Almost every culture celebrates the New Year. In countries like Brazil, the New Years celebration is the biggest of them all, even more elaborate and anticipated than Christmas. Do you remember New Years Eve, 1999? I remember watching the various celebrations around the world as the new millennium commenced in different time zones. The entire world was focused on the dawn of a new Millennium.
I believe that the attraction to the New year is that it brings hope and optimism that things will be better this year. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start. That is the focus of this New Years sermon, and to do that, we will look at Micah 7:78. Our focus is on the phrase, “when I fall, I shall rise.”
“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:7–8, ESV)
I. Setting of Micah
Micah was a prophet to the SOUTHERN TRIBES. His prophetic ministry was during the time of the Assyrian invasion of the northern kingdom. Even though the NORTH was guilty of disobedience and facing God’s judgment, the SOUTHERN TRIBES were also sinful. Although they would escape the Assyrian captivity, the Bablyonians would eventually take the southern kingdom captive as well.
Micah centers on THREE PROPHESIES
1. Judgment is coming. Chapters 1-2.
2. God will restore his people. Chapters 3-4
3. Chapters 5-7 repeat these 2 themes
This a book that describes HARD TIMES for God’s People. Micah describes the hard times in Judah by comparing the nation to a farmer with no harvest. Micah 7:1-2. Micah asserts that Israel was only good at sinning! Micah 7:3-4 In this deplorable situation, family members turned against one another. Micah 7:5-6
Micah is asking the question, could things get any worse?”
II. Micah’s Hope. Micah 7:7-8
“But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:7–8, ESV)
As Micah reflects on the many problems facing his people, he still has hope in god. He knows that Judah will be restores. He knows that God is compassionate and gracious and that he will forgive his people. Although Micah lived during a time of great trouble, his focus was on God’s character and this gave him hope.
The problems of your past do not define you.
The accusations of others will not influence God’s opinion of you
The troubles of this life are not permanent, they are temporary
God’s promises to you are far more significant than anyone else’s accusations!
God’s power to work in your life is greater than the mistakes you have made!
A sculptor had ruined a huge piece of beautiful Carrara marble. It was left in the courtyard of the cathedral in Florence, Italy, for almost a hundred years. Artisans thought it was beyond repair. But in 1505, a young sculptor by the name of Michelangelo was asked if he thought anything could be done with “The Giant.” He measured the block and carefully noted the imperfections caused by the bungling workman of an earlier day. To his mind came the image of the young shepherd boy David. He carefully made a sketch of that biblical character as he envisioned him. For 3 years he worked steadily, his chisel skillfully shaping the marble. Finally, he crafted a work of art that is still a masterpiece 500 years later!
It is not your problems, but God’s promise that is most important.
III. This New Year offers you the opportunity for a FRESH START
Let’s take the word FRESH and consider one point for each of the letters that instruct us on how we can begin with a fresh start in this new year.
F. Forget what is behind.
We cannot always intellectually forget. History is history. However, we can choose not to dwell on the past
Let go of bitterness. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31, NIV84)
Let go of grievance against your parents for what they did or didn’t do.
Let go of grievances your children for your disappointments.
Forgive your husband or wife for the hurts they have caused.
Let go of the grudge against someone at work because of the way they have treated you.
Stop looking for fault with another Christian.
Let go of an unforgiving spirit
Let go of the painful words and hurts caused by others.
Forgiveness is “giving up on getting even”
Let go of insecurities
Let go of allowing others to dictate your choices
Let go of your sin
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” (Isaiah 43:18, ESV)
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,” (Philippians 3:13, ESV)
R. Rejoice in the Lord!
A fresh start requires a thankful spirit. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV84)
Worship will change your disposition. “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NASB95)
E. Eliminate things that are harmful or unnecessary
S. Start something NEW
This is the “put off, put on” principle given to us in Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3. Before we can add something new, we must take something out. I like to illustrate this with a basket. There are lots of things we would like to put in our basket, but before we add something more, we must take out something so that we can have the room to add the new item.
On New Years we are thinking about new things to add to our lives. Resolutions to study harder, practice more, eat less or exercise. But in order to add more things to our already busy schedule, we must first remove some items.
New Years is a time to take inventory of our lives and determine what we need to remove and what we need to add.
H. Honor the Lord with your Time.
Honoring the Lord with our time requires a commitment to personal worship and corporate worship.
If you already have a quiet time, commit to continue
If you are sporadic, commit to be more consistent. Share your commitment with someone else
If you do not have a quiet time, commit 5-12 minutes every day for worship with the Lord.
Your ATTENDANCE. Commit to attending church
Your ATTITUDE. Come with the right heart attitude.
Your ACTIVITY (serve others). Come as a contributor and servant, not a critic.
It’s Time for a Fresh Start in this new year!