The Clarion, Jan 2024

Volume 5, Issue 1              January  2024


God’s blessing on the New Year and what a year it may turn out to be. Every new beginning is a new chance in life. It is a new chapter that needs to be written, and to some extent, we have the choice on what will be written. Every day is from God and so every day, we must pray and seek Him out as to what is His will for us that day. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” But it goes beyond even that as Proverbs 3:13-18 says, “Blessed is a person who finds wisdom, and one who obtains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver, and her produce better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are those who hold on to her.”

Can you imagine that you today can eat from the tree of life? God’s wisdom can only be found in His Word.  The things of this world can not give you anything that compares to God’s Word.  Knowing and living by God’s Word leads you on the path to peace, but not only to peace, but eternal life. This is what the tree of life is all about, eternal life. This is what Adam and Eve could have had if they had just kept eating from the tree of life. 1 John 2:15-17 tells us,  “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  The world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God continues to live forever.”

Today, let your New Year’s resolution be reading and living by God’s Word daily, and then God will write His Word on your heart. This is the New Covenant blessing.

Egypt: The Calling of Moses Part 7

Last month we left off with the king of Egypt dying and God looking upon the suffering of His people. Exodus 3:1-6 says,  “Now Moses was pasturing the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not being consumed.  So Moses said, “I must turn aside and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burning up!”  When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”  Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”  And He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” Moses spent forty years in the household of Jethro tending his flocks.  Numbers 12:3 tells us, “Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.”

You can well imagine how it must have been quite the change for Moses going from the riches of Egypt to the poor and lowly life of being a shepherd. During this time God was preparing Moses, and the biggest change was learning humility. In Egypt Moses would have ruled in power and might, but now he will also rule, but with humility and mercy. From the above Scripture we see that Moses finally meets the God of the Hebrews. This is a foreshadowing of things to come. One day Moses will meet God on this same mountain also in blazing fire.  This is what we call a divine appointment. It was not by chance that Moses brought his sheep to the west side of the wilderness. One, the wilderness was in the direction of going back to Egypt. Two, Horeb is the same mountain range which is referred to as the mountain of God, Mount Sinai is the mountain peak that Moses will one day come to. God calls out  Moses, Moses, just like He called Abraham and Jacob twice  and Moses says, “Here I am,” as if he too, is one of the patriarchs. God tells Him to remove his sandals. We also see this in Joshua 5:15, “And the captain of the LORD’S army said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.” Today we are not taught about the holiness of God. Semitic culture regards any place of worship where God is present that they remove their shoes. This is for the Muslims in their Mosques and the Jews also at holy sites. We see that Moses hid his face.  Moses hides his face, but one day he will ask to see the face of God.

Only one who is that intimate with God would have such a request. Moses knew the holiness of God, because he saw God’s glory leave him at the cleft of the rock, in Exodus 33: 22. God reaffirms to Moses that He is his God, and that He is the same God of his forefathers. Exodus 3: 7-12 continues, And the Lord said, “I have certainly seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their outcry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.  So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.  And now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. And now come, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”  But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”  And He said, “Assuredly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.”

First, we would like to say that as God saw Joseph when he was sold into slavery, so too, God saw the whole family of Israel while they were in slavery all those years. God took Joseph out of slavery and elevated him and so too, God will take Israel out of slavery and elevate them in the promised land. So Moses finally realizes that he has been called to a great task, and that all that has happened in his life right up to that very moment was for this reason. When he heard God say, “I have certainly seen the oppression of My people,” Moses knew that his God was all knowing and all seeing and ever present. Soon he will see that his God is also all powerful. The Hebrews are about to go back to the land of their forefathers. Now, God tells Moses that he will have to go back and face Pharoah. Now this will not be the same Pharoah as when he left, for he had died. Moses knew that he no longer had any influence in Egypt, and especially with the Pharaoh. You have to realize that in Hebrews 11 where it says that Moses refused Egypt, what he was refusing was the throne of Egypt in which he was next in line.  Moses argues with God that the people will not receive him and Pharoah will not receive him, so God demonstrates to Moses different signs to perform. It was like Moses was trying to give God every excuse in the book and then he tells God this, Exodus 4:10-17, “Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” TIME OUT! Acts 7:20-22 tells us this, “At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for by his family. When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” Let’s continue in Exodus 4:11-17, “But the Lord said to him, “Who has made the human mouth? Or who makes anyone unable to speak or deaf, or able to see or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?  Now then go, and I Myself will be with your mouth, and instruct you in what you are to say.”  But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.” Then the anger of the Lord burned against Moses, and He said, “Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be overjoyed.  So you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I Myself will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will instruct you in what you are to do.  He shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him.  And you shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.”

