The Hebrew word shannah means year, three hundred sixty five days. The word is mysteriously complicated and connects to the number two. In the language of God’s Holy Word, it can mean second, the duplicate, or the repeat. Over the course of a year, the Earth completes its annual journey around the sun, then repeats or duplicates the process next year. What are the spiritual implications of this second voyage and how does this connect us to God?
A yearly cycle also repeats God’s ordained seasons – winter, spring, fall and winter. Similarly, within a year, the moon repeats its monthly cycle of orbiting around the Earth. Further, each day of the month (and year) repeats the twenty four hour cycle that preceded it. Thus, a new year is not just a repetition of the previous year, it contains multiple patterns of duplication and repetition that relate to human behavior. The nature of our existence seems to be founded in repetition.
Not surprisingly, humans are creatures of habit and tend to repeat previous actions and routines, both good and bad. Daily we rise, wash, eat, perform our daily chores, and rest during the night. Annually, at the beginning of each year, people make resolutions to terminate harmful routines. Sadly, most people abandon their commitments within a month and repeat their patterns of previous years.
The important point is God provides a chance each year to renew and refresh ourselves. Not coincidentally, the word shannah has a double meaning – it also means change. Thus curiously, it is the opposite of the meaning to duplicate. What is God trying to tell us? He wants us to view each year as a year of change, not duplication. A shannah can be either one, how can this make sense?
Does a coin not have two sides, each different from the other? God is telling us we have a choice – not a random choice such as guessing whether a tossed coin will come up heads or tails, but a deliberate choice to improve ourselves. You can choose for a new year to repeat the same, miserable routines as the previous year, complete with its dysfunctional habits. Instead, God offers you the option to elect a year of renewal and change. You can repent and abandon your wicked ways and choose to draw closer to Him.
When Jesus was nailed to the Cross and died to save us from our sins, figuratively He handed each person a two-sided coin. We will redeem that coin when we die. One side grants us eternal life in Heaven while the other side condemns us to eternal torment in Hell, separated forever from God. At our birth, the coin by default is given to us “Hell-side up” Unless we turn the coin over, i.e., turn our lives around and repent from sin, we will fail to enter Heaven.
A businessman I once knew sold quarters welded to a large nail. Bar owners bought these items and nailed them securely to their floors, then watched with amusement as inebriated patrons tried desperately to pry the coins from the floor. In their drunken stupor, most worked long and desperately to extract the coin, convinced it was within their power.
Man’s sin relationship with God is little different. We try desperately to perform good deeds that will pry us out of Hell, but our efforts are even more futile than the barroom patrons. Works will never expose the “Heaven” side of the coin. Salvation comes only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Blessedly, the coin Jesus gives us is easily changed to “Heaven-side” for redemption by flipping it over. The coin is really our heart. All we need to do is accept in our heart His sacrifice as payment for our sin and then change our ways through repentance. This grant us license to enter Heaven.
It is normal to change your ways and draw closer to God. The good news is you don’t need to wait for the new year, you can do it today. What choice will you make? Will new beginnings, new steps, and a new relationship with God the remainder of this year or will you repeat and duplicate the sinful ways of your past years?
Make this a year of change. Embrace the newness of a supernatural relationship with the Creator of the Universe and cast off the bondage of repeating the natural. Walk in the will of the One who can transcend all that is old and replace with glorious newness and light. Call on Him to give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you. Ask Him to remove your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh, so the Spirit can move you to follow His decrees and obey His commands (Ezekial 36:26-27). Then open your heart and praise Him.
“I’m Normal.™ I AM.”
It’s God Talking to You
Jeff MyersA servant of Jesus Christ
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