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Another Year Opens

Another year has opened before us, and, as we look back in retrospect, we can raise our Eben-ezer and say, 'Hitherto hath the LORD helped us' (1 Sam. 7:12). Yet, how easily we can forget the many boons and blessings we receive daily from the gracious hand of our heavenly Father, both in our personal and assembly lives!

One does not cease to be amazed when reading of Israel, that 'they forgat God their Saviour' (Ps. 106:21). Daily the manna came on the ground. He 'satisfied them with the bread of heaven' (Ps. 105:40). What was their response? '... our soul loatheth this vile bread' (Num. 21:5 RVM). Instead of recognizing their emancipation and redemption from Egypt, under the hand of God through Moses, and, instead of being joyful in travelling to God's promised inheritance, they turned back in heart to the fleshpots of Egypt. 'We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt for naught; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks...' (Num. 11:5), and they despised the provision from heaven.

Paul, writing to the Philippians says, 'I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus' (Phil. 3:14). Are we of those who shrink back? Is the world and its allures drawing us away from the daily gathering of the manna of the Word? How solemn the warning '... if he shrink back, my soul hath no pleasure in him' (Heb. 10:38). This is the same word that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 10:5 '... with most of them (Israel) God was not well pleased'.

Is our daily walk such that the Lord will take pleasure in it? Of Enoch we read that he 'walked with God' (Gen. 5:24). The Septuagint renders this 'Enoch pleased God'. Can we resolve in 1999, God willing, to make it our aim to be well pleasing to Him? Let us remember that Christ 'pleased not himself' (Rom. 15:3).