The God of a Fresh Start

An Addict Receives a Fresh Start

Back in 2011, a video of a homeless man went viral.  His name was Ted Williams and once upon a time he had been a successful radio announcer but because of drug addiction and other issues, he was fired and unable to shake off the addiction, wound up homeless, living on the street.  Years later, a reporter from the Columbus Dispatcher found him and happened to film him using his famous “Golden Voice”.  That YouTube video went viral and made Ted Williams into something of a sensation (You can see the video here).  Within days, job offers and media appearances came streaming in.  He went from living on the street, to doing voiceovers for KRAFT, and he was even offered a job by the Cleveland Cavaliers as an arena announcer.  He also appeared on CBS, MSNBC, Jimmy Fallon and Dr. Phil.  He was getting a fresh start in life.

When Tracy Marek, Executive VP of Marketing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, was asked why they gave Ted Williams the job, she said. “We believe in second chances and second opportunities.”  Ted Williams later said, “The difference between my success of years gone by is that I didn’t acknowledge the Lord or thank Him for anything before.  This time around, I have God in my life, acknowledging Him on a daily basis.” 

The God of Fresh Starts

As we have looked at the amazing account of Noah over the last few weeks, one thing we have seen is that God is a God of second chances; the God of fresh starts.  The statement from Ted Williams that he did not acknowledge God prior to his success the first time around, echoes the state the world was in prior to the flood.  Genesis 6:5 says, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  This was about 2500 BC, and theologians tell us that there were approximately 2 billion people on the Earth at that time.  Not only that, as we look at the genealogies of the first 10 generations beginning with Adam, people lived for centuries.  The concentrated population of the Earth compounded with the long age span of the people whose every thought was evil, created an atmosphere that plunged the world into chaotic situation that God saw as irreversible save by divine intervention.

But as the flood came and went, and the waters subsided as the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, Earth’s only inhabitants walked out of the vessel they had been for a year and looked upon an Earth where evil (at least for the moment) had been curbed.  It was a fresh start.  And just like Ted Williams acknowledged God for his fresh start in life, one of Noah’s first act after coming off the ark was to acknowledge God by offering a sacrifice, prompting God to reveal his rainbow as a promise to never flood the Earth again.  Genesis 8:1 says, “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.

Order out of Chaos

As it would turn out, this began a pattern of God revealing that He is in fact the God of Fresh Starts.  What would seem like an innocuous detail in Genesis 8 gives us an astonishing glimpse of how He takes the chaos in our life and brings order to it, giving us a second chance.  Genesis 8:4 says, “At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.”

When God gave Moses the instructions for the Passover in Exodus 12, He also changed their calendar and made what was the seventh month since creation, the first month (establishing a civil calendar and a religious calendar). So, the seventeenth day on the seventh month (the same day the ark landed), is exactly the same day as the seventeenth day of the first month.

Now here is the remarkable thing about this particular day.  The Israelites escaped Egypt and passed through the Red Sea to new freedom, on the same day.  Joshua is assured victory of the fall of Jericho when the Commander of the army of the Lord appeared to him, on the same day.  Queen Esther appeared before King Xerxes and uncovered Haman’s plot to massacre the Jews, and Haman would hang himself, on the same day.  But perhaps the greatest of them all was that on the seventeeth day of the first month, the same day when the ark rested and a fresh start was given to humanity, our Lord Jesus was raised from the dead!

Receive your Fresh Start

You may be in the same boat that Ted Williams was in.  Rejected, addicted, depressed and without hope.  But let me take you back to what Ted said after he received a fresh start in life: “The difference between my success of years gone by is that I didn’t acknowledge the Lord or thank Him for anything before.  This time around, I have God in my life, acknowledging Him on a daily basis.”

God takes the parts of our lives that are broken, battered and beaten, and revives them in remarkable fashion.  Isaiah 43:18 says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Receive your fresh start today.