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New Year God’s Way—Solemn Repentance

My last two posts looked at bringing in the New Year from God’s perspective. The first way we can do this is when we understand that God’s way of celebrating should cause a spiritual rousing in us. The trumpet blast of the new year should stir our hearts with an awakening blast from spiritual complacency and brokenness into repentance and new birth.

Secondly, bringing in the new year God’s way should be about awe-filled remembrance. That means a time of remembrance of the God of Creation, the King of Creation, the Ruler of Mankind, the Giver of Commandments, and the Sovereign, Majestic, Worthy God. We should take time to remember with awe Who He is!

As we read Leviticus 23:23–25, we also realize that the Hebrews were preparing themselves for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which happened ten days later.

These were ten days of introspection, meditation, and preparation. These were ten days of people asking, “Where have I sinned? What must I be forgiven for?  What are some things in my life that I not want to drag into the New Year?”

Micah 7:18–19 reads:

Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?

He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.

You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.

The Hebrew word, tashlikh, literally means “to cast off.” It is literally an emptying of our pockets into deep water. Pastor Lloyd Ogilvie writes, “Once every year, on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the orthodox Jew goes to a stream or river and symbolically empties his sins from his pockets into the water as he recites Micah 7:18–20. This is the Tashlich service, named after the word “You will cast.” It symbolizes the fact that God can and will take our sins, wash them down the streams of running water and bury them deep in the depths of the ocean. God not only forgives our sins, He also forgets them. If some object that God cannot forget our sins if He is omniscient, let it be remembered that what He does when He forgets our sins is remember them against us no more!”

May this New Year, 2012, be a time for you to do some introspection leading to solemn repentance. May it be a time when you are casting off your sins, receiving forgiveness and letting God cast your sin into the depths of the sea, never to be remembered.

I encourage you to take a few minutes each day to get alone with God. You can pray, read His Word, listen to worship music or just be quiet and listen for His voice. Remember all that God has done for you and also cast any sin or need for forgiveness into His deep, dark ocean. Celebrate the New Year, today, God’s way.

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