New Year’s Day – Sunday
I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. – Genesis 28:15.
Today you enter a new year, O Christian, and you know not what it has in store for you. In Christ, God has given you the most solemn assurances of His grace, of protection, of guidance on your pilgrimage to the eternal home.
Enemies will waylay you, oppose you—enemies cruelly armed with deep guile and great might. But God will stand between you and them. And if your eyes were opened as were Jacob’s, you would see the angels of God meet you, and you would shout: “This is God’s host” (Genesis 32:2)! Open your spiritual eyes; see in faith, and shout in joy and in the assurance of victory! He has given His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11).
And yet, it may come to pass that you will fear—fear greatly, because of some threatening danger or other. For your flesh faints and is despondent. Then shall you pray and cry out in remembrance of the promises God has given to you. That is the proper thing to do. And yet, it may seem at times as if God is against you. He may appear to meet you as an enemy, as He did with Jacob (Genesis 32:24-30), in order to test your faith. Oh, then hold fast to God, as Jacob did, and say: “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me” (v. 26b). And He will bless you; and you shall shout again: “My life is preserved!” And God will help you and lead you in the paths of righteousness, and will finally, this year or another, bring you home—home!
All this He promises to you. And He says: “I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” Now, with joy and confidence, say: “Amen.”
PRAYER. – Lord God, dear Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for the sure and comforting promises which Thou hast given me in Christ Jesus, and that Thou hast faithfully fulfilled them, even to this day. I pray Thee to continue to do so, and not to remove the protection that I so desperately need, until Thou hast done that which Thou hast spoken to me, and brought me safely home to heaven. O Lord, Thou art faithful. Give me a rich measure of Thy Holy Spirit working through Thy Word, that, trusting in that Word, and led by Thy hand through that Word – with all joy and confidence – I may enter upon the new year, indeed, face the whole future before me, hastening to my eternal home. Amen.
Let us all with gladsome voice,
praise the God of heaven;
Who, to bid our hearts rejoice,
His own Son hath given.
We are rich, for He was poor,
is not this a wonder;
therefore praise God evermore,
here on earth and yonder.
O Lord Christ, our Savior dear,
be Thou ever near us;
grant us now a glad new year,
amen, Jesus, hear us.
(Hymn 97, st. 1 and 3-4; TLH)