From: Messianic Bible
Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2012 4:35 PM
The Hebrew Scriptures in the form of a Sefer Torah scroll
Welcome to our study for this week’s Torah portion, which is called Shlach
(Send). This is the portion of Scripture that will be read in synagogues
around the world this Saturday morning. Please read along with us; we
are certain you will be blessed!
PARSHA SHLACH (Send)
Numbers 13:1-15:41; Joshua 2:1-24; Hebrews 3:7-4:1
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Send some men to explore the land of Canaan,
which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its
leaders.’” (Numbers 13:1)
The Western (Wailing) Wall, which is a remnant of the wall that once
surrounded the Holy Temple’s courtyard, has been a site of Jewish
pilgrimage and prayer for 1600 years or more.
Last week, in Parsha Behaalotecha, we read that Aaron was commanded to
light the lamps of the Menorah, and that the tribe of Levi was initiated into
service for the Tabernacle.
In this week’s Parsha, Moses sent 12 leaders into the land of Canaan
on a fact finding-mission. These leaders were to scout Canaan to discover
the physical nature of the land and the feasibility of a military conquest, and
bring back a report to Moses and the Israelites.
“Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is
like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many.”
(Numbers 13: 17-19)
The Zin Valley in the Negev Desert of Israel
The Power of an Evil Report
After scouting out the land, they were impressed by the capacity of the land
to sustain life, but 10 of the leaders believed that it would be impossible to
conquer the land because the inhabitants were mighty.
Their ‘evil report’ caused the people of Israel to become discouraged and
fearful to go in and possess the land. This provoked God’s wrath, and He
condemned the Israelites to wander in the wilderness, one year for each
day that the spies were in the land – a total of 40 years.
After those 40 years, only two people from that generation entered the
Promised Land: the two leaders who brought the good report, Joshua
They were allowed to enter the Promised Land because they trusted in the
Lord and believed that with His help, the Jewish People could overcome all
obstacles, defeat the giants, and take the land!
The Grapes of Canaan, by James Tissot, at the Jewish
Museum, New York
Faith versus Fear
“Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)
One major lesson to be gained from this Parsha for all of us is that it’s
important that our faith prevail over fear!
We all need to trust God to do what He promised even though it seems
impossible in the natural.
We must take a lesson from the Israelites and beware of indulging in the sin
1 Corinthians 10:5 explains that God was not pleased with most of
the Israelites, and for this reason, most of their bodies were scattered in
After all, they had witnessed God’s power in bringing them out of Egypt, and
they had eaten the manna and drank water from the rock. They had the
cloud and the pillar of fire to guide and protect them.
They knew firsthand the greatness of the God of Israel, and yet they feared
the military prowess of the Canaanites.
We certainly do not want to share this same fate! We must learn from their
mistakes so that we and our children will not repeat them, but rather pass
quickly through our wilderness trials victoriously and cross over the Jordan,
and into the Promised Land.
A young American Jewish man praying at the Western (Wailing) Wall
during a visit to Israel.
Complaining Versus Thankfulness
“Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard
it, and His anger was aroused.” (Numbers 11:1)
Just a couple chapters before in Numbers is lesson about complaining,
an attitude that prevents us from moving forward. We read that some
of the Israelites complained, and were therefore destroyed.
In this Parsha reading we see that after the Israelites heard the evil
report, they grumbled once again and considered going back to Egypt.
“If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us
to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be
taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
(Numbers 14: 2-4)
Negativity is a dangerous and contagious disease.
A rabbi removes the Torah scroll from the Ark, where
it is kept safe.
Complaining is the opposite of thankfulness. We can always find something
to complain about, but the Word tells us to focus on whatever is good, right,
true, and lovely.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever
is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if
anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
We can choose to complain or choose to find something to be thankful about.
Many of us at one point or another will have to battle with ingratitude and
fear. Sometimes, we fear the unknown. We fear things won’t work out.
We wonder if God will really come through for us.
The battle is the most intense ‘in the middle,’ when we’re in transition –
when we’ve left where we’ve been, and haven’t yet arrived at where
we’re going to be.
A young man prepares to read from the Word of God as the Torah scroll
is unrolled at the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem.
Being Perfected in Love
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has
to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
(1 John 4:18)
The Word of God says that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
One aspect of love is being in control of our mouth and having a tongue that
blesses and doesn’t curse. Much depends on the words we speak; the power
of death and life may be found in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).
Another aspect of love is being careful of the words we listen to! We can
choose to listen to faith-filled messages from the Word of God, or we can
listen to the evil reports of fearful, negative-minded neighbors, and
companions, or what’s in the media.
In the case of the 10 leaders who gave an evil report, their facts were
were accurate, but they presented them in a way that demoralized
“…it does flow with milk and honey! … But the people who live there are
powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” (Numbers 13: 27-28)
Notice the word “but” in their report. The three letter word BUT is a small
word with a big meaning. And its potential to destroy dreams is immense!
To understand what is behind this little word, it’s helpful to treat is as an
acronym: B.U.T.—Behold the Underlying Truth. In other words, when
we use the word but, we are revealing what and who we really believe.
