You can Receive God’s Favor in the New Year
“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance”. (Psalm 65:11 NLT). What a powerful verse that clearly shows God’s favor on the New Year!!
Psalm 65 is considered a National Psalm of praise and thanks to God for His goodness. It was apparently sung after the spring rains came in to water and refresh the earth. This song was even more meaningful if the Nation had been through a particularly bad dry season.
As 2017 ends, you may be reflecting about what happened in the past 12 months. Some will have testimonies, others will remember challenges, while some others may think of the health issues they had to face. Some would say, ‘It was my best year’, while others may say, ‘it could have been better’. The list can go on! While preparing this article, here are some old memories that went through my mind.
- I remembered a year when I ended up in hospital on January 2nd, due to a severe asthmatic condition
- My mind went back to December 26th, 2004, when the horrible Tsunami devastated the coastline of my lovely country, Sri Lanka.
- Memories flashed through of one particularly disappointing year when Johnny Logan’s song “What’s Another Year?’ seemed to be a good anthem for me for the New Year!!!
- And of course, I remembered the year which I entered as a Born-again son of God, thanks to the amazing saving grace of Jesus!
Let me now take you to the words of Psalm 65:11 from which I would like to share 3 thoughts about God’s favor on the New Year. They are;
1. GOD PLACES A CROWN OF FAVOR ON THE YEAR
A crown is a special and glittering insignia worn by special people like Kings, Queens, Emperors & other royalty. At sporting events in Biblical times, sometimes a crown or something that resembled it was given to the winners. In present-day beauty contests too, the winner is given a crown. We also crown people with titles like King of Rock and Roll (Elvis Presley), and King of Pop (Michael Jackson). But mostly, crowns are identified with royalty. Of course, we know only too well that human crowns fall off after a season.
The Bible identifies God’s people as a Royal Priesthood, crowned by God Himself! Psalm 65:11 as we read, says that ‘God crowns the year’. Yes, His grace will crown every day we face in the coming year with its challenges!!
Here are some of the crowns mentioned in the Bible. In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul, possibly remembering the then famous Isthmian Games, speaks about a ‘crown of righteousness’, while in James 1:12, we read about the ‘crown of life’. Isaiah 61:3 talks about a ‘crown of beauty’ and 1 Corinthians 9:25, reminds us about an ‘eternal crown’. Peter, in his first epistle tells us about a ‘crown of glory’ (1 Peter 5:4) and Isaiah 51:11 says, ‘Everlasting joy will crown their (believers) heads’.
Let’s now look at the ‘crown’ Psalm 65:11 is talking about.
2. THE CROWN OF GOD’S FAVOR ON THE NEW YEAR IS A BOUNTIFUL HARVEST
The NKJV translates it as ‘His Goodness’.
My prayer for you is that God’s favor on the New Year will bring you a ‘bountiful harvest’. As we step in to a new year, what a comfort it is to know that His ‘Goodness’ is upon us. So, let’s look at some of the acts of God’s ‘Goodness’, shown in this Psalm, which will lead to a ‘bountiful harvest’.
- God answers our prayers (verse 2)
- He forgives our sin (3)
- Fills us with the good things of His house (4)
- He answers with awesome deeds (5)
- Protects us (5-7)
- He does wonders (8)
- And He sends rain and makes the land fertile as the climax to a year of abundant blessing (9-13). This was of great importance in the agricultural setting and community in which this Psalm was written.
As I look back upon the past year, I can see the bountiful harvest God has given us in our ministry, besides providing for us in supernatural ways. Over the Christmas Season, I had the opportunity to preach the Christmas message on 10 separate occasions with many giving their hearts to the Lord. He also provided for us in every way, including travel opportunities to the United States and Singapore. God’s favor on the year truly gave us a ‘bountiful harvest’!
A man of God said, ‘You may lack the fastest, the finest and the latest, but you won’t lack what is needed’!!
Are you ready to prepare yourself for a ‘bountiful harvest’ through God’s ‘goodness’ in the New Year?!!
3. GOD’S FAVOR ON THE NEW YEAR WILL BE SEEN EVEN IN THE HARD PLACES
“Even the hard pathways overflow with abundance”.
No doubt, you and I will have to face some, if not many ‘hard pathways’ in the coming year. It’s part of life. But, the Psalmist says, “Even the hard pathways overflow with abundance”. Yet again, this statement must be looked at in the agricultural setting in which it was written. God’s abundance is spoken of here, even in the most difficult moments or seasons. Someone said,
‘If God takes us on stony paths, He will fix us with strong shoes’!!
Right now, I remember 2014. It was a challenging year for us from a health perspective. First, to my dismay, I found that the Retina on my left eye had torn, which meant that I had to go through 2 surgeries in the space of 3 months. It was truly a ‘hard pathway’. After the surgery, I received the only IPad I have ever owned because they placed a pad over my eye!!! A few months later, my wife was hospitalized with Dengue Fever which was quite scary for a few days. Thank God, He brought us through it and we saw His blessing and favor in the midst of the ‘hard pathways’.
This Psalm speaks about abundance, after a dry season. Maybe the past year has been a ‘dry season’ for you; for your ministry. If so, can we believe together that you will see ‘God’s abundance overflowing in the hard pathways’ in the New Year?
As we prepare our hearts to see Psalm 65:11 fulfilled in the days ahead and to receive God’s favor on the New Year, let’s remember that on our part, we need to give the Lord Jesus the first place in every area of our life. Here is some advice I once came across in a bulletin.
‘To achieve spiritual success, do not forget to give God the first hour of the day, the first day of the week, the first part of every paycheck, the first consideration in every decision, and the first place in your heart.’ – That’s a great way to start and to live through the year ahead!!
May you receive ‘A crown of goodness and a bountiful harvest in 2018’, and may you find ‘His abundance overflowing even in the hard pathways’. May you see God’s favor on the New Year. Have a blessed and Christ-filled 2018!!