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Parashah 37: Shlach L'kha (Send on your behalf)
Numbers 13:1 through 15:41

Parashah 37: Shlach L'kha (Send on your behalf); Numbers 13:1 through 15:41.

Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Joshua 2:1-24.

B'rit Hadashah (New Testament): Hebrews 3:7-19.

Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadasha Scriptures from the AENT.

Welcome "newbies" and "oldies!" By now you all know that Torah was written by Moshe (Moses) and consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: YHWH (pronounced "Yah-weh"). His Son's Name is Y'shua (pronounced "Ye-shu-ah"). Enjoy this week's Torah portion:

At our house we begin our weekly Torah studies with a prayer that ends with, "Blessed are you YHWH, King of the universe, who chose us from all nations and gave us the Torah." Nowhere will we find a prayer that ends with, "Blessed are you YHWH, King of the universe, who chose us from all nations and took the Torah back after giving us His Messiah...." It seems many people simply cannot grasp that Torah is YHWH's permanent Divine Instructions to mankind, without which we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living....

In this Torah portion we discover why the Israelites ended up in the desert for 40 years: They didn't trust YHWH! This portion describes the sin of the spies who entered the Land and brought back a negative report of obstacles they feared could not be overcome. Only Caleb and Joshua returned with the encouraging words found in today's verse. They had complete faith and understood that if God desired Israel, He would give them the Land, and no power could stand in His way.

Beginning in Numbers 13:1, we see that YHWH, recognizing that Moshe couldn't possibly do everything himself, ordered Moshe to "send men on your behalf to reconnoiter the land of Kena'an,which I am giving to the people of Isra'el. From each ancestral Tribe send someone who is the leader of his tribe."

These leaders then went to check out the land, knowing full well that YHWH had already promised it to them! But rather than trusting that YHWH was going to keep His promise and help them conquer the land, they came back full of fear about the huge, fierce Nephilim who lived there. All but Kalev/Caleb and Y'Hoshua/Joshua voiced their fear and reported their opinions (sounds much like today's politicians who operate completely without God), thus sending the entire community of Isra'el into dismay.

Numbers 13: 25 Forty days later, they returned from reconnoitering the land 26 and went to Moshe, Aharon and the entire community of the people of Isra'el at Kadesh in the Pa'ran Desert, where they brought back word to them and to the entire community and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 What they told him was this: "We entered the land where you sent us, and indeed it does flow with milk and honey - here is its fruit! 28 However the people living in the land are fierce, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover, we saw the 'Anakim there. 29 'Amalek lives in the area of the Negev; the Hitti, the Y'vusi and the Emori live in the hills; and the Kena'ani live by the sea and alongside the Yarden."

30 Kalev silenced the people around Moshe and said, "We ought to go up immediately and take possession of it; there is no question that we can conquer it." 31 But the men who had gone with him said, "We can't attack those people, because they are stronger than we are"; 32 and they spread a negative report about the land they had reconnoitered for the people of Isra'el by saying, "The land we passed through in order to spy it out is a land that devours its inhabitants. All the people we saw there were giant! 33 We saw the N'filim, the descendants of 'Anak, who was from the N'filim; to ourselves we looked like grasshoppers by comparison, and we looked that way to them too!"

Numbers 14: 1 At this all the people of Isra'el cried out in dismay and wept all night long. 2 Moreover, all the people of Isra'el began grumbling against Moshe and Aharon; the whole community told them, "We wish we had died in the land of Egypt! or that we had died here in the desert! 3 Why is ADONAI bringing us to this land, where we will die by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be taken as booty! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?" 4 And they said to each other, "Let's appoint a leader and return to Egypt!"

And so, naturally, YHWH once again becomes angry with his people:

Numbers 14: 10 But just as the whole community were saying they should be stoned to death, the glory of ADONAI appeared in the tent of meeting to all the people of Isra'el. 11 ADONAI said to Moshe, "How much longer is this people going to treat me with contempt? How much longer will they not trust me, especially considering all the signs I have performed among them? 12 I am going to strike them with sickness, destroy them and make from you a nation greater and stronger than they are!"

And, as usual, Moshe interceded on their behalf (see Numbers 14: 13-19)....

Today Yeshua is our Intercessor! Back in pre-Yeshua times, YHWH provided intercessors on behalf of men. Millions of innocent animals were slaughtered as sin sacrifices. Then Yeshua came and martyred Himself on our behalf, asking forgiveness for ALL mankind (Luke 23:34, Galatians 1:4, 1 John 2:2), thus making it easy for everyone to obtain eternal life. No more "wandering in the desert!" Our "desert" consists of the hard times that besiege us from the enemy as we doggedly pursue our holy walk with YHWH. The more obedient we become, the more trials and tribulations we seem to have to endure, because the enemy HATES us!

