Parashat Sh’lach (Send forth) Numbers 13:1-15:41
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-21
The connection between this week’s readings is obvious, spies were spent forth—in the Torah reading to check out the Promised Land and in the prophetic reading to the city of Jericho. The primary character in the prophetic passage is Rachav (Rahab), who made a very important statement to the spies,
“And she said to the men, ‘I know that HaShem has given to you the land, because your terror has fallen upon us and all the inhabitants of the land have melted from before you. For we have heard how HaShem has dried up the waters of the Sea of Reeds before you when you went out from Egypt and what you have done to the two Amorite kings who are across the Jordan Silchon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.'” Josh. 2:9-10
These two verses reveal that not only had the people of Jericho heard about how G-d was moving among the children of Israel, but how HaShem also placed a fear upon them. This “fear” was really a type of conviction. In other words, it was not as though the people of Jericho were unaware of what HaShem was up to, rather they simply chose not to submit to it. Rachav however chose to act on this conviction and find G-d’s provision of deliverance.
More and more I am encountering people who criticize HaShem and question His justice because of those who have not responded properly to Him and are eternally lost. Many people struggle with the idea of eternal judgment. This is indeed a most common issue. This passage from the book of Joshua reveals a great deal in regard to it. First, the people of Jericho were not in darkness concerning the power and authority of the G-d of Israel. It is clearly stated that they had heard of these great victories and HaShem’s supernatural care for the Jewish people (drying up the waters of the Sea of Reeds). It has also been stated that HaShem had brought the people under conviction. In other words, the fact that the people of Jericho did not want to go out and fight the children of Israel is a good indication that they knew that with HaShem on the side of Israel, they would not be successful.
The wise thing to do would have been to go out and welcome the people of G-d and bless them and ask how they could become part of His congregation. We all know this did not take place; they preferred to sit idly by and not to respond to the revelation of the G-d of Israel. This is what sadly many people do with Messiah Yeshua—they, by means of the Holy Spirit, fall under conviction, but they fail to respond correctly and they eventually will suffer the same fate as the city of Jericho—destruction. The difference is that it will not be just a city which is destroyed, but one’s soul.
The soul is eternal and will either enjoy eternal life or eternal death. This is why the message of salvation by means of the Gospel of Messiah Yeshua is so urgent to present—for we never know who might be like Rachav and take the message to heart and respond with faith and find eternal life.
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