Mattot – Tribes, Mas’ei – Stages, “Final Instructions”

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by Mark Huey
mark@outreachisrael.net

This week’s double selection, Mattot and Mas’ei, concentrates on the final instructions that are given to the Ancient Israelites as they were preparing to enter into the Promised Land. The forty years of wandering in the wilderness were coming to a close. God has some additional commandments that will assist the people as they enter into their inheritance.

As you read these instructions, you will note that they cover a wide variety of topics. They deal with issues concerning oath-taking by daughters and wives,[1] the astounding military victory over the Midianites,[2] the details about the spoils of war and how to divide them,[3] and the request by the Reubenites and Gadites to settle on the east side of the Jordan.[4] We also see a roadmap summary of Israel’s entire journey through the wilderness,[5] and a description of the proposed borders for the land they will receive,[6] including delineation of the tribal leaders[7] and the establishment of cities for the Levites to occupy.[8] Details concerning cities of refuge[9] and how the justice system was to operate are given,[10] as are details on how inheritance for daughters was to be handled.[11] This wide array of material seems to wander all over the board. As you read and meditate upon these final instructions, you might wonder if there is any rhyme or reason for how broad they are. If there is one thing for certain: there are many background studies that can be launched from Mattot-Mas’ei, for better understanding of how these laws were to be followed in an Ancient Near Eastern context.

One hint that there was a sense of urgency, to get these last instructions communicated, comes at the opening of Numbers ch. 31, as the Lord told Moses to prepare the Israelites for the battle against the Midianites:

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Take full vengeance for the sons of Israel on the Midianites; afterward you will be gathered to your people’” (Numbers 31:1-2).

If you will recall from last week in Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1[29:40]), Moses had just reiterated the details about the daily offerings and the appointed times (Numbers 28-29), and how important it was for Israel to remember these commemorations in a very specific manner. Just prior to this, Moses had laid his hands upon his successor Joshua, who, with the high priest Eleazer, was preparing to replace the duo of Moses and Aaron (Numbers 27:15-23). Moses knew his days on Earth were winding down. Just after the census was taken to determine who had died in the plague resulting from the idolatry and licentiousness induced by Balaam’s advice to Balak (Numbers 26), Moses knew that the Promised Land would be apportioned out to the Israelites, but he was also mindful that the Levites were not to receive a physical inheritance because they were to be in full time service to minister. Moses was also confronted with the issues about inheritance for these ancient families, particularly those who only had daughters and no sons. In Numbers 27, he relayed God’s thoughts on the rightful means for handling the process of passing property on to the future generations. After he did this, the Lord told Moses that once he saw the Promised Land he would die:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go up to this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the sons of Israel. When you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was; for in the wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to treat Me as holy before their eyes at the water.’ (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.) Then Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, ‘May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the LORD will not be like sheep which have no shepherd’” (Numbers 27:12-17).

At this point in the narrative, it appears that Moses was finally resigned to his impending death, and like any good shepherd, his concern was for the sheep of his fold. Interestingly, Moses did not suggest Joshua, but instead asked the Holy One to only appoint someone over the people. He was not presumptuous about whom he might have chosen, but instead was still depending on God’s voice to make the selection. In MattotMas’ei we realize that the defeat of the Midianites will trigger his death, and so Moses was rapidly explaining to Joshua and Eleazer some last minute details about how to handle the issues I previously listed.

Moses had to be very pleased with what he was witnessing in his final days of life. Even though his life was a very unique adventure from the bulrushes of the Nile to now overlooking the Jordan, he witnessed an astounding victory over the Midianites that must have been comforting, considering all of the errors that Israel committed along the way. It is recorded for us that after companies and squads were selected for the army from each of the twelve tribes, the cohesiveness of the people of Israel was finally on display:

“Moses spoke to the people, saying, ‘Arm men from among you for the war, that they may go against Midian to execute the LORD’s vengeance on Midian. A thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Israel you shall send to the war. So there were furnished from the thousands of Israel, a thousand from each tribe, twelve thousand armed for war. Moses sent them, a thousand from each tribe, to the war, and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war with them, and the holy vessels and the trumpets for the alarm in his hand” (Numbers 31:3-6).

It appears from the reading that the Israelites were finally “getting their act together.” Not only were they prepared to induce God’s vengeance upon the Midianites for the sin of Baal Peor, but the victory was blessed incredibly by Him, as not a single Israelite died in the ensuing battles:

“Then the officers who were over the thousands of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, approached Moses, and they said to Moses, ‘Your servants have taken a census of men of war who are in our charge, and no man of us is missing’” (Numbers 31:48-49).

Can you imagine how proud Moses must have been when he got this report? Not one of the soldiers sent into battle was missing. This is an incredible testimony to show that when Israel worked together in harmony, victory was achievable. When you read the account of how the Levites performed their functions via the guidance of Phinehas, and that all of the kings, including Baalam, were slain, that all of the cities were captured and burned, all of the booty was taken, and all of the people and livestock were captured (Numbers 31)—you see a vivid picture of absolute victory.

In spite of Moses’ aged condition, Moses still had the faculties to give some final details to the Israelites about how to handle the captured people and the booty. This is particularly poignant, so that the men of Israel did not fall back into temptation over possible sexual favors. Moses also wanted the people to avoid becoming unclean by contacting corpses, garments, and various vessels confiscated in the war:

“Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the congregation went out to meet them outside the camp. Moses was angry with the officers of the army, the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. And Moses said to them, ‘Have you spared all the women? Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves. And you, camp outside the camp seven days; whoever has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves, you and your captives, on the third day and on the seventh day. You shall purify for yourselves every garment and every article of leather and all the work of goats’ hair, and all articles of wood’” (Numbers 31:13-20).

