Parashat Shelach (Send Forth)
Bamidbar (Numbers) 13:1–15:41
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1–24
I entitled this blog entry, “A Matter of Trust” because I believe we are faced with daily decisions in our walk with the LORD that test our trust in Him and in His promises. In my previous blog entry, I wrote that not even a great mountain can stop God’s plan from coming to fruition! Even the greatest mountain will be flattened; the question is, "In what or whom do we trust?" In other words, where do we focus - on the mountain or the One that can level the mountain?
In this week's parasha, we are reminded once again of how important it is to keep our eyes and minds fixed on the Lord! Chapters 13 and 14 of the Book of Numbers speak of God’s instruction to the children of Israel to tour (or scout) and walk the Land that He had allotted to them. All they were asked to do was to see that which God had already given them, trust that He would provide everything they needed in order to inherit that Land, and obey Him. However, as the story goes, 10 out of the 12 scouts were looking at the situation from a worldly point of view rather than God’s. And they were terrified!So much so that they said:
We also saw the Nephilim there the sons of Anak from the tyrant giants (the fallen ones); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
The 10 scouts based their report on what they saw, which was translated not only in the way they viewed themselves, but also in the way they thought the Nephilim viewed them. In reality, they had a very short memory and they completely forgot all the signs and wonders that God had done for them in Egypt! They forgot that He alone is in control and all they needed to do is to trust Him and inherit the Land that He gave to them.
In our Haftara, we find that Joshua Ben Nun, who along with Calev the son of Yefune, were the only two scouts who trusted God; they stood against the other scouts and encouraged the people to trust God in accordance with His promises, sending two spies to see the Land which God promised Israel and report back.
In our story, we find in Rahab's testimony, the reality of what could have happened if the entire 12 scouts would have chosen to trust God instead of what they saw:
Now before the spies lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have despaired because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard these reports, our hearts melted and no courage remained in anyone any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth below.”
What an amazing testimony of the way God had already prepared victory for Israel! Here we see that the stories of His mighty power had spread all over and that He put fear in the hearts of those who heard them.
It is all a matter of trust and a matter of faith. The wonderful report that the two spies gave to Joshua upon their return is a great witness of this truth and ought to encourage us all to trust and stand upon the LORD’s promises:
Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country, and they crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun. Then they reported to him all that had happened to them. And they said to Joshua, “The LORD has indeed handed over to us all the land; furthermore, all the inhabitants of the land have despaired because of us.”
As I write this, I myself am encouraged to trust God and stand upon His promises. I am reminded of a conversation that I had with one of my daughters this week, when she asked me “Abba, do all people in the world hate us (referring to Israel)?” My reply to her was that God’s Word tells us that all nations will gather against Jerusalem, but that it also says God Himself will fight those nations and we need to keep our eyes on Him and put our trust in Him, and not panic.
Is there a challenge that you're facing at this moment? Does it seem so much bigger than what you can handle? Let me encourage you that you can take God at His word, and trust Him to give you grace to handle every mountain that you face.
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