A Fresh Start-S6Ep1
This podcast covers the Introduction to Reboot Renew Rejoice Bible Study by Melanie Newton.
A Fresh Start
In 1934 America, during the Great Depression, the Dyess Colony was created in Arkansas. The Dyess Colony was a federal resettlement community that provided a fresh start for nearly 500 poor Arkansas farm families who had lost their homes, including the family of music legend Johnny Cash. With no money down, the Cash family was advanced 20 acres of fertile farm land and a five-room house in which to live. The farmstead also included a barn, a smokehouse, a chicken coop and an outhouse. The Cash family was given three years to clear their land and convert it to agricultural production before they had to start paying the government back. For those families, this was a chance for a fresh start. Twelve years later, something even greater happened to the Jewish people living across our planet.
A Fresh Start for Israel 1948 AD
In 70 AD, the Jews were forcibly exiled from their land in the Middle East by the Roman Empire. Yet, the people kept their attachment to their homeland and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom. By the 1800s, fewer than 25,000 Jews lived in their ancient homeland, mostly in the city of Jerusalem.
In the late 1800s, a new wave of Jews began returning to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. This migration continued into the 20th As pioneers, they made deserts bloom with their agricultural advances. They revived the almost dead Hebrew language. They built villages and towns under British rule, yet always aspiring towards independent nationhood.
Then, World War II happened. The horrors of the Nazi holocaust in Europe spurred a greater interest in supporting a national Israel.
On May 14, 1948, the Jewish People's Council gathered in Tel Aviv and declared the establishment of the State of Israel. For the first time in almost 2000 years, the Jews once again had their own nation. It was a fresh start.
Their proclamation of nationhood in May of 1948 appealed to the Jewish people living around the world to rally around the Jews of Israel in the tasks of immigration and to stand by them in the realization of the age-old dream—the redemption of Israel. Just before the signatures on that proclamation was written this phrase, “placing our trust in the rock of Israel."
As one writer put it,
This is a story of national and cultural revival unparalleled anywhere else. And the realization of a vision that only a few generations ago would have seemed like a wild and impossible dream.
Thus began the reboot of the nation of Israel. Actually, that’s the second reboot. The first reboot occurred 2500 years earlier in 537 BC.
Reboot of Israel 537 BC
From Genesis, we learn that the Jewish people descended from a man named Abraham. God called Abraham out of his home country and sent him to Canaan, what we now know as modern Israel. God promised him zillions of descendants, a specific area of land, and a blessing for the whole world that would come through Him. Abraham’s descendants moved to Egypt where they grew in number for ~400 years but became slaves of the Egyptian rulers. So, God delivered them from bondage through Moses who took the people across the Red Sea to Mt. Sinai where God gave them their Law.
After 40+ years, God led them to their promised land and helped them establish themselves there. He provided priests, prophets, and kings to help the people to know God, love God, and serve God. Israel was supposed to be God’s representatives to the nations of the world. But, the people kept getting drawn away to the evil practices of the nations around them.
After about 700 years of living in their promised land, God determined that the Jewish people would be in a “70-year time out” from living in their land because of their evil behavior.
Beginning in 605 BC and lasting about 30 years, many of the Jews were removed from their homeland and taken into captivity in Babylon (modern Iraq) and into other areas of the Babylonian Empire (including Turkey and modern Iran. For seventy years, they learned how to live in a pagan environment away from their Temple and their land.
After the 70 years of exile were over, the Persian king Cyrus the Great allowed the Jewish people to return to Judea and rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem. Three groups of people returned over the next 100 years bringing thousands of dispersed Jews back to their homeland.
This remnant of Jews returned to a ruined Jerusalem, a destroyed Temple, and other obstacles to their success. Many of them who had been born in Babylon had little concept of living in the “promised land” and how to worship God there. What would that look like? They didn’t know their identity or purpose for existence.
So, God in His goodness inspired someone to chronicle the history of His people from their first calling through Abraham to what happened that caused the death of the nation and exile to Babylon. That’s what we have in the two Old Testament books called 1 and 2 Chronicles. In them, the writer not only chronicled the history of the Jewish people but also reminded the new generation that God had been their help in ages past. The writer emphasized the unconditional covenant God made with David to maintain a descendant to be the leader of the Jews. God had always been with them. They still had the power of His presence.