At this juncture, we are reminded that Balaam had actually counseled Balak to have the Israelites bring curses upon themselves (Numbers 31:17). While Israel as a nation cannot be cursed by outsiders, it can curse itself by falling into the sin of fornication or being contaminated by the spoils of war. Moses knew his people well, and he also knew the sinful inclinations of the human heart. To the very end of his life, he warned and continually instructed the people of Israel.

As you contemplate this, this is probably the way we should all depart this Earth. For those of you who have children and grandchildren, imagine wanting to continue to give instructions to your beloved all the way to your last breath. For someone like Moses, who had such a huge spiritual responsibility, the urge, to continue correcting and fine-tuning his protégées to the very end, is what one would expect. Now that the victory over the Midianites was complete, echoing in the back of his mind had to be the comment from God about being “gathered to your people” (Numbers 27:13). Over the course of nearly forty years, Moses had witnessed the Exodus generation die off. In these remaining chapters of Numbers, he spoke out instructions that would aid the new generation, which would take inheritance of Canaan.

As you read each of the different vignettes of Mattot-Mas’ei, the final instructions from Moses were earnest attempts to communicate about issues that he knew would be addressed in the years, if not millennia, after his departure. Since Moses had the spiritual authority over such an unruly group of people, and understood the human propensity for individuals to “do their own thing,” he faithfully communicated what God wanted, so order could be present as the Israelites entered into the Promised Land.

How should these instructions from Moses affect us today, as we seek to obey God’s Torah and incorporate its principles into our lives?

We need to recognize that the problems with humanity are not that unique, as they often repeat themselves over the generations in different places and times. What we see today are patterns firmly imbedded in the human psyche. But for Believers in Yeshua today, things should be different. With those of us who have the Holy Spirit to guide us, we should be moving closer to desiring order and direction in our lives. As we grow and mature in faith, we are to become more and more like our Lord and Savior, Yeshua, every day. Today, however, far too many who claim belief in the Messiah have moved not only away from words of Moses’ Teaching, but His own teachings as well!

The question we have to ask ourselves, as we come to the close of Numbers, is whether we will be willing to study and inculcate the Torah’s instruction into our hearts and minds, so that the Ruach HaKodesh can bring them forth in an orderly manner. Are we willing to submit our wills to the will of the Holy Spirit who resides inside of us, and who desperately wants to use us to perform God’s work? Are we willing to pass our knowledge and wisdom onto the succeeding generations? Where will you be in your relationship with God when you are preparing to die? Are you committed to fully serving the Lord?

Consider the words of Paul imprisoned in Rome, as he reflected back on his life, and perhaps thought that he would die soon:

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Messiah Yeshua. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Messiah Yeshua. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us” (Philippians 3:12-17).[12]

Paul, just like Moses, had a vision for his life and understood that he was called to the service of the Holy One. Both understood order and the pattern of life that they were called to walk in order to glorify the Almighty. But what about your life? Have you discovered what God has called you to do in today’s emerging Messianic movement?

If you have not discovered what you should be doing, I would recommend that you read and listen again to the final instructions that have come down through the ages, from the many servants of God who have preceded us. Most importantly, look at the ministry example of Messiah Yeshua, and understand that you are being conformed to His likeness. You will be amazed at just how profoundly you are empowered to perform God’s tasks in the Earth when you take His Word seriously!

My friends, these final instructions are important for all of us to consider. In the coming weeks, we will be examining even more final words from Moses as we approach the end of the Torah cycle and read through Deuteronomy. Of course, in Deuteronomy we will witness Moses reiterate many of his earlier teachings—but who among us does not need to continually rehearse the truths of who we are and know who our spiritual forbearers were? We need to understand and emulate their triumphs, and likewise hopefully avoid their mistakes. If we can do these things, we will be able to have victory over the battles that we face through the power of Yeshua! 


NOTES

[1] Numbers 30:1-16.

Be sure to consult the previous teaching on this subject, offered in TorahScope, Volume I.

[2] Numbers 31:1-24.

[3] Numbers 31:25-54.

[4] Numbers 32:1-42.

[5] Numbers 33:1-49.

[6] Numbers 34:1-15.

[7] Numbers 34:16-29.

[8] Numbers 35:1-5.

[9] Numbers 35:6-15.

[10] Numbers 35:16-34.

[11] Numbers 36:1-13.

[12] Many scholars are agreed that Paul was released from the imprisonment described here, but that he eventually was arrested again. The Epistle of 2 Timothy may actually be considered Paul’s farewell address.

Weekly Torah Readings: Masei – (from One New Man Bible translated by William Morford) – Jul 21, 2017 | Numbers

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Masei

33.1. These are the journeys of the children of Israel when they went out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. 2. And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD*, and these are their journeys according to their goings out.

33:3. And they departed from Rameses in the first month on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. 4. For the Egyptians buried all the firstborn that the LORD* had smitten among them: the LORD* also executed judgments upon their gods. 5. And the children of Israel left Rameses and pitched in Sukkot. 6. Then they left Sukkot and pitched in Itam, which is in the edge of the wilderness. 7. And they left Itam and turned again to Pi Hakhirot, which isