When a new year begins, many people take up resolutions and make plans for the next 365 days of the year. Some resolve to get out of debt, to reach a new goal, to get better grades, to lose weight, or one of a thousand other ideas that people begin the year with and usually give up by the end of January. As people enter the new year, they often see it as a blank slate that can be used to accomplish all the goals that were left undone in the previous year. It is another chance to reach a goal. It is a new page in the book of life. It is a new and fresh beginning.
As we enter a new year, we begin our Bible reading with four important words: “In the beginning God…” (Gen. 1:1). We begin our reading in the first book of the Bible: Genesis. The book of Genesis means “origin” and it has been called the “book of beginnings.” In it, we see the beginning of Heaven, Earth, mankind, marriage, God’s Sabbath, sin, sacrifice, prophecy, human government, nations of the earth, and the family of Israel. We see the beginning of time and matter. All that we have and know has its origin in the book of Genesis. Genesis acts as the fountain head for many of the major doctrines that flow through the Bible.
Just as the first book of the Bible begins with God, so we must begin this new year with our hearts aligned with God’s will. All our planning and organizing is vain if it is not submitted to God’s will for our lives. We can scheme and plan but the Bible says “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” (Ps. 127:1). Unless the Lord is the director of our plans, we are laboring in vain. James 4:13-15 says, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the LORD will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” All our resolving, our planning, our arranging must finds its origin in a life that is submitted to God. It is only by God’s good grace that we have another breath, another day, another month, another year. May we begin our year by making a resolution to honor and serve the One who gave us both physical and spiritual life.
Another year I enter
Its history unknown;
Oh, how my feet would tremble
To tread its paths alone!
But I have heard a whisper,
I know I shall be blest;
“My presence shall go with thee,
And I will give thee rest.”