This Sunday we say “Goodbye” to 2022 and welcome in the new year. I’m sure most of us will reflect, at least briefly, on the things we have experienced in the past year. Some disappointments, some new adventures, some life changes. We will also probably look forward to expectations for 2023. A fun vacation planned, making progress on a life-long dream, or for life just to return to something more like normal after a wild 2022.

Here’s my hope for you in 2023—May your year be filled with honey and gold. Ok, so what’s that supposed to mean? In Bible times, honey was considered a luxury. When God told the Israelites that the Promised Land flowed with milk and honey, He meant that it was a land of abundance. Honey also represented sweetness and pleasure. Gold, as today, was the universal symbol of wealth. So, am I hoping that 2023 will be filled with abundance, pleasure, and wealth for you? There’s nothing wrong or evil with any of those and God does delight to give good things to His children. However, we also recognize that God’s plan is not for all of us to experience continual pleasure and wealth. In fact, I think I can safely predict that while for some 2023 will bring greater pleasure and wealth than ever, for others it will bring pain and poverty.

So then, in what way do I hope that 2023 will bring honey and gold to all of us? Listen to David in Psalm19: The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure,enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward (Psalm 19:7-11, ESV).

Remember, this is poetry, so we don’t understand it by analyzing arguments; we look for how the Psalmist moves our emotions. Did you notice his repetitions? What are the different ways he describes God’s Word? His Word is the law of the Lord, the testimony of the Lord, the precepts of the Lord, the commandment of the Lord, the fear of the Lord, and the rules of the Lord. Don’t try to analyze the distinction between these. David repeats himself to drive home his point—these are some of the ways the Word of God affects us. And what are those ways? They revive our souls, they make us wise, they rejoice our heart, they enlighten our eyes, they endure forever, and they are perfectly righteous.

But then, did you notice the value statement that shows why David extols the Word of God? Because of their great value, we are to desire them more than gold and more than honey. Like gold they bring great wealth. Like honey they give great pleasure. So that’s what I mean when I say I hope 2023 if filled with honey and gold for you. I want you to taste God’s Word and find great pleasure in it. I want you to weigh it and see its astounding value. Come believer, fill 2023 with God’s Word and let your life overflow with honey and gold.

Senior Pastor, Gary O’Neal


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