(NOTE: Our use of the term "martyr" is intentional because traditional Jews love to point out that "G-d never required human sacrifice!" Well, Y'shua wasn't a "human sacrifice" because nobody "sacrificed" Him. He was a Divine Sacrifice who willingly went to the cross/stake. As a human being, He had the choice to obey YHWH or not. As we see time and time again, He CHOSE to obey. He KNEW who He was....)

As we continue today's Parashah, we must recognize the fact that, YHWH's people were camped in the Paran Desert (see Numbers 13:3 and 26), a place that was first mentioned in Genesis 21:20-21...that barren area between Be'er-Sheva and Egypt where Hagar and her son Ishmael settled after being cast out of Avraham's camp! Ishmael, if you'll remember is Isaac's half-brother; the person who is the forefather of the Arabs, most of whom are Muslim today....

Ishmael was described as "a great donkey of a man", someone who was/would be constantly at war with everyone, living in hostility towards all his brothers (Genesis 16:12). Doesn't this sound like the entire world today, those without Torah? Isn't it ironic that YHWH would send His people to camp in the Paran area, a place that contains the "spirit of Ishmael"; someone who was an angry "hot-head" and harbored self-righteousness and entitlement? Someone who was argumentative, irreverent and combative? Someone who chose a foreign land and foreign ways over those of YHWH?

Moving on, we now discover why the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years:

Numbers 14: 20 ADONAI answered, "I have forgiven, as you have asked. 21 But as sure as I live, and that the whole earth is filled with the glory of ADONAI, 22 none of the people who saw my glory and the signs I did in Egypt and in the desert, yet tested me these ten times and did not listen to my voice, 23 will see the land I swore to their ancestors! None of those who treated me with contempt will see it. 24 But my servant Kalev, because he had a different Spirit with him and has fully followed me - him I will bring into the land he entered, and it will belong to his descendants.

Numbers 14: 26 ADONAI said to Moshe and Aharon, 27 "How long am I to put up with this evil community who keep grumbling about me? I have heard the complaints of the people of Isra'el, which they continue to raise against me. 28 Tell them this: 'As surely as I live, ADONAI swears, as surely as you have spoken in my ears, I will do this to you: 29 your carcasses will fall in this desert! Every single one of you who were included in the census over the age of twenty, you who have complained against me, 30 will certainly not enter the land about which I raised my hand to swear that I would have you live in it - except for Kalev the son of Y'funeh and Y'hoshua the son of Nun.

31 But your little ones, who you said would be taken as booty - them I will bring in. They will know the land you have rejected. 32 But you, your carcasses will fall in this desert; 33 and your children will wander about in the desert for forty years bearing the consequences of your prostitutions until the desert eats up your carcasses. 34 It will be a year for every day you spent reconnoitering the land that you will bear the consequences of your offenses - forty days, forty years. Then you will know what it means to oppose me! 35 I, ADONAI, have spoken.' I will certainly do this to this whole evil community who have assembled together against me - they will be destroyed in this desert and die there."

Please re-read verses 32-34 again because here we see that YHWH does NOT play around when it comes to His Word! Had YHWH's people simply OBEYED instead of sitting around grumbling, they would NOT have had to spend 40 years in the desert waiting around for the "grumblers" to die off!

So many people today have decided they have the right to interpret the Word any which way they choose, to the point where some have downright twisted it into oblivion. As you have probably heard, people such as Oprah insist, "we all worship the same God." Really? The god of the Muslims doesn't have a Son who came to offer Himself as our Final Sin Sacrifice so that mankind could have "easy access" to heaven! And, how can "Jesus and satan be brothers" as the Mormons insist? And where in the Scriptures do we ever see that Mary is to be basically idolized and "prayed to"? She was a mere human being who died after the death of Yeshua, which means she hasn't risen yet (and will rise upon His Second Coming).

Numbers 14: 21 But as sure as I live, and that the whole earth is filled with the glory of ADONAI, 22 none of the people who saw my glory and the signs I did in Egypt and in the desert, yet tested me these ten times and did not listen to my voice, 23 will see the land I swore to their ancestors! None of those who treated me with contempt will see it.

