by Jake Hiebert
Dan 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
We people have a way of letting superstitions guide at least part of our personal belief systems. Personal belief systems can include family, clan, city, state, regional, and national beliefs. In very old and established countries the dividing line between all of these is very blurry indeed. But in a country as young and as large as the USA, these systems can vary greatly and may even seem to contradict each other. Opening the doors at the stroke of midnight to let the old year out and the new year in versus keeping all doors and windows closed to keep your prosperity in.
Other superstitions that prevail about the New Year are the New Years kiss to assure the affections felt for each other will continue throughout the coming year. Stocking the pantry well is supposed to insure that you will not suffer want for the year. Avoid crying on new years day, as your mood on that day will set the tone for the following year. At our house we practice the southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day for good luck through the year. These is just a few of the many superstitions that surround the coming of the new year.
What, then, does the bible say about the new year? Not what we might expect. Gen 8:13 And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry. That’s a pretty “landmark” event, but the people of the bible never celebrated “drying day” and we don’t today. Exo 40:2 On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. Moses set up the tabernacle on the first day of the first month, but the people of the bible never celebrated “tabernacle day” and we don’t today.
Now, just to make sure that the waters get really muddy, the Israelites had two different calendars with different first months. One was the religious calendar and the other was the civil calendar. The ancient people went by the sun and moon, anyway, and didn’t have much truck with dates and years and such.
Even Jesus, when faced with dating an occurrence, didn’t say Chislu the twelfth, 13bc. No, he would use the memory of the event to give it’s context. Luk 13:4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? No, the bible is pretty clear that God doesn’t view time the same way that mankind does, nor does He give it the same importance that we do.
Jas 4:14 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.
1Pe 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
It appears that The Lord doesn’t stress see things our way. How, then, does He see us? Psa 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Oh, these verses bring us back to repentance and obedience, don’t they. Let’s see what the wise Solomon says about these ideas.
Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Yes, we might say, but God knows my intentions. Yes He does. And your intentions are a work that will be brought to judgment. And doesn’t mankind say that a person had or has good intentions when what we did or do comes off badly? Truly, good intentions are NOT a fallback bailout by any means.
Bearing this in mind, doesn’t it make sense that what Daniel did, PURPOSED IN HIS HEART, is what the Christian should emulate? Making a New Years resolution is an act of good intention, actually a backdoor excuse for exactly NOT doing what was resolved. Being purposed in heart though, gives a solidity to what we want to do. It gives an anchor upon which to pin our hopes. In a way, we become accountable to ourselves and to our God to do that which we have purposed. But, bear this in mind, also, Mat 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
Mat 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
Mat 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Mat 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
Mat 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
A Christian must be very careful in making a resolution, purposing in heart, or making a vow. If you are going to do it, you’d better finish it. God would rather a Christian just do those things that are right, “Fear God and keep His commandments”. Do this, and you’ll do well.
Original article can be found at http://www.scripturalbaptistchurch.com/2012/12/a-purposeful-heart/