The Fear of Newness

Exodus 1:8

Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt.

There are many people who fear change because they do not know what to expect.  While something new can be a great improvement, it is feared because it may not be better either.

After Joseph died, his family continued to live in Egypt.  As the years passed, new leaders arose that didn’t know about all that Joseph had done for the nation.  As the pharaoh saw that the Israelites had grown greatly in number, he feared them and had them enslaved.

Things would get worse for the Israelites before they got better.  Pharaoh would order all of the young males killed because of fear – he didn’t want anything new happening either.  It would be 80 years until Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.

Even in the midst of difficulty and undesirable new things, God was in control.  He was using the circumstances to bring about the freedom of the Israelites.  Eventually they would be able to return to the Promised Land, the land that God had promised their ancestor Abraham.

When change happens, it really can get worse and we have reason for concern.  But we also have reason for hope because we know that God is in control of it all.  He will bring about good things out of a new situation.

New Wine

Genesis 27.28

May God give you of heaven’s dew and of earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.

Alcohol has definite drawbacks – tell that to those who are nursing hangovers on New Year’s Day – but it wasn’t always so.  Despite the connotation of drunkenness today – and deservedly so in most cases – alcohol was symbolic of joy in biblical times.

All throughout the Bible there are references to new wine.  It is symbolic of celebration as wine was often used in feasts.  It is no surprise that Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into wine.  Christianity is not about being bored or following a bunch of pointless rules.  God wants us to enjoy life and He provides us with an abundance of things to enjoy life with.

While some may prefer old wine – see “Old is Better” – new wine is symbolic of God’s continued provision.  Because God continues to give to us as we need, we know that He loves us and cares for us.

As humans, we can create new things that are not always beneficial.  Using alcohol as an example, today’s wine is not like that of ancient times.  It was often consumed because the water was unfit to drink and the fermentation killed off germs.  It was still quite possible to become drunk from it but did not compare to today’s alcohol.  Today it is drunk mostly for its content and to become drunk.

When man does something new, it’s not always for the best.  But when God does something new, we can always be excited about it.