By Joseph Shulam from Vaasa, Finland
We had a wonderful week in Finland. Marcia is with me and it has been such a joy to see the young generation take charge and leadership in the Restoration Movement in Finland. We started with the annual seminar in Karmel Koti. This seminar started more than 30 years ago, and it was 25 years ago dedicated to the memory of Maria Tucker, Dr. Tim Tucker’s loving wife who died in a car accident. Every year several hundred brothers and sisters from all around Finland gather for an intense week-end of study and worship and fellowship in the middle of Finland. Karmel Koti is the name of the place. It was established as a Kibbutz by Paavali Toivio and our dear sister Ahuva Ben-Maier contributed significantly to making Karmel Koti a central gathering place for all those who pray for Israel and stand with Israel on Biblical bases. This year was very special for Marcia and I, it was special because the younger generation, the children of those pioneers who took a stand in the 1980’s and committed to Biblical faith in place of the main Lutheran tradition of the Finnish nation, are now picking up the leadership. We see this happening all through Finland. The young families with little children, some of whom we actually preformed their weddings, are up there leading, organizing, leading worship, teaching, and just taking their place as leaders. This is also happening in Israel, and in Brazil.
I wrote the above paragraph because it also has to do with the Parasha (The weekly Torah Portion) Parashat Beha’alotcha, Numbers 8:1-12:16. The majority of this Torah portion deals with leadership and transfer of authority and sharing authority. The portion starts with the role of the Menorah the seven lights candelabra made of pure gold. This is important for the understanding of the first three chapters of the book of Revelation. I have already written about this in the past. From the Menorah, the texts take Moses to the consecrating of the Levites for the service to God in the Tabernacle. There is an elaborate ceremony that is both a job description and a setting a part of the tribe of Levi for the service of the Almighty God. Today leadership in both Messianic circles and in churches is doing their best to be casual and non-formal in their service and relationship to the LORD and also to the congregation. In Israel during the days when God dwelled in the middle of the Camp and His presence was visible by day and by night – it would be a sin to be casual with God’s things and service in His presence.
From there the Torah takes us to the beginning of the wondering of the children of Israel in the wilderness led by the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. As soon as the children of Israel hit the road – they start complaining about the Mana and the leadership and Moses also complains to the LORD and says: “So Moses said to the LORD, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, “Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You swore to their fathers? Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, “Give us meat, that we may eat.’ I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!”” (Numbers 11:11–15 NKJV)
Moses was so tired of leading the people that he could not continue. His situation was so serious that he said to the Lord: If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!” Imagine that Moses the great leader is asking God to kill him and take him out of his wretchedness. Leadership that is sincere and caring can be a true burden that at times is hard to sustain. Note that this happened after Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law left the camp and now Moses has no one to lean upon and get encouragement.
God tells Moses, to gather the 70 elders of the people and to bring them to the Tabernacle and share his anointing with the elders of the people. A great leader no matter how strong and powerful a leader is can’t lead alone for a sustained period of time. He must learn to share his anointing and gifting with other qualified personal. The 70 elders receive the commission and they now much stand side by side with Moses to lead the people of Israel in the wilderness.
It seems that just as soon as the elders are appointed to share the anointing of Moses Miriam and Aaron, the sister and brother of Moses wake up and they too feel that they deserve leaders like Moses. “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it.(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) Suddenly the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!” So the three came out. Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward. Then He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?” So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!” So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “Please heal her, O God, I pray!”” (Numbers 12:1–13 NKJV)
Note that the first thing that Miriam and Aaron attack is Moses’ personal life. He married an Ethiopian woman. The second thing that they attack is the exclusivity of Moses as the leader of Israel. Miriam’s claim was very typical: “We are also leaders!” Who made you a Sultan here, we have the same abilities. We too hear the word of the Lord! Why are you our little brother so full of yourself we too are qualified to lead just like you. Well, the Lord left the Tabernacle and the cloud departed from them. Miriam became a leper. At that point also Aaron realized their sin and confessed that they have done a foolish thing and have sinned. Moses cries out to the LORD and asks for God to heal Miriam his sister.
Here too is a great lesson for leaders who are called by God to lead HIS people. Leadership in God’s Kingdom is not a private, professional job. It is a calling from God and leaders have to allow God to demonstrate His power and His approval of their leadership. Even when there is dissatisfaction in the camp and even if it comes from insiders and even family – the graciousness of God’s love and grace has to be the most visible quality of the leader. Let us all learn leadership from Moses and also learn to share the anointing and inspiration with the other qualified men and women in our congregations and ministries.
Yeshua learns from this story about Moses and Miriam that if you speak evil and act presumptuously you become more impure than if you eat without washing of your hands or even more impure than if you eat lobster, shrimps, or bacon. What comes out of your mouth is more defiling than what goes into your mouth. This is taken from this story of Moses, Miriam and Aaron. Leprosy is one of the most defiling and impurity in the Bible.
Our sister Nancy is going into surgery these days. Please keep her in your prayers for healing and for finding her tumor benign and restoring Nancy quickly to her good health and strength so that she can go to the USA and care for her family and enjoy her grandchildren.
Our dear sister Salme, in Finland, is also going into surgery tomorrow on Friday. She is getting a repair on a heart pace-maker that was not installed right. Please keep Salme in your prayer and pray for Keijo her husband. Please keep praying for these two dear sisters until you hear that they ae well and at home strong and able to serve God and the community.
