The Clarion, Feb. 2024

Volume 5, Issue 2              February 2024    



February is the month of love. 1 Corinthians 13:8 tells us that love never fails. So instead of giving candy and flowers and gifts, maybe show the one you love a little patience and kindness, and do something selfless, and show gratitude not just for one day but for every day. It seems that we only think about our wives or maybe our husband’s on the day we have set aside for love. But how about showing love to those who may need a little love, like the poor, giving them a blessing to show your love or the elderly, pay them a visit. Go to a nursing home and hand out gifts of love to them or maybe even someone who has come to this country and knows no one. Be a friend, be a neighbor, be a concerned co-worker or even be a Christian showing concern for another Christian, or even someone who shares another faith or political opinion.  And of course, love your enemies as Luke 6:32-36 says, “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

WOW! Love is powerful, but love is not blind. We must be careful to not fall into a trap that says in my love I must compromise the truth or lower my standards. We are not to quarrel or turn our backs when we see one in need, or who does not measure up to our standards. How one gets themself in need is not for us to determine if love should apply. 1 John 3:17-18 says,  “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

This year let us continue living in the month of love, and by the end of the year, we will count our blessings which we received by showing love to one another.

Egypt: Moses Back in Egypt Part 8

Last month we read about how God called Moses and told him to go back to Egypt.  So now we find Moses back once again in Egypt. Exodus 4:29-31 starts us off,  “Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites,  and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people,  and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.” The people accepted what Moses said,  maybe because they knew Aaron, but now Moses had to face Pharoah. Back in Genesis we read that Pharaoh called Joseph to interpret his dreams, and when he did, Pharaoh accepted him and elevated him to second in command, but now we see Moses who had been second in command and  it will be a whole different story.

Exodus 5:1-5 says this,  “And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘Let My people go so that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”  But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”  Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, otherwise He will strike us with plague or with the sword.”  But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you let the people neglect their work? Get back to your labors!” Again Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now many, and you would have them cease from their labors!”

First we see here that they tell Pharaoh that they need to go on a three day journey. Remember Abraham’s three day journey that resulted in Abraham binding Isaac as the sacrifice?  Genesis 24:3-5 says,  “So Abraham got up early the next morning, saddled his donkey, and took along two of his servants and his son Isaac. He split the wood for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had designated. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told his servants. “The boy and I will go over there to worship, and then we will return to you.”…And how about the baker and the cup holder whose dreams Joseph interpreted regarding three days?

Genesis 40:12-13, Then Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days;  within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you will put Pharaoh’s cup into his hand as in your former practice when you were his cupbearer.”

Genesis 40:18-19, “Then Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days;  within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you and will hang you on a wooden post, and the birds will eat your flesh off you.”

Three days had its good points, and it had its bad. For Pharaoh he will find out that a three day journey would have been ok. But he hardened his heart. Pharaoh had cheap labor, and he was building a mighty empire for himself, and no way was he going to stop even for three days. In fact he did just the opposite as Exodus 5: 10-14, 15 tells us,  “So the taskmasters of the people and their foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I am not going to give you any straw.  You go, get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it; but none of your labor will be reduced.’”  So the people scattered through all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.  And the taskmasters pressed them, saying, “Complete your work quota, your daily amount, just as when you had straw.”  Moreover, the foremen of the sons of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and asked, “Why have you not completed your required task of making bricks either yesterday or today, as before?”

Well this did not sit well with the people. Pharaoh was shrewd and he had Israelites as the foremen of the people. This way they could be angry with their own people, instead of him, but they went to Pharaoh, because they were now being beaten.

Then the foremen of the sons of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants?”

Well, Moses’ worst nightmare had unfolded and his doubt at the burning bush was becoming a reality. This important passage in Exodus 6:1-9 tells us this, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land.”  God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord;  and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them.  I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as strangers. Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.  Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the labors of the Egyptians, and I will rescue you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments.  Then I will take you as My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the labors of the Egyptians.  I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession; I am the Lord.’”  So Moses said this to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.”

From this Scripture we get the foundation of the Passover story which is the essence of the Passover Seder, this is also the story of our redemption in Messiah. Moses is the suffering servant.  We read in part 6 this scripture from Hebrews 11: 25-27 which says,  “It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be treated as the grandson of the king, but chose to share ill-treatment with God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He thought that it was better to suffer for the promised Messiah  than to own all the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking forward to the great reward that God would give him.  And it was because he trusted God that he left the land of Egypt and wasn’t afraid of the king’s anger.”

