Parashat Shelach (Send Forth)
Bamidbar (Numbers) 13:1–15:41
This week’s blog is close to my heart due to the fact that I have the amazing privilege to live in the land that God promised to the children of Israel! Not only that, but I am blessed that I get to share my love for Israel with people from all over the world.
“Then the LORD spoke to Moses saying, “Send out for yourself men so that they may tour (scout, walk) out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes, every one a leader among them.””
I would encourage you to read my blog Parashat Shelach (Send Forth) on this Parasha, in which I explain the reason that I choose the phrase, “tour the land” verses the common “spy the land”.
But I’d like to take a different approach to this parasha for this blog. As I re-read this week’s Scripture portion, I was thankful for the reminder to trust Him and not those material things that are seen, and although may feel concrete and trustworthy, are really just illusions of security.
God’s call to Moses and to Israel was to enter and tour (or scout) the land, which He had given them. Instead of following God’s simple command, they did not focus on God’s promises but rather focused on what their eyes saw and their ears heard. Upon their return, they reported to Moses and the people with these words:
When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “We should by all means go up and inherit it, for we shall surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
As we can see from the text, the report was quite negative (with the exception of Caleb’s courageous statement in verse 30). The spies were full of fear and completely lacked trust that God could do what He had promised. They trusted more in their feelings than they did in their God! How tragic that instead of trusting God and living by faith, the messengers allowed the fear of men to overcome them, forgetting the One and only true God who delivered them from hand of Pharaoh in Egypt.
I named this blog “God’s Reminder”, because those of us who live in Israel, and by extension, those who would like to visit Israel, have a choice to make: Are we going to trust God and His promises or are we going to look at the uncertain reality that surrounds Israel? Even as I write this blog, I received an alert that a possible rocket was fired from Syria into the Golan Heights! Am I going to allow this to bring fear into my life or, just like Caleb, am I going to quiet everyone down and stand for the promises of God? We get to choose — we either hold onto His promises, or we go crazy with fear.
Are you facing a situation where you must choose whether to trust God or panic? Will you allow fear to distract you from obeying God, and trusting Him? Let me remind you that He is faithful and can be trusted in EVERY situation.