Let's veer from our study for just a moment to ponder on an interesting fact: Exactly what were those "ten times" in which the Israelites "tested" YHWH (Numbers 14:22):

1. Lacking trust when at the Red Sea.

Exodus 14: 10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Isra'el looked up and saw the Egyptians right there, coming after them. In great fear the people of Isra'el cried out to ADONAI 11 and said to Moshe, "Was it because there weren't enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn't we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we'll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians' slaves than to die in the desert!" 13 Moshe answered the people, "Stop being so fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how ADONAI is going to save you. He will do it today - today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again!

2. Complaining about the bitter water at Marah.

Exodus 15: 23 They arrived at Marah but couldn't drink the water there, because it was bitter. This is why they called it Marah [bitterness]. 24 The people grumbled against Moshe and asked, "What are we to drink?"

3. Complaining of the lack of food in the Desert of Seen.

Exodus 16: 1 They traveled on from Eilim, and the whole community of the people of Isra'el arrived at the Seen Desert, between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt. 2 There in the desert the whole community of the people of Isra'el grumbled against Moshe and Aharon. 3 The people of Isra'el said to them, "We wish ADONAI had used his own hand to kill us off in Egypt! There we used to sit around the pots with the meat boiling, and we had as much food as we wanted. But you have taken us out into this desert to let this whole assembly starve to death!"

4. Failing to trust that the next-day's manna would be there and keeping leftovers overnight.

Exodus 16: 19 Moshe told them, "No one is to leave any of it till morning." 20 But they didn't pay attention to Moshe, and some kept the leftovers until morning. It bred worms and rotted, which made Moshe angry at them. 21 So they gathered it morning after morning, each person according to his appetite; but as the sun grew hot, it melted.

5. Collecting Manna on the Sabbath.

Exodus 16: 26 Gather it six days, but the seventh day is the Shabbat - on that day there won't be any." 27 However, on the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather and found none. 28 ADONAI said to Moshe, "How long will you refuse to observe my mitzvot and teachings?

6. Complaining over lack of water at Rephidim.

Exodus 17: 1 The whole community of the people of Isra'el left the Seen Desert, traveling in stages, as ADONAI had ordered, and camped at Refidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moshe, demanding, "Give us water to drink!" But Moshe replied, "Why pick a fight with me? Why are you testing ADONAI?" 3 However, the people were thirsty for water there and grumbled against Moshe, "For what did you bring us up from Egypt? To kill us, our children and our livestock with thirst?"

7. Building the Golden Calf to worship.

Exodus 32: 7 ADONAI said to Moshe, "Go down! Hurry! Your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have become corrupt! 8 So quickly they have turned aside from the way I ordered them to follow! They have cast a metal statue of a calf, worshipped it, sacrificed to it and said, 'Isra'el! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'" 9 ADONAI continued speaking to Moshe: "I have been watching these people; and you can see how stiffnecked they are. 10 Now leave me alone, so that my anger can blaze against them, and I can put an end to them! I will make a great nation out of you instead."

8. Complaining at Tav'erah.

Numbers 11: 1 But the people began complaining about their hardships to ADONAI. When ADONAI heard it, his anger flared up, so that fire from ADONAI broke out against them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried to Moshe, Moshe prayed to ADONAI, and the fire abated. 3 That place was called Tav'erah [burning] because ADONAI's fire broke out against them.

9. Complaining of no meat.

Numbers 11: 4 Next, the mixed crowd that was with them grew greedy for an easier life; while the people of Isra'el, for their part, also renewed their weeping and said, "If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt - it cost us nothing! -and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic! 6 But now we're withering away, we have nothing to look at but this man."

10. Failing to trust YHWH's promise to enter the promised land after the bad report from the spies.

Numbers 14: 1 At this all the people of Isra'el cried out in dismay and wept all night long. 2 Moreover, all the people of Isra'el began grumbling against Moshe and Aharon; the whole community told them, "We wish we had died in the land of Egypt! or that we had died here in the desert! 3 Why is ADONAI bringing us to this land, where we will die by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be taken as booty! Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?" 4 And they said to each other, "Let's appoint a leader and return to Egypt!"

The above makes one wonder how many times YHWH has looked at us and wondering: "How much longer will they refuse to observe My mitzvot and teachings?

Returning to today's study we find one of the most powerful verses in the Bible: Numbers 15:13-16, wherein YHWH reiterates FOUR TIMES that ALL who choose Him are to obey Torah:

Numbers 15: 13 "'Every citizen is to do these things in this way when presenting an offering made by fire as a fragrant aroma for ADONAI. 14 If a foreigner stays with you - or whoever may be with you, through all your generations - and he wants to bring an offering made by fire as a fragrant aroma for ADONAI, he is to do the same as you. 15 For this community there will be the same law for you as for the foreigner living with you; this is a permanent regulation through all your generations; the foreigner is to be treated the same way before ADONAI as yourselves. 16 The same Torah and standard of judgment will apply to both you and the foreigner living with you.'"

