Parashat Shelach (Send Forth)
Bamidbar (Numbers) 13:1-15:41
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24
As I prepared to write this week’s commentary, the word “trust” kept coming back to me. As I look at my life as a follower of the Messiah, I must ask, “Do I trust God? When in the past did I make a choice to trust Him? And do I still trust Him today when I face daily decisions?”
In this week's Parashah, chapters 13 and 14 of the Book of Numbers speak of God’s instruction to the children of Israel to tour (or scout) the Land that He had allotted to them:
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.” Numbers 13:1–2
All they were asked to do was to see that which God had already given them, and trust that He would provide everything they needed in order to inherit that Land, and obey Him. I put the word “see” in bold, since I believe that it was important for us to understand that the first call was only to see and make a choice to trust.
However, as the story goes, 10 out of the 12 scouts leaned on their own understanding based on what they saw, rather than trusting, acknowledging and standing on God’s promises.
For the 10, it was what they saw that made them take their eyes off God, and His specific calling for them; the result was that they gave a report which was based solely on their own understanding, or in other words, from their flesh. Joshua Ben Nun, however, along with Calev the son of Yefune, saw the same things as the other 10, only their eyes were still fixed on that which the Lord called them to; they chose to trust God and His promises.
In the Haftarah portion of Joshua 2:1-24, we learn of a separate time when Joshua sent two spies to see the Land before entering to the Land of Promise. The same Joshua who chose to trust God’s promises previously was once again needing to trust God. His trust in God translated into action.
As followers of Messiah, we like to say “I believe” or “I have faith” in the one and only true God. But as Yaakov (James) wrote in the most clear way: “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17; 20) In other words, our faith should translate into action. We first trust God and His promises, even when it defies all human logic, and that should spur us into action.
I want to encourage you to trust Him, especially when you cannot see what God is doing. We just never know how God has already laid the groundwork, bringing Himself glory, as is written in Joshua 2:9-11when Rahab told the two spies:
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.”
We can trust Him! He has demonstrated repeatedly that He is trustworthy. I encourage each of us to reflect back on our lives and remember where God showed you that He can be trusted to keep His promises. Your faith today is stronger because of what He has done yesterday.
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