Most of us, if not all of us, at one point in time have started over. Whether it be a new job, bankruptcy, business failures, moving new residence, education, friendship, or marriage just to name a few.This brings us to our story for the week. Remember as always, details and facts have been changed to prevent any harm to those involved. A couple years ago, this person who was homeless met an outreach volunteer. It took some doing but a friendship developed therefore creating some trust, and honesty between the two. As time went by, the outreach was getting this person necessities that were needed. This person started working and started attending church. It was not long after that he accepted Jesus into his heart and was baptized. Unlike a lot of these stories this was has a great ending because a half year after he was baptized, he moved into a new home to start over.
This brings us to our scripture reading for the day:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope”, Jeremiah 29:11
Here is a little background to this so you understand. The Israelites were in exile, a punishment from God as result of their disobedience. The prophet Jeremiah confronts the false prophet, Hananiah, who had boldly proclaimed that God was going to free Israel from Babylon in two years. Just a heads up that God doesn’t do this.
Jeremiah calls out Hananiah’s lie, and then states the promise we read in our scripture today. God does indeed have a good plan for the Israelites, and it is a plan that will give them hope and a prospering future. Sounds good, right?
The following support that God will give us “Hope”:
- Romans 12:12
- Prospering Future
However, before he shares this promise, he gives them this directive from God: “Seek the peace and the prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper”, Hebrews 29:7
3 John 1:2
Now the Israelites did not want to hear this. They wanted to hear they were going home, that their suffering would end, but God had different plans for them. His plan was for them to stay right where they were, and to help prosper the nation that had made them prisoners. The biggest blow came in verse 10 when God says that he would fulfill this “after seventy years are completed in Babylon.” This meant that none in the current generation of Israelites would ever return to their home. What a crushing thing to be told!We all know that God knows the plan He has for us, but we do not know what that may be till He reveals it to us.
- Proverbs 3:5-6
- Romans 8:28
- Jeremiah 1:5
However, as we live out our life here on this unpredictable earth, we must not forget that our best growth comes from trials. Facing trials will make us a stronger person therefore we do not want to escape them all together. It is these trials that we succeed that bring us the greatest joy.No matter what battle you are going through, cling to the scripture of today. You must believe in it for the right reason. You must believe that God will not take away all your suffering but that he will give you hope while you are suffering through the trial.
- Psalm 39:7
There are many examples in the bible that come to mind that was created by God. How about the Noah and the Flood? Job had to start over. Below are a few instances where the bible speaks of new beginnings.
Moses: A Prince, Fugitive, Shepherd to God’s Disciple
After Moses’ fled Egypt for his life after killing an Egyptian who was beating a fellow Israelite, Moses must have felt that his life was basically over. From a powerful prince in Egypt and the likely heir to the Pharaoh, he was reduced to a fugitive and now a shepherd. The Egyptians despised and looked down on shepherds and Moses must have known this for Stephen said to the council after he was arrested for His belief in Christ,
- Acts 7:22
Now that Moses was a simple shepherd, he must have resigned himself to a life in the desert tending sheep but later he would be a shepherd, not of sheep, but in bringing out the nation of Israel. Moses found favor in the Lord God and God told Moses
- Exodus 33:17
Moses catches a glimpse of the glory of God;
He was a Prince who did what was considered right but caused him to be a fugitive. The only way he could carry on was to be a shepherd who saw God’s way which led to the Mosaic Law being named after him. What a great new beginning, Starting Over.
Esther: Orphan to Queen
Esther is all about God’s divine timing and intervention.
- Esther 2:7
so, she certainly must have had a humble life but when King Ahasuerus deposed Queen Vashti, Esther found favor in the king’s eyes
- Esther 2:9
When the Jews were threatened by a decree that they all be killed and so Mordecai came to Esther to ask her to intervene on behalf of the Jews and speak to the king about this. At first, she was reluctant, but Mordecai saw God’s hand in this and told Queen Esther that
- Esther 4:14
Esther courageously said that she would enter the king’s court at the risk of her own life but said
- Esther 4:16
The Jews were sparred and so was the life of Queen Esther, who was an orphan but rose to the position of Queen under King Ahasuerus who
- Esther 1:1-2
This orphaned Queen now ruled with the king over the greatest empire at that time. Starting Over!
Faith Hall of Fame
The unnamed author refers to Hebrews 11 as the “Faith Hall of Fame” because it’s like our sports hall of fame – a whose who of the ancient world.
Abel – First Martyr in the bible (Hebrews 11:4)
Enoch – The Man who walked with God (Hebrews 11:5-6)
Noah – A Righteous man (Hebrews 11:7)
Abraham – Father of the Jewish Nation (Hebrews 11:8-19)
Sarah – Mother of the Jewish Nation (Hebrews 11:11)
Isaac – Father of Esau and Jacob (Hebrews 11:20)
Jacob – The Father of the twelve tribes of Israel (Hebrews 11:21)
Joseph – Interpreter of dreams (Hebrews 11:22)
Moses – Giver of the law (Hebrews 11:23-29)
Joshua – Successful Leader, Faithful Follower (Hebrews 11:30)
Rahab – Spy for the Israelites (Hebrews 11:31)
The book of Hebrews 11 comprises of the best of the best from many centuries ago. There will be no new members added to this club as the door closed on new members when Hebrews 11 was written and published. There are many heroes and heroines in the Bible are not all given names. Hebrews 11:32-39 says:
- Hebrews 11:32-39
Many of these heroes and heroines never received their promise or reward but they have received it now because they were faithful and believed in and trusted God for they understood that God cannot lie and that He would deliver the promise…maybe not in their lifetime…but in due time. They did reap their reward and that can never be taken away.
- Isaiah 41:10
- Psalm 25:4-5
Lean on You
- 1 peter 5:6-8
- Proverbs 3:5-6
We are all going through trials. You can be the next story of a new beginning so take heart for God is the God of new beginnings. He is the God of second chances and third chances and beyond. He is the God of Starting Over!You can make a new beginning and but first you have to make sure that you are good with God and not you need to start over with God first by repenting and trusting in Christ. Otherwise you will have an end that is unchangeable. There is still yet time for you to make a new life in Christ.There is still time for you to make a new life in Christ. You need to do it today as tomorrow may be too late.
“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation”, 2 Corinthians 6:2
You need to have faith and trust in Jesus. You may or may not have friends but what do you have if you don’t have Jesus?