This was reiterated in Matthew 5 where Yeshua Himself tells us He came NOT to abolish but to fulfill (which did NOT mean "put an end to"....)

Matthew 5: 17 Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot (words/commands) and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Has everything happened that must happen? Have heaven and Earth passed away yet? Since when does the word "complete" (or "fulfill) mean "abolished"? Why would YHWH abolish His own original divine teachings which He said were to last forever? Did Jesus come to make a liar out of His Father?

No! As YHWH amply shows, time and time again: He is ONE GOD (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) who never changes (Hebrews 13:8), and anyone who chooses Him MUST do exactly as His "chosen" do, which is to OBEY Him! Same God, same rules, same laws:

Numbers 15: 28 The cohen will make atonement before ADONAI for the person who makes a mistake by sinning inadvertently; he will make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven - 29 no matter whether he is a citizen of Isra'el or a foreigner living with them. You are to have one law for whoever it is that does something wrong by mistake. 30 "'But an individual who does something wrong intentionally, whether a citizen or a foreigner, is blaspheming ADONAI. That person will be cut off from his people. 31 Because he has had contempt for the word of ADONAI and has disobeyed his command, that person will be cut off completely; his offense will remain with him.'"

Haftarah reading:

In today's Haftarah reading we see Joshua, the son of Nun, the successor of Moses, sending out some people to "inspect" the Land of Jericho prior to the Israelites' invasion of the Holy Land, a point in common with today's Torah Parashah about the twelve spies that Moshe sent years earlier to explore the Holy Land.

Joshua 2: 1 Y'hoshua the son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Sheetim with these instructions: "Go, inspect the land and Yericho." They left and came to the house of a prostitute named Rachav, where they spent the night. 2 The king of Yericho was told about it - "Tonight some men from Isra'el came here to reconnoiter the land." 3 The king of Yericho sent a message to Rachav, "Bring out the men who came to you and are staying in your house, because they have come to reconnoiter all the land." 4 However, the woman, after taking the two men and hiding them, replied, "Yes, the men did come to me; but I didn't know where they had come from.

5 The men left around the time when they shut the gate, when it was dark. Where they went I don't know; but if you chase after them quickly, you will overtake them." 6 Actually she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them under some stalks of flax she had spread out there. 7 The men pursued them all the way to the fords at the Yarden; as soon as the pursuit party had left, the gate was shut. 8 The two men had not yet lain down when she returned to the roof 9 and said to them, "I know that ADONAI has given you the land. Fear of you has fallen on us; everyone in the land is terrified at the thought of you. 10 We've heard how ADONAI dried up the water in the Sea of Suf ahead of you, when you left Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Emori on the other side of the Yarden, Sichon and 'Og, that you completely destroyed them.

11 As soon as we heard it, our hearts failed us. Because of you, everyone is in a state of depression. For ADONAI your God - he is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 So, please, swear to me by ADONAI that, since I have been kind to you, you will also be kind to my father's family. Give me some evidence of your good faith, 13 that you will spare the lives of my father, mother, brothers and sisters and all who are theirs, so that we won't be killed." 14 The men replied to her, "Our lives are certainly worth yours, provided you don't betray our mission. So when ADONAI gives us the land, we will treat you kindly and in good faith."

15 Then she lowered them by a rope through the window; since her house abutted the city wall, indeed was actually built into it. 16 She told them, "Head for the hills, so that the pursuit party won't get their hands on you; and hide yourselves there for three days, until the pursuers have returned. After that, you can go on your way." 17 The men said to her, "We will not be guilty of violating the oath you made us swear, provided that 18 when we enter the land, you tie this piece of scarlet cord in the window you let us down from; and you gather together in your house your father, mother, brothers, and your father's entire household. 19 If anyone goes out the doors of your house into the street, he will be responsible for his own blood, and we will be guiltless. But everyone who stays with you in the house - we will be responsible for his blood if anyone lays a hand on him.

20 However, if you say a word about this business of ours, then we will be free of your oath that you made us swear." 21 "According to your words, so be it," she said, and sent them away. As they departed, she tied the scarlet cord in the window. 22 They left, arrived in the hills, and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers had searched for them all the way but hadn't found them. 23 Then the two men returned. Descending from the hills they crossed over and came to Y'hoshua the son of Nun, and reported everything that had happened to them. 24 "Truly ADONAI has handed over all the land to us," they told Y'hoshua. "Everyone in the land is terrified that we're coming."

