Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year

My watch jumped to March 1st today even though it is February 29th because it is leap year. Yes, every four years we get an extra day to balance the Gregorian calendar whose origins are of Pope Gregory of the 16th century. It causes me to wonder a bit about meaning.

Biblically there is no real reference to leap year. There is the fascinating reference in Joshua 10 speaking of God hearing Joshua concerning his enemies. They were routed as the sun and moon stood still for God to rout Israel’s enemies the Amorites. On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
    and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” 
So the sun stood still,
    and the moon stopped,
    till the nation avenged itself on[a] its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.  There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel! (Joshua 10:12-14).

I find that we may have been given a day to enjoy or waste or make the most of. Psalm 90 concerning the eternity of God gives us an admonition of days and life.
“All our days pass away under your wrath;
    we finish our years with a moan. 
Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away. 
If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due. 
Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:9-12).

Life is hard and we are only given so many days that pass very quickly. So let’s make the most of them or number them with a heart of wisdom that is gained through the years, hopefully!  This wisdom comes from the God who numbers our days. This is a verse that I have preached at funerals and sometimes the recipient has done just that, sometimes not. We have a choice, not the number of days, but how we spend them.

This leap year I look at it as an overflow. We are given abundantly an extra day to enjoy, spend productively for what? The Psalmist David said that The Lord our “Shepherd” makes us to lie down in green pastures and leads us beside still waters if we will only take advantage of the stillness and time to walk with the Lord. He goes on to say that God sets a banquet for us against our enemies of pain, fear, illness, joblessness and sins of many kinds. He anoints us and our cups “overflow.” I like the overflowing image like a leap year day that flows over the calendar. The psalms are full of overflowing images: “And our carts overflow with abundance” (Psalm 65:11) and therefore, “My lips overflow with praise” (Psalm 119:171). In Proverbs 3:10 Solomon says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled with overflowing.”  God promises a blessing for our trust. God wants us to be overflowing in every way. “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). We can’t do this without the Holy Spirit empowering us as Romans 15:13 tells us, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

So this one extra day, make it a point to overflow with gratitude, joy and peace as you recognize that this day is a gift of God that flows from above. Make it a good one.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.