Last month was beautiful as we sought to understand the perfection and completion of all that has been created, understanding that as we search to be excellent God makes everything perfect, and we may enter His rest. This month opens a door that for me is even more exciting than the last – it is the door to understanding the dawning of a new age. An age that began with Jesus Christ, one which we not only know about but where we are principal participants. It is the life into which we are born again, equipped to live in a Kingdom that reveals Jesus.
After seven days the Lord rested. All was finished and man was to reside in the most magnificent garden that has no equal. The food was plentiful, the animals under his dominion, not eating him or each other. Glorious peace reigned, and God told His creation to be fruitful and multiply. But as we have said before there was a very big oops, a happening that can never be ignored…..man was ousted from the garden and there was no way back. Effectively this was the 8th day. But God is always willing to make the broken whole, the damaged perfect, it is in His Holy nature to restore and recreate. Eight speaks of something new, not repaired and refurbished but new; whole and well. The eighth day is the beginning of a new week.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
How often do we want to cling to the past? Perhaps someone has hurt us, we are disappointed and we just haven’t got what we wanted…..we must let go. We are living in the Spirit and He fills us, guides us and helps us make our way through the world that is full of dangerous, unpleasant, hurtful and tricky situations. Nothing is too difficult for Him. I read books written by pastors, theologians and people all explaining, pointing, showing the way to follow Jesus, the way to be church, the way to be a better Christian, more committed, more of this and more of that, but in reality it can only be more of the Holy Spirit, more of Jesus that really makes the difference. It is the Holy Spirit who empowers and equips us for this new life. Please don’t misunderstand me, we need teaching and fellowship but without that real personal relationship with Jesus we shall always be looking in. I want to be well and truly grafted into the vine, looking from inside Jesus out. Asking God to let me see the world, people, situations through His eyes and with His understanding.
Remember so many symbols celebrated in the Old Testament were but a shadow of glorious things to come. Circumcision for example, the sign of a covenant God made with Abraham was to be done on the 8th day. It was the beginning of a new era as God promised to establish a Nation who were to reveal to the world His goodness. A Nation that He would personally bless and look after. This was something totally new, unheard of in its time. The surrounding pagan nations were constantly appeasing their gods, not building a relationship with them. And who would have known that although the 8th day may have seemed to be a rather arbitrary choice it was not. On the 8th day the blood clotting mechanism is fully formed, and the baby won’t bleed excessively. Our God is a God of exquisite detail. Think back to Easter: Jesus has died and been laid in his tomb. Everyone thinks it’s all over, all their hopes of a new kingdom have been shattered. And here are two disciples on the road to Emmaus, the day after Mary had found the tomb empty, but they hadn’t heard the news yet……It was the 8th day, the beginning of the week and they were trudging along the road, dispirited, discouraged, without hope when suddenly a man comes alongside them and asks them why they are so sorrowful. They can’t believe he hasn’t heard all the bad news and does not know what is going on. As He walks with them and talks to them their hearts begin to burn and they don’t want him to go, they urge him to eat with them……. Only then, when he took bread, broke it and gave thanks were their eyes opened. They recognized Jesus. Oh my word they recognized their Messiah and He was alive. Can you imagine the joy! The meal he ate with these disciples was the 8th meal spoken of in Luke, the 7th was the Last Supper. These little details on their own are unimportant but together they reveal a God who understands humanity. We are stirred by symbolism, it gives meaning and depth and it never ceases to amaze us how God has linked so many things together so that we may see in the maize of truth how repeated numbers enhance His Big Picture. The Old has gone and the New has arrived! And we are asked, “Do you not see it, do you not perceive it ……I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Today as believers we are called, even challenged to recognize that the building of God’s Kingdom is our mission, our life’s calling and vocation, one that requires dedication. Some will be called to achieve big things, like Billy Graham or Daniel Kolenda for example. While each of us will be asked to put our piece of the jigsaw in, big or small. Our task is to recognize the times in which we are living and in our own way announce through deed and word the reality of this New Kingdom of which we are part, that offers healing and forgiveness, reconciliation with our God and the recreation of a New World Order. A World Order in which God reigns supreme through Jesus Christ, transforming the earth through the power of the Holy Spirit as He is embraced by all who believe and are subject to Him. People today react quite strongly to talk of a World Order, immediately imagining a global cabal controlling people and establishing everything that is anti-God and anti-Christ. Yes the Bible does speak about such a time but it is not here yet and we don’t really know what it will look like or when it will all happen but we do know that God rules now and His Kingdom shall never end. His Kingdom is a mighty Kingdom that will endure forever, and God will reign over all…He is the World Order and we are His subjects.
There are millions of us all over the world. We bear His image, we house His presence and we operate in the power of His Holy Spirit. Our mission is to speak Jesus wherever we go and demonstrate His Kingdom. David Hathaway, a powerful English evangelist, who in his nineties continues to go as the Lord leads him, not to safe easy places but right to the frontlines. Ukraine recently, a nation at war with Russia, and now Kazakhstan……the tricky places. The key he says is the power of the Holy Spirit who fills him and strengthens him and sends him, and makes his path straight. And so we are in August, the 8th month of the year and we know we are in the 8th Day of a new order, a new beginning as the Lord our God has made a way for all creation to enter into the new season through His Son Jesus Christ. We need to be equipped and steeped in the things of God, marinaded in the Holy Spirit that we are always full of Him. Equipped to share and intentional in our lives so that we may reveal our King at home, in the workplace, the school, the hospitals and out in the streets.
It is Paul who puts this so clearly when he writes to the Philippians, he commands them to "work out [their] own salvation" meaning they are to put the truth of their belief into practice. What they are in Christ needs to be "worked out" through their actions and attitudes….Why? Because it is God who is acting through their lives. …..For it is God Who works in us to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. (Philippians 2.13) May we meditate on these words and ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to live a life that impacts the world for Jesus.
Father, thank You for creating a new era, a time of Your Kingdom where You alone are Sovereign. As your daughters, we ask that You would work in us and make us instruments of reconciliation, heralds of the new season. May we go and do as you have commanded that we share the good news of a new age and demonstrate the power of Your Holy Spirit to transform and make new. Fill us with the new wine, with living water that streams may be seen in the desert and the hope and wonder of Your Kingdom be evident wherever we go. Amen.