We continue to ask you to pray for Israel, the Israeli government, and for our Arab neighbors who are killing each other by the hundreds per day. The events in Syria and in the other Arab countries around us – are a major tragedy and we all need to pray for the LORD HIMSELF to intervene and stop the carnage that all the sides are perpetrating against innocent civilians, women and children, old and young. The Western World is still not awake to see that this tragedy and killing if not stopped will reach the cities in your own countries like it has already reached some of the capitals of Europe. Christians are being killed by both sides and I consider these Christians who are suffering horrid persecution as martyrs and no less important than those who were martyred in the second century A.D. in the Roman theaters and colosseums. The martyrs of the early Christian history in Asia Minor, Greece and Rome eventually brought down the Roman Empire and the martyrs of today will bring down great empires down to their knees and Islam will become the scrooge of the West. Let us pray that the great nations of today wake up and take the appropriate measures to stop this madness that is bleeding the Middle East and the rest of the world.
Israel has thousands of wounded civilians and soldiers being treated in our hospitals, and many of them are children. Pray for Israel and pray for the Lord to bless Israel for the good works that Israel, the doctors and hospitals and other institutions are doing to help even a little with the situation that is so bad in our neighboring countries.
Please pray for our dear sister Nancy H., and Salme L., they are both going into surgery tomorrow. They both need God’s grace of healing and restoration of good health and strength. Nancy is going for a removal of a tumor and we pray that it will be fully removed and found benign. Salme is going into surgery to repair a badly installed heart pace-maker. Both dear sisters need your prayer for a full and speedy recovery.
Don’t forget to pray for Miriam Sh., who is still in the hospital suffering from cancer that is not operable right now. She will be moved to another hospital that gives hospice help. Only God’s healing power can help and save Miriam. She is a dear sister who needs help from our brothers and sisters in the faith and specially from the Almighty God who is full of grace and love and longsuffering for all His children.
Please continue to pray for my family, Marcia my wife, Danah our daughter and Noaam our granddaughter and Barry our son, Joey our grandson, Beth our daughter-in-law, and for Marcia’s family in East Tennessee.
The LORD willing, Next week we will all gather in Nashville and I ask you to pray for all of us in the Shulam family and for the friends and brothers who will also join us and enjoy the Lipscomb University Summer Celebration. I shall be teaching a class on Romans 9-11, and I promise that it will be challenging and different from what protestant tradition inherited from Rome has been teaching on these important chapters and on Israel and the Jewish people. This class will be an antidote against anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli falsehoods that have been spread and covered the ground of Christian dogmatism for many centuries. Keep me in your prayers.
We ask you to pray for the mother of a dear brother in Jerusalem who is 89 years old and sick. Her name is Askele the daughter of Miriam.
Please don’t forget to pray specially pray for Ynon –the baby needs healing and strength and his family needs encouragement and strength.
Kari A., is feeling better, and playing the saw. He is one of the finest saw player in Finland, but please keep Kari in your prayers for continued healing from God’s gracious healing hands.
In Finland we have these dear souls who need God’s healing and strength: Anne-Mirjami, Anna-Majia, Satu-Maria and her daughters, Tim Tucker, Erki and Sirpa.
Our own dear Finnish sisters in the Roeh Israel Congregation, Leah K., Ahuva B., Ilana H. These Stallworth older sisters have come here in their youth to bless Israel and the Jewish people and now they are old and in need of healing and grace from God. Other members of our congregation who need God’s healing and grace: David S., Sarit, Miriam, Hannah, Greg, Yuri M. Please don’t forget Daniel P., who is also in the hospital for rehabilitation after a serious motorcycle accident.
Pray for brothers and sisters in the USA that need your prayers for healing: Emmet, Bobby, Ruby is now especially in need of healing and encouragement from the Lord, John M. Aaron H., John M., Liz Johnson. In Holland, we ask for a special prayer for Tineke who is fighting cancer and needs our sincere and intense prayer for healing.
Brothers and sisters in Brazil that need healing: Paulo, Naomi, Clara, Evelyn and Marcelo’s father and especially his mother. I ask for a special prayer for our sister congregation in Curitiba who is also in need of healing among the leaders and inspiration for the leaders to continue leading with hands of grace, patience, and humility to keep things going peacefully and growing.
In Japan, we have the following brothers and sisters that need your prayers for healing: Pra. Curita, Toru, Tomoko San, Sadako San, Takeo Sensei, and Daisuke Sensei, and Sister Yumi’s husband.
The list of brothers and sisters who need strength and blessing in their homes and in their business, is also important to pray for: The Goh family, and especially Raymond are doing much better now and Raymond especially need divine wisdom and help from heaven to do what the Lord has given him to do for his family for his company and above all for the Kingdom of God.
Pray for Sister Christy, Sister Laurel, and for Brother Michael Kenzevic, and Daniel L., all need success and prosperity in their life and work. Pray for a dear brother in Finland by the name of David. Pray that the Lord will provide for David H., an excellent job that will honor his gifting and his family.
Pray for Roger, a dear brother who stands with so many good works and with Netivyah. He needs wisdom and peace and success in his work and life.
God bless all of you who pray for the Salvation of Israel and the World. We all need to make our Horizonte wider and have at least the dream and the desire to see the entire world kneel before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and be dressed in white on that day when the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall arise. If we don’t have that desire we will also not do things to make this happen. If we don’t have the faith we shall not be focused on that which is in God’s heart and desire.
Keep Marcia and me in your prayers for health and strength in this traveling in the summer.
Joseph and Marcia Shulam