WALKING OUT BIBLICAL COMMUNITY!
In our Parashah, (Yitro) Moses’ father-in-law Jethro hears of the great and mighty miracles which Adonai has performed through his son-in-law and on behalf of the Children of Yisra’el. In Exodus chapter 18 he comes to God’s prophet in Midian, bringing Moses’ wife and his two-sons. During his time with Moses, Jethro however provides Moses some fatherly advice, instructing that he should setup a hierarchy of Magistrates and Judges to assist him in the governance and leadership of God’s people. In this, Jethro advises, “What you are doing isn’t good. You will certainly wear yourself out - and not only yourself, but these people here with you as well. It’s too much for you - you can’t do it alone, by yourself.” (Exodus 18:17b-18)
For us in the Body of Messiah, this is good advice as well! Where one could concentrate on the model of the establishment of shammishim (deacon's) in a congregational setting, what stands out the most here might be the phrase, “… you can’t do it alone, by yourself - and not only yourself!” All too often in this life, we act as if we can do it on our own. In our pride, insecurity and fear we easily have an attitude of “Oh, no - I’ve got this,” and by doing so we rob others from being a blessing, and we rob ourselves from knowing how deeply love and appreciated we truly are.
Dear friends, as we seek to follow Yeshua, never forget that to be in community requires that we let our guard down, that we choose to receive and that we let go of our pride. Remember you can only be loved or show love when you choose to unfold your arms and let someone in!
Here at Beit Hallel, lets walk in Covenant Relationship together in Messiah’s holy name! ~ Rabbi Mark Rantz
SHELTER IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM
“Moshe reached his hand out over the sea, and Adonai caused the sea to go back before a strong east wind all night. He made the sea become dry land, and its water was divided in two. Then the people of Isra’el went into the sea on the dry ground, with the water walled up for them on the right and on the left.”~ Exodus 14:21-23, CJB
Living in Florida, none of us are immune to or unfamiliar with violent unpredictable storms, rolling thunder or gale force winds during our annual hurricane seasons. Very few of us have lived in Florida our entire lives, and whenever new comersencounter their first weather impact, they are often shocked and frightened at its display and the sheer force of nature. On the other hand, for the seasoned-Floridian, it is not that they lack a healthy respect of the attacking annual rains and wind, but instead, one often witnesses in them a noticeable peace and quite calm in knowing what to do in the moment to protect oneself and those around them, and most importantly how things should be done without panic, anxiety or fear. In the end, for them there is an overriding sense of focus and direction.
In our Parashah this week (B’shallach) we encounter a similar storm, where the threat is not coming from the clouds, but instead an invading Egyptian army intent on killing God’s people! Yet, even in the midst of this stormy threat, we find a quite calm in the person of Moshe (Moses), standing in the gap on behalf of the people. For most leaving Egypt, their emotional state was that of feeling of trauma and in seeing the expanse of the water and the oncoming military force, they all must have thought that their worst fears were being materialized as they thought they were going to be destroyed! Yet, just at the right moment Moses reached out his hand over the sea and Adonai caused it to be transformed into dry ground as the waters walled up to the left and to the right.
Often in our lives we are like the children of Israel who in the same way and fail to see God’s mighty arm in the midst of the threats and the storm. We look to the circumstances and we crumble thinking that all is lost and that there is no hope - all the while forgetting that Adonai has always been the master over the storm!
We see this lesson vividly played out for us with Yeshua in Mark 4:35-41 where he speaks to the storm, “Quiet! Be still” as “… the wind died down and … was completely calm.” Yet, even with this powerful passage, we must not ignore our first, and common human response in verse 38 where “The disciples woke [Yeshua] and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown’?” In this, I believe that God provides us with verse 38 to remind that these disciples are “everyone” and how we so easily trade our hope for worry and despair.
Sadly, in our own lives, many approach the Father with fear and a sense of abandonment, as if he does not care if we drown, … that he is distant and that we must all face our battles alone. At these moments, the Adversary reinforces our hurts and bewilderment by lying to us and telling us that we are in fact alone and that God is nowhere to be found!
However, the truth has always been that God longs to calm the storms in our lives and reveal his mighty hand of grace and mercy during our times of pain, despair, loneliness, questioning and heartache. In this we have the confidence that we are never alone, never forsaken and that he alone is the one that has always carried us! In the Tanakh, the Children of Israel were carried through dry ground as their enemies were swallowed up by the sea and for us today, Messiah is the one who calms our storm and gives us confidence and hope. Like our life-long Floridians who see the oncoming hurricane and respond with focus, confidence and assuredness that everything will be alright, God is the one at the helm of our lives, guiding us through every storm and keeping us safe between harbors and during every disaster we face. In the end, through the winds and the waves, it is his Spirit that daily speaks and says, “my child, I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Dear friends, if you would like to know more of the unfailing love and protection that comes from Yeshua our Messiah, then please make a point is joining us for our weekly Shabbat worship service, each Saturday at 10:30am. Come and let’s experience the goodness of our God together!
Beit Hallel Messianic Congregation
3801 N. US Hwy. 441 Ocala, FL. 34475
always remember, never forget!
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