Today’s readings are from Genesis 1, Matthew 1, Ezra 1 and Acts 1. All of them focus on new beginnings–of creation, the gospel (birth of Christ), Israel returning to the land, and the church. This is the beginning of a new year, a time to start something, to take a new path.
All of these events were also miraculous, or at least far beyond anyone’s imagination.
“Evening and morning,” “evening and morning,” six times in Genesis 1, reminding us that the pattern from the beginning has been to rest first and then to work. And that is just like the gospel–we rest first in the finished work of Jesus Christ, then we work for Jesus Christ. It is not that we do not work, but that we put work in its proper place. Through resting in Christ we gain the strength to work for Christ.
Joseph had to trust God (Matthew 1), that this child in Mary’s womb was really sired by the Holy Spirit. It was not obvious, but something that the angel declared to him. Trust God and wait for Him to fulfill His promises.
Here is another “unbelievable miracle” in Ezra 1. The people of Judah were in captivity in Persia (the recent conquerors over Babylon). They had been in captivity nearly 70 years and some had never seen their beloved land. They had almost lost hope. But God “stirred the spirit of Cyrus” to release them to build a house to the Lord, rebuild a lost temple. He also stirred the spirits of the people to return. God made good on His promises to Israel. He “moved heaven and earth” to return them to the land. Don’t lose faith that God can move the spirits of even the most powerful leaders.
Acts 1:14 says “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.” They were awaiting the promised Holy Spirit in prayer. How I wish this were true of the church today! People united in prayer–what a wonderful sight. God was about to do something new, and His people were united in devoted prayer. Keep praying in faith for God to do something new.