Torah Portion: Shelach L’Kha (Send on Your Behalf) Numbers 13-15
HafTorah: Joshua 2:1-24
This Torah portion begins with Moses sending out the 12 men to go into Canaan to check out the best way to approach taking the land that G-d had promised them. It ends with the commandment of tzitzit. As we examine this section I believe we can see a common thread going through out.
I want us to look at this section in a personal way, a spiritual way. I believe it has much to say about us and about how we see the Father. I would ask you to think of life as our Promised Land and how do we navigate it. Is it a land that devours its inhabitants or is it very, very good?
How we see each day and its challenges has a great deal to do with how we go though it. In B’Midbar (Numbers) 13:1 it says, “Send for yourself.” Somewhat like G-d is saying, if you need to do this to be okay send some men. I wonder how many times I or you stand before a challenge G-d has given us or a promise G-d has given us and in our need to control we need to check it out ourselves before we approach it. Is “blind faith” a good thing or is it not? In any case G-d tells Moses to send men to “tour” the Land. In English we always read, “spy out” the land. What difference does it make in how we see this story? A spy is always on alert, plotting on how best to obtain information and forward it back to base. They want to assess how or if it is possible to subvert the enemy.
Now how does a tourist go through a land? They see the sights but essentially stay unaffected or untouched by anything they see or anyone they contact. Moses sent these men to tour the land. They change their mission into one of spies, gathering and evaluating information. They gave their own opinions, something Moses never asked for. The only thing they were to do was to come back and say which highway would get them to their destination. The rest was G-d’s problem. He had already promised the land. After forming their opinions they doubted He could deliver on that promise. I mean, these were really big people with fortified cities surely G-d didn’t know the whole story. Matt 6:25-34 speaks to us about worry and how the birds of the air trust G-d for their food. How often are we able to be a bird of the air, or do we often become spies, trying to analyze our way through situation by what we see with our eyes.
Twelve men went on this trip. Ten came back as spies and two came back as tourist. Two believed and had faith that the Father would fulfill His promise to never leave us or forsake us. They saw a good land but ten saw a land that devoured its inhabitants. We don’t need to know if a task is achievable, we only have to know that G-d has told us to go forth and conquer. Moses’ only concern was how best to do what the Father had promised. When our own dislikes and desires get in our way of doing G-d’s will for our lives we risk wandering in a land that devours its inhabitants and we will miss the good land G-d has for us. When G-d leads us the question is never, “if it can be done but rather how is it to be done.’
This Torah section ends with the commandment of tzitzit. What reason is given for wearing these on the hem of a garment? They are to help us remember all the commandments of G-d and do them and not to the follow harlotry of your own heart and your own eyes. So, these tassels were to remind them who they were, holy to the L-rd. We have to be diligent in spending time with the Father to know His will and not to follow our own hearts. This was the problem of the ten men in this Torah portion. I implore you to take each day, each decision and see it through G-d’s promises. Don’t go through the desert when a good, good land awaits you.