The author of the Chronicles showed a despairing people that they had a powerful, faithful God who would strengthen them to rebuild the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. And, more importantly, he emphasized how important it was to stay faithful in their worship of the God who called them to be His people and to be a light to the world. The hope was that the Jews would never again fall into the worship of other “gods” besides their own covenant God. No more idol worship. God had given them an opportunity to reboot their relationship with Him. The power of His presence was still there.
The Value of a Reboot
Throughout our study of Chronicles, we’ll see the value of a reboot. If you own a computer or other digital device, then you probably know that restarting that computer or device is known as a reboot. It clears away whatever was causing trouble and refreshes the operating system so that it works better.
Today, the term “reboot” has expanded its usage into other areas of life.
According to the dictionary, a reboot is “an act or instance of making a change in order to establish a new beginning.”
God offers every human being a rebooted spiritual life through His gospel message. Trust in Christ for your salvation and begin anew in your relationship with God. A rebooted spiritual life removes all the sin that separated you from God and replaces it with forgiveness for all your sins, redemption from the control of sin in your life, and reconciliation with God so that you are completely loved and accepted by Him. That’s the first reboot every human needs to have in their life.
There are other types of rebooting in the daily life of a believer.
Whenever we are going the wrong way, away from God, God calls us to repentance. Repentance means to change your mind about that behavior and choose obedience to Him instead.
The prophet Isaiah said it this way,
“Stop doing wrong. Learn to do right…” (Isaiah 1:16b-17a)
Sometimes we must reboot because of an unhealthy situation. That may require a move, a change of relationships, or a change of lifestyle because of health issues. We’ll see examples of these in the books of Chronicles.
Rebooting is an important tool that God uses to get us going in the right direction with Him. The good news is that we can reboot because we have the power of God’s presence with us to enable that. After any reboot, you can make the choice to stay faithful to God when given the opportunity to go the world’s way. That’s a decision to renew your commitment to God.
Renew Your Commitment to God
The term “renew” can mean “to restore to freshness and vigor,” as in renewing our strength through sleep. That applies to our spiritual life as well. Every day we have the opportunity to enjoy our relationship with God with renewed freshness and vigor. Every day is a new day in which to praise Him and get to know Him better than the day before.
But, to renew can also mean to continue something ongoing such as a subscription or membership. It’s a commitment to keep going in the same direction. In the Chronicles, we will see people renew their relationship with God as they stay firmly committed to Him rather than straying away.
We have those same choices today. The world continually bombards us with its ways. We are enticed to give in to fit in. We are criticized and persecuted for hanging onto our outdated religiousness. With every attack from the world, we must still choose to renew our commitment to God and not fold. The power of God’s presence with us helps us to make that choice, too.
Isaiah 30:21 says God will lead us through His Word and through teachers of His Word,
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
We are never without His guidance. For that, we can rejoice.
When you experience a reboot in your life or a sense of renewal in your daily relationship with God, our faithful God will fill your heart with His joy. Joy, rejoicing, gladness of heart, and singing are the outward expressions of what the Lord is doing in your heart. So, every reboot and renewal should lead you to rejoice. We will see this frequently in Chronicles. In fact, the writer includes rejoicing 27 times as the result of the reboot of their faith or the renewal of their commitment to God. Lots of rejoicing.
Today, we have a far greater reason to rejoice than the Jews did in 500 BC. They were anticipating the Messiah coming to make things right. We have history to show that the Messiah did come in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Jesus was fully God and fully man. He showed us how to live as humans in relationship with God. He showed us how to live as humans in dependence on God.
- Through His death on the cross, He paid the price for our sin, freeing us to be completely reconciled to God and adopted as His children.
- Through His resurrection, Jesus released us from our death sentence as His Spirit comes to live inside us, completely regenerating our dead spirits.
All we need to do is to say yes to the invitation to commit our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the greatest reboot anyone can experience. That’s His power at work in us.
And, this reboot is permanent. We can never go back to not being saved, not being reconciled to God, not being adopted into His family. And His Spirit in us will lead us to renew our relationship with God in a more committed way as we grow to become more like Jesus Himself. Looking back and seeing how much our lives change over the years because of what Jesus has done in us compels us to rejoice. We just can’t help rejoicing as we are so thankful. I heard someone say that Christians should live a life of celebration.
Our God is with us. His powerful presence helps us to reboot our lives, renew our commitment to Him, and live a life of rejoicing as a result. How have you experienced the power of His presence?
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with the power of His presence. Then, live in that power!
Until next time, I’m Melanie Newton. And, this is Series 6 of Satisfied.