January 1 – The New Moon
The references in the Old Testament scriptures to the ‘new moon’ are plentiful.
Exodus 19:1, “On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai.”
Number 29:6, “These are in addition to the burnt offering of the new moon and its grain offering, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings, according to the ordinance for them, a pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the Lord.”
There are references to the feast of the new moon and the King’s responsibility to be there in 1 Samuel 20, then another reference in 1 Chronicles 23:31 regarding offerings made on Sabbaths, new moons and appointed festivals.
It’s difficult to understand the importance of the new moon in our culture. The dark moon was an ominous sign and when it returned to the sky, there was rejoicing and festivals grew up around that. These festivals were prominent in many civilizations and the Jews adopted them into their religion as well. The new moon signified a new month and the new moon in the month of Tishri, signified a new year!
Psalm 81:3 says, “Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our festal day.”
Amos 8:5 shows that business is interrupted, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale?”
God recognized the use of the new moon to mark time in Isaiah 66:23, “From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the Lord.”
But, in Isaiah 1:14, God calls His people to task for their abuse of the sacrificial system. They were using it to try to get away with sin and He wanted no part of it. “Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.”
As we begin a new month and a new year, we still recognize the power of a fresh start. Though we may not celebrate each new moon with festivities and sacrifice, we have a lot to be grateful for in that God has offered us a chance to set aside the past and begin again. There are always new opportunities to bring our lives before Him in repentance and worship.