God knew very well that Moses could talk as one who would have been Pharaoh one day, and that was why He was sending Moses to Pharaoh. God could have easily sent an angel to Pharoah. So Moses took his wife and two sons and left for Egypt. But a strange thing happens on the way back. Exodus 4: 24-26 says this, “But it came about at the overnight encampment on the way, that the Lord met Moses, and sought to put him to death.  So Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet; and she said, “You are indeed a groom of blood to me!” So He left him alone. At that time she said, “You are a groom of blood”—because of the circumcision.” This obscure Scripture is a foreshadowing of two things, the death of the first born at the time of the Passover Seder when they put the blood on the doorposts and the death angel passed over, and circumcision, which was the requirement for  those who partook of the seder. Exodus 13:11-15 also says this, “Now when the Lord brings you to the land of the Canaanite, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it to you,  you shall devote to the Lord every firstborn of a womb, and every firstborn offspring of an animal that you own; the males belong to the Lord.  But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every firstborn among your sons you shall redeem.  And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. And it came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord put to death every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human firstborns to animal firstborns. Therefore, I sacrifice to the Lord the males, every firstborn of a womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 

Next month we will continue with Moses back in Egypt.

Here is one of our blogs on our website.

A Smile Goes A Long Way

There are so many people who go through the day without anyone smiling at them. You may say, so what! Well, a smile is a sign of encouragement. When a person smiles at another person it’s like saying, “I’m with you,” “I’m for you,” “I’m on your side.” It gives that person  emotional support, which gives them strength. It’s like saying, “You’re not alone.”  “I see you.”

There is a song written by Diane Eve Warren called “When I See You Smile.” “When I see you smile I can face the world. Oh oh, you know I can do anything when I see you smile. I see a ray of light, Oh oh, I see it shining right through the rain. When I see you smile Oh yeah, baby when I see you smile at me.”

No one knows what a person may be going through at any given point in their life. Many people can hide it from the world to see. It could be the person sitting next to you in school or a neighbor or even your friend. But we shouldn’t have to know what a person is feeling for us to do the right thing, and that is to acknowledge a person by a simple smile. There are so many people committing suicide because they have lost all hope. What if someone would have just given that person a smile?  A smile would have said, “It’s OK,  there is always hope. There will be a tomorrow. Someone sees you, I see you.” The song goes on to say,  “Sometimes I want to give up. I want to give in, I want to quit the fight and then I see you baby and everything’s alright, everything’s alright.”

If you are reading this and this is how you feel, know this, that God sees you and His face is shining upon you. There is a blessing that God spoke to His priests, and He told them how to bless the people. “ May the Lord  smile down on you and show you His kindness. May the Lord answer your prayers  and give you peace.” There is nothing hidden from God’s sight. There is nothing that He does not hear or know. God loves us and that is why He created us to smile, because He knew that a smile would bring healing and hope and strength to those who were in need of these things. A simple smile can go a long way. Why not try it, it really won’t hurt to crack a smile to someone you do not know. Maybe that person will lift up his head and thank God for you.  When I see you smile I can face the world! It’s a nice thought for a simple action.

Hebrew Corner :                  The Martyrs

James the Less

James was born in Galilee  James was also known as James the “Minor” or even  the “Little” or the “Younger.” James was considered to be the son of Alphaeus, but some believe that he was James the brother of Yeshua, and called lesser because he was called after James the son of Zebedee, who was called the Great, thus leaving James, to be called the Lesser.  He appears only four times in the New Testament, each time in a list of the twelve apostles. His mother, Mary, whom John refers to as Mary of Clopas in John 19:25.  There is much confusion around the two James, because both James are referred to as apostles, and both James had brothers named Mark and Matthew and both had mothers named Mary. John 19:25 says,   “Now beside the cross of Yeshua stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene Mark 15:47 says this, “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were watching to see where He was laid.” Mark 16:1 says this about James’s mother.When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might come and anoint Him.” This could mean that James was a cousin to the Messiah. There were the twelve apostles and then there were the seventy apostles, so it is safe to say that He was a disciple of Yeshua. James the Less is one of the least known among the disciples, even if he was the brother of Yeshua, or cousin  we do know that he followed Yeshua and went on to live a life in the manner of all the disciples in preaching the Word of God and testifying to the Messiah.  1 John 4:14,  “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” If he was the Messiah’s brother then we know that he was the elder over the Jerusalem Church and held the Council of Jerusalem in the book of Acts, 50CE. Peter, and other Church leaders discussed whether Gentiles, or people who were not Jewish, could become followers of Messiah. James listened carefully to the discussion and helped the group to decide that the Church was open to all and that all people could be saved by living as followers of the Messiah and did not need to be circumcised. James was martyred in the year 62CE. Although he had the respect of most people, some of the scribes and Pharisees were jealous of his hold over the people. He was thrown from the walls of the Temple for refusing to renounce his faith in Messiah, then stoned and clubbed to death after he fell, still praying for those who were killing him. He is usually shown in art holding a book and a club. He is the patron saint of pharmacists, fullers and hatmakers, all of whom use clubs in their work.

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