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  • Writer's pictureKristina Trott

Chinese New Year, red envelopes and you

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

11But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. 12 For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love (Psa. 5:11-12)

It’s the time of Chinese New Year and that means that Chinese bosses gift their employees with red envelopes full of cash. Employees practise loyalty and diligence because they know that these qualities are rewarded generously. On the other hand, in a Chinese-run business, there is no room whatsoever for disloyalty or carelessness.

In Psalm 5 David writes that he has gone to God in prayer each morning. He acknowledges the wicked can’t come before God but that God, in His mercy, admits David into His holy temple. David knows that he has been sinful, that he has been all of the hateful qualities that he outlines - doing evil, lying, being bloodthirsty and deceitful - but he understands that God is faithful to the one who turns to God in repentance and reverence. David recognises that God blesses abundantly the one who is loyal and diligent despite failures from time to time.

Why? Because God Himself spread His protection over them (v11)! The big question is: how did God Himself spread His protection over those who seek refuge in Him?

The answer: God fully identified with man and came to the earth as a man in the form of Jesus. He lived a perfect life and became a sacrifice to carry the sins of all who turn to Him.

And now we want to look at a very thought-provoking statement from Yahweh, the great I AM:

They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died (Zech. 12:10).

Even though Zechariah is writing in the first person and is saying Yahweh will be pierced, other New Testament writers take up this verse and say it refers to Jesus (John 19:37, Rev. 1:7). God, the Father, has fully identified in the being of God, the Son!

We have a Sovereign ruler of the universe who so much wanted to bless us that our disloyalty, lack of diligence and autonomy didn’t stop Him. What we couldn’t do to make ourselves righteous, Jesus did. He willingly came to the earth to bring us into a right relationship with God.

Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live (Gal. 1:4).

Jesus defends us, (Psa. 5:11 NIV), spreads His wings over us (Psa. 91:4), blesses us and surrounds us with mercy and hope.

For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:19-20).

God has given us each a red envelope -- not as a reward for our loyalty and diligence, but rather as a gift from His merciful heart. Are you going to open your envelope?

All quotations are from the NLT.

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