Brit Chadashah reading:

Today's Brit Chadashah reading reiterates the fact that YHWH is NOT kidding around when it comes to obedience!

Hebrews 3: 7. Because the Ruach haKodesh has said: Today, if you will hear his voice, 8. and do not harden your hearts to bring him to wrath, like those who provoke, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness, 9. when your fathers tried my patience, and proved, (and) saw my works forty years. 10. Therefore I was disgusted with that generation, and said: This is a people, whose heart has strayed, and they have not known my ways: 11. so that I swore in my anger, that they should not enter into my rest.

12. Beware, therefore, my Brothers, so that there will not be in any of you an evil heart that does not believe, and you depart from the living Elohim. 13. But look deeply into yourselves all the days, during the day which is called today; and let none of you be hardened, through the deceitfulness of sin. 14. For we have part with the Mashiyach, if we endure in this firm confidence, from the beginning to the end: 15 as it is said, Today, if you will hear his voice, and do not harden your hearts, to anger him.

16. But who were they that heard, and angered him? It was not all they, who came out of Egypt under Moshe. 17. And with whom was he disgusted forty years, but with those who sinned, and whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18. and of whom swore he, that they should not enter into his rest, but of those who did not believe? 19. So we see that they could not enter, because they did not believe.

Some thoughts to ponder:

Even though we don't know what YHWH looks like, we do know He has feelings: He is a "jealous God" (Ex. 20:5) and He gets frustrated and angry, as we've seen throughout all the portions, including today's where we read:

Numbers 14: 11 ADONAI said to Moshe, "How much longer is this people going to treat me with contempt? How much longer will they not trust me, especially considering all the signs I have performed among them? 12 I am going to strike them with sickness, destroy them and make from you a nation greater and stronger than they are!".

He's grieved and angry that some of His people would fret having to move into the land of Kena'an because of the big, bad people who lived there! Were the Amelakim and Kena'akim a threat to the One who created the entire universe and everything in it? Were they really a threat to the One who caused Pharoah and his Egypt to suffer through ten plagues? The One who caused the Red Sea to part so that YHWH's people could walk across to the other side? The One who fed them supernaturally for years on end and even gave them so much quail to eat, that is was "coming out of their noses?".

Watch how YHWH listens to the wise old Moshe and grants him his wish to spare the people:.

Numbers 14: 13 However, Moshe replied to ADONAI, "When the Egyptians hear about this -[and they will,] because it was from among them that you, by your strength, brought this people up - 14 they will tell the people living in this land. They have heard that you, ADONAI, are with this people; that you, ADONAI, are seen face to face; that your cloud stands over them; that you go ahead of them in a column of cloud by day and a column of fire by night. 15 If you kill off this people at a single stroke, then the nations that have heard of your reputation will say 16 that the reason ADONAI slaughtered this people in the desert is that he wasn't able to bring them into the land which he swore to give them..

17 So now, please, let Adonai's power be as great as when you said, 18 'ADONAI is slow to anger, rich in grace, forgiving offenses and crimes; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative effects of the parents' offenses to be experienced by their children and even by the third and fourth generations.' 19 Please! Forgive the offense of this people according to the greatness of your grace, just as you have borne with this people from Egypt until now.".

Can you imagine our Elohim thinking, "Oh wow, Moshe is right! I DID say I was slow to anger....Hmmmm." And then He grants Moshe's request - with a caveat: "They disobeyed Me and failed to trust Me, and they need to be punished for that so that they will be reminded of exactly WHO is in charge here!!" (paraphrased).....

Numbers 14: 20 ADONAI answered, "I have forgiven, as you have asked. 21 But as sure as I live, and that the whole earth is filled with the glory of ADONAI, 22 none of the people who saw my glory and the signs I did in Egypt and in the desert, yet tested me these ten times and did not listen to my voice, 23 will see the land I swore to their ancestors! None of those who treated me with contempt will see it. 24 But my servant Kalev (who, by the way was from the Tribe of Yehudah [Numbers 13:6]!), because he had a different Spirit with him and has fully followed me - him I will bring into the land he entered, and it will belong to his descendants..

And so we see, YHWH has always been full of mercy and grace, BUT: The key is, His people are required to trust and OBEY. Anyone who chooses not to will not get to enter His "Promised Land.".

The next parashah reading:

Parashah 38: Korach (Korah); Numbers 16:1 - 18:32.

Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): 1 Samuel 11:14 - 12:22.

B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): 2 Timothy 2:8-21; Jude 1-25.