We want to look at a few ways that Moses was like Messiah: (1) In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses makes a prediction: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers.” (2) An evil king/Pharaoh tried to kill him as a baby: Exodus 1:22 …  King Herod tried to kill baby Yeshua: Matthew 2:16. (3) He was hidden from the evil king/Pharaoh: Exodus 2:2…  An angel said to hide the child from the evil King Herod: Matthew 2:13. (4) Moses became a shepherd: Exodus 3:1 …  Yeshua is the Good Shepherd: John 10:11. (5) Moses’ mission was to redeem Israel from slavery of Egypt…Yeshua’s mission was to redeem Israel from the slavery sin. (6) Moses was often rejected by his own people…Yeshua was often rejected by His own people. (7) Moses spent 40 days fasting on the mountain: Exodus 24:18; 34:28…Yeshua spent 40 days fasting in the desert wilderness: Matthew 4:2. (8) Moses performs signs/ miracles…Yeshua performs signs/miracles. (9) Moses offered his life for the salvation of his people after the sin of the Golden Calf: Exodus 32:32-33….Yeshua offered His life for the salvation of the world: Isaiah 53:12; Romans 5:12; 6:10; 2 Corinthians 5:15-21; Colossians 1:19-20; 2:14-15; 1 John 1:7; 2:2.

Yes, Moses suffered like Yeshua, Hebrews 5:8 says,  “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 11: 24-25 says,  “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,  choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin.” Moses also felt the pain of the people, as Yeshua, and they both showed mercy for the people.

Next month we will look at the plagues as the people will finally leave Egypt.           Heroes

Today we have superheroes and heroes and everyday heroes. “Yes,” everyone loves Superman, Batman, and Spiderman. The comic books and theaters made a lot of money on these heroes. We have heroes like firemen who have rushed into burning buildings to save a man and his dog. We have soldiers who have put themselves in the line of fire to save their comrades. But we also have everyday heroes. The unsung hero, that goes unnoticed, except by those they save. It can be a friend or a brother or sister, maybe a husband or wife.  They quietly touch our lives and hold us up when we need a little help. They are always there in the background as a shadow in our night. Bette Midler sang a song called “Wind Beneath My Wings” written by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley that touched so many lives. “It might have appeared to go unnoticed but I’ve got it all here in my heart. I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it, I would be nothing without you. Did you ever know that you’re my hero and everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle for you are the wind beneath my wings.”

God’s Word tells us this in John 15:13, “There is no greater love than for one to lay down his life for another,” We can not say “I love”, and then when we see someone who needs our help, even if it is just a kind word, we then walk away. 1 John 3: 18 says this, “My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.” People today need love. People today need a true friend. People today need God. Josh Groban sang a song called “You Raise Me Up” written by Brendan Graham and Rolf Loveland. “When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary. When troubles come and my heart burdened be. Then, I am still and wait here in the silence until You come and sit awhile with me. You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains, You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas, I am strong  when I am on your shoulders, You raise me up to more than I can be.”

God will carry us as one who carries a little lamb upon his shoulder. He will hold us when there is no one else. He hears the cries of those who weep in silence and yet we do not call Him a hero, but we can call Him our Father. Today if you need a little wind beneath your wings or maybe your heart is burdened with pain, call on your Heavenly Father and He will carry you on the wings of eagles and bring you to Himself. He will raise you from that storm that’s raging within you, and He will carry you through the fire that burns inside. He will give you a peace, a peace that the world does not know.  Call on Him today.  Trust Him today. He will see you and hear you, and even send you an angel, a wind beneath your wings.

Hebrew Corner:              The Martyrs:  Andrew

Today we want to look at the Apostle Andrew. Andrew was one of the twelve disciples and he was the brother of Peter. Andrew was one of the first apostles that Yeshua called.As He was going along the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Yeshua said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will have you become fishers of people.’  Immediately they left their nets and followed Him,”’  Mark 1:16-18.  John 1:40- 41 tells the story this way, One of the two ( which were disciples of John the Baptist) who heard John say (behold the Lamb of God), and followed Him(Yeshua), was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah.’”  Andrew found the boy with five barley loaves and the two fish that ended up feeding the 5,ooo, John 6:8. Andrew was there when Yeshua explained about the destruction of the temple, Mark 13:3. Tradition holds that Andrew was martyred by crucifixion in the Greek city of Patras around 60 AD. Like his brother Peter, Andrew allegedly didn’t consider himself worthy to die in the same way as Jesus, and tradition claims he was bound—not nailed—to a cross which was hung in an X shape instead of a T. However, the earliest origin of this narrative that we can identify today comes from Acts of Andrew, an apocryphal text which also includes numerous supernatural accounts of Andrew’s miracles which are recorded no where else, and it didn’t emerge for decades, possibly centuries after his death. According to Acts of Andrew, as he hung there dying, Andrew praised the cross as a symbol of Christ’s beautiful redemption: “Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with his limbs as though they were precious pearls. Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear. Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift. Believers know of the great joy that you possess, and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared. I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me exultant as a disciple of the One who was hung upon you…. O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord’s limbs!… Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may receive me. Hail, O Cross; yes, hail indeed!” In the entry for Andrew, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs says: “He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Hence the derivation of the term, St. Andrew’s Cross.” Even though there are different accounts about Andrew, we do know that he followed Yeshua and he picked up his cross and laid down his life for the gospel. There are accounts that he brought many Greeks to the saving knowledge of the Messiah.

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