Keep your faith flourishing!

Shelach L’Kha (Send on Your Behalf) B’midbar/Numbers 13:1-15:41

Haftorah Reading: Joshua 2:1-24

Today, we again have a very important Torah portion to look at. It has much to teach us, some points will take some digging on our part to discover answers. Some will require a look at the words in Hebrew and other verses will appear to be in conflict by the wording.

For example, in Numbers 13:1-2 we read, “The L-rd said to Moshe, send some men to explore the land of Canaan.” Then in Deut. 1:22 we read that the people came to Moshe and asked him to send men to explore the land. This leaves us with a question. Who told Moshe to send the men into the land? In our portion today in Numbers 13, we can bring clarity by looking at the wording in Hebrew. Numbers 13:2 can be translated as, “Send for yourself,” or do what seems right in your own eyes. G-d was saying to Moshe, after the visit of the people, you make this decision as the leader of the people. This gives us more harmony between the two accounts. I bring this out to show us there is harmony in G-d’s word. But sometimes it takes a little effort or digging to find answers.

Now on to a deeper issue. I expect it is difficult for us to understand the refusal of the people to enter the land. Remember they were at the doorstep of the land of Promise yet they came back with a bad report. Ten of the twelve said it could not be done. Two said it was theirs for the taking because G-d had promised it and that was all they needed. Why would there be such a difference of opinion?

As we talk I would ask each of you to put yourself in the place of these men. Apply this situation to your own life and the choices you have made when confronted with a similar situation where you had to rely completely on G-d’s intervention to solve a problem.

These men were the top men of the tribe. They were leaders. What caused this loss of faith in the words and promises of G-d? One hint might be in Numbers 13:31. We read their opinion of the people of the land. “They are mightier than we.” In Hebrew it reads, “He is stronger than we.” One possibility is they were questioning whether G-d was stronger than the gods of the Canaanites. This incident occurred not long after G-d had delivered them from Egypt, the most powerful country of the time. G-d had appeared to them at the mountain, had split the sea so they could cross over to dry land and then destroyed the army of Pharaoh. Yet, here on the doorstep of the land of Promise they backed away and doubted G-d.

Our challenge remains the same today. I am sure all of us can recount the times when G-d saved us from peril or from our enemies. Yet there are also times when we gave in to the pull of sin or of doubt. How do we keep our faith flourishing and not be consumed by the land around us? I believe our hope is to decide to make G-d a part of everything we do and everything we say. To make Him a part of every relationship we have. For our faith to remain strong requires us to bring G-d into every part of our life, not just here or there when we think of it.  We must make a conscious effort to hold on to Him daily in prayer and soaking up His Word. We are to commit to live our life under His care and under His authority. This is a challenge for us. There are many things that compete for our time and attention. If we are not careful we can fall into the same trap these ten men fell into. Only G-d gives us the ability to do this. By bringing Him into everything we do, say or think, we can make every day of our lives a “Holy Land time.” I pray each of us will approach each and every day with the full knowledge that G-d has gone before us and will prepare the way for us.

I always appreciate the answers I receive each week to my questions. This week I got some answers concerning the similarities or contrasts between Moshe sending out the twelve men and Yeshua sending out His disciples in Matthew 10.

First, each sent out twelve men. In both cases we are given the names of the twelve. In both the men are given geographical boundaries. However, one difference is how they were sent out. Moshe sent the twelves to check out the land, crops and people living there. Yeshua sent the twelve out on a spiritual quest to bring people into the kingdom of G-d. They were given spiritual authority.

My other question was taken from Numbers 15:15-16 which state there is to be one law for both Jews and the aliens sojourning with the Jewish people. How does this relate to Acts 15:28-29? 

First let me be clear, our salvation does not rest on how we relate to the Torah. We are saved by grace not by works. However, having made that stipulation, I do believe as non-Jews we do have the opportunity to live a deeper more fulfilling, more submitted life by taking the entire Bible as our guide. The Torah is G-d’s detailed blue print on how we are to live our life. Nowhere in Torah does it suggest we as non-Jews should convert to Judaism. Also, scripture does not give us permission to ignore part of the Bible and only be concerned with being saved and getting a free pass to heaven.  We are to use His entire, inspired word of G-d as our guide to life.

The verses in Acts seem to be an introduction to that fullness, or a minimal beginning for those grafted in to the house of Israel. It is a great loss to those who have made that first step of salvation to not continue on deeper with the L-rd.  For example, many relate to the holidays listed in scripture as Jewish holidays. I think they are much more than that. They are G-d’s calendar for us to live by beginning with Passover as a picture of salvation all the way to Sukkot being an example of the final harvest of the L-rd. 

Bless each of you every day as you see and explore how this applies or does not apply to your own walk with the Father.