Parashat Sh’lach (Send forth) Numbers 13:1-15:41
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24
In this week’s Torah portion HaShem’s call upon the Children of Israel challenged their faith. Such an experience is not unique to Israel; every believer will have his or her faith challenged to some degree every day. Obviously in the case of Israel in this week’s parashah it was a big test; taking possession of the Land of Canaan from a human perspective would not have been an easy task. An important principle to learn is that no matter what the challenge may be to one’s faith, the solution is always the same— trust in the L-rd. It was clear from the text that the Children of Israel focused upon the Nephilim (Giants) who dwelt in the Land, rather than believing that HaShem would keep His word and give them the Land He promised.
When the moment came to obey HaShem and inherit the Land, instead of acting in faith, the people wept all night, murmured against Moses and Aaron, and wished they had died either in Egypt or earlier on in the Wilderness. The people asked a couple of very informing questions,
“And why is HaShem bringing us to this Land to fall by the sword, our wives and children will become spoil; surely it’s better for us to return to Egypt?” Numbers 14:3
Not only does this verse call into question the character of G-d, but also His ability. This reveals the real problem with the Children of Israel. They knew of the G-d of Israel, but they did not truly know Him. In other words, they did not have any doubt that HaShem existed, but they had not come to believe that He was a Holy and Righteous G-d and infinite in Power. It was highly insulting to HaShem to say that He brought them into the wilderness to die by the sword. In addition to this, their statement that “surely it’s better for us to return to Egypt” reveals that they thought they knew better than Him. It is clear from this verse that they did not believe in an omnipotent and omniscient G-d. Left to themselves, they would have returned to Egypt and lived a life of bondage to an evil ruler.
This is what many believers are experiencing today. They know that Yeshua is the Messiah, but they have not come to know Messiah and His power or character. They fail when their faith is challenged and they are living a life that is moving in a direction contrary to the will of Yeshua and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. What is their real problem? The answer is that they are spiritually cowards. I know this because I, too, have failed to act in faith and live in a way which reflects a faith that acknowledges that Yeshua is Holy and Righteous and infinite in Power.
Joshua admonished the people saying, “But against HaShem, do not rebel…” (See Numbers 14:9). Join with me this Shabbat and pray to Yeshua and ask Him to reveal to you the areas in which you are rebelling against Him. A lack of faith in the Biblical Messiah plagues us at all times.
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