, and they have chosen him and depend upon him to be such (v. 24): The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; that is,

  1. “When I have lost all I have in the world, liberty, and livelihood, and almost life itself, yet I have not lost my interest in God.” Portions on earth are perishing things, but God is portion forever.
  2. “While I have an interest in God, therein I have enough; I have that which is sufficient to counterbalance all my troubles and make up all my losses.” Whatever we are robbed of our portion is safe.
  3. “This is that which I depend upon and rest satisfied with: Therefore will I hope in him. I will stay myself upon him, and encourage myself in him, when all other supports and encouragements fail me.”

NOTE: It is our duty to make God the portion of our souls, and then to make use of him as our portion and to take the comfort of it in the midst of our lamentations.

SOURCE: Henry, Matthew: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody : Hendrickson, 1996, c1991, S. La 3:21

We know that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45 RSV). How much better is the Lord to those wait for Him, to those who seek Him! (See Matthew 7:11)

Lastly, we see and learn that it is good to wait quietly for our salvation. It does no good to make a bunch of noise about whatever it is that we find so troubling. God knows all, and we do best to humbly and quietly wait upon Him. In so doing, we demonstrate complete confidence in our Lord, and our attention remains on Him and not on our circumstances. Waiting quietly and patiently on our Lord is an exercise that brings us toward the goal of Christ-likeness, and a mature walk of faith, that is salt and light to those around us (see Matthew 5:13-16). It enables us to be a blessing, as opposed to constantly seeking a blessing. Remember the words of our Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 ESV).

May your New Year be filled with the joy of drawing close to God
and knowing His loving mercies that are fresh and new each day.

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