Psalm 103, 1 Samuel 4:1-22, Isaiah 43:14-25
Imagine being someplace you’ve never been and driving down the road only looking at the rear-view mirror. Your peripheral vision would catch some of the more dangerous things, but you would miss a lot. All too often we go through life this way. You may not have escaped your past, but you cannot embrace the future without looking forward.
Much of life is common among people. We live and die. We love and hurt. We fail and succeed. We have regrets and we have gratitude.
For many people, this year has been very hard: huge changes; life-changing events; lives lost; lives gained; big mistakes; new jobs; loss of jobs; moving; being forced to move. There are many that are looking to set aside this year, and so very ready to start the new one, yet many will be filled with fear, unsure of what will come.
In 1 Samuel, we read of a very bad time. The Ark of the Covenant, a Godly object—that many staked their identity and security on—was lost to a powerful enemy. Their leader (judge) and his sons have died. All seemed lost. The Israelites were fearfully looking toward the future.
By the time of Isaiah, the people were again looking to the future with fear. There had just been a declaration of guilt (Isaiah 42) and failure. The so-called People of God had been reminded of their failure to fulfill their role. The judge of the universe had declared their guilt. Just as many are fearfully looking to the new year, so, too, were the People of God fearful of what came after their conviction.
“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to the things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming…” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
1) Be deeply honest with yourself. What do you fear in regards to the coming year?
2) One can fear what is coming and still trust God. It is the type of fear that is the key. How can fear be good or bad?
3/KD) What is the one thing you are most worried will happen next year? What is the one thing you are most looking forward to next year?