Ultra-orthodox Jewish men gaze over the Old City of Jerusalem from
Joshua and Caleb also saw the giants, but inwardly they kept their eyes
fixed on God.
Likewise, we can focus on the size and strength of our enemy or on the size
and strength of our God.
Instead of telling God how huge our enemies are, we should be telling our
enemies how great and powerful our God is!
Caleb rallied Moses and the Israelites to fulfill their destiny telling them
that they should go and take possession of the land (Numbers 13: 30).
He didn’t hesitate to do the will of God.
Procrastinating when God says, “Go forth,” may result in us talking ourselves
out of doing the will of God.
Here is the difference between those who died in the wilderness and those who
lived to enter the Promised Land: Caleb and Joshua encouraged faith saying,
“We can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13: 30)
The ten other tribal leaders, however, encouraged fear saying, “We can’t
attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” (Numbers 13: 31)
The 12 scouts brought back grapes, pomegranates and figs to Moses
and the Israelites as proof that the land was good, and that it was a land
flowing with milk and honey.
There are basically two types of people: the “I think I can” people and the
“I think I can’t” people.
We can choose to be a positive, faith-filled people who encourage others to
be strong and of good courage, like Joshua and Caleb.
Beware pessimistic, fearful, negative, ‘kvetchers’ (Yiddish for complainers).
They can destroy our faith!
Sometimes the only thing wrong with our life is that we’ve been spending too
much time with people who are more than happy to tell us why we are not able.
The ancient walls of Jerusalem
Activating our Faith
We are not powerless in the face of fear. God has given us everything
we need to defeat it.
Consider the following Scriptures, for example:
“For God gave us a Spirit who produces not timidity, but power, love
and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because
the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
(1 John 4:4)
If we confess these Scriptures, and others like them, we will fill our hearts
Let the Word of God be a daily reminder to be strong and of good courage
for the Lord our God is with us! Baruch HaShem!
The Tower of David and the Archaeological Gardens in Jerusalem
Having a Memory Like David’s
“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised
Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the
living God.” (1 Samuel 17:36)
When you’re tempted to think that you can’t, think of David.
When David learned that Goliath was challenging the Israelite troops to
provide a champion for a one-on-one battle with him, David told King
Saul that he would fight him.
What was Saul’s response? “You are not able…. You are only a boy. (1
Samuel 17: 33)”
David’s own brother accused him of acting out of ego for even inquiring
about defeating Goliath (1 Samuel 17: 28).
Even worse than this, perhaps, was David’s father completely overlooking him
when Samuel had asked to see all his sons so he could anoint one of them.
A shepherd with his sheep
How crushing would that be if your own father just left you out with the
sheep when someone important like Samuel invited the family out for a
very special ceremonial dinner?
None of that had any bearing whatsoever on David in the face
He had already experienced times of victory with God and he called upon
those memories to gird him with courage.
He told King Saul that Goliath was no bigger and no more dangerous than
the bears and lions he had defeated with God’s help.
He was certain of his success before he engaged in battle because
he knew the God of Israel, and he remembered how God had helped him.
Reciting prayers from the Jewish prayer book at the Western (Wailing) Wall
Building Up Our Faith
“We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to
them.” (Numbers 13: 33)
It’s essential that we remember our history of successes with God.
We can keep a memory box or scrapbook of times when God helped us,
healed us, protected us, saved us, or provided for us. As we review all
the great things God has done for us, our faith will be built up.
Unlike the 10 spies, David did not see himself as a grasshopper.
God desires that we be transformed by the renewing of our minds through
the Word of God (Romans 12:2)! To really understand God’s will for our
lives, and who we are in Messiah, we need to meditate on the Word of God.
In 2 Samuel 9:8, Mephiboshet, whose name means “shameful thing,” called
himself a ‘dead dog’ instead of son of Jonathan and grandson of King Saul.
Furthermore, he lived in Loh Davar, which literally means ‘no thing’ in
Hebrew. What a message: a nobody, from nowhere.
Preparing to remove the Torah scroll from its ornamental case at the
Wailing (Western) Wall, Jerusalem
It’s time to move from Loh Davar to the palace and dine at the King’s table.
We need to see ourselves as God’s segulah (special treasure), created
in God’s image (carrying a spark of God’s divine presence – Shechinah –
within each of us).
What was the difference in Joshua and Caleb? The Bible says they possessed a
different spirit and followed God wholeheartedly (Numbers 14:24).
They had also been slaves and had suffered the hardship and oppression of
Egypt, but they chose to be overcomers through faith.
In these end times, the world will certainly succumb to fear of financial
collapse, plagues and terrorism, BUT just like Joshua and Caleb, we
also should possess a different spirit.
We should be confident in the Lord that all things are possible, and that
He makes a distinction between His covenant children and those outside
Knowing God makes all the difference!
You can help our vital Jewish Bible Ministry
which is on the cutting Edge here in Israel during these Last Days.
Shabbat shalom from our ministry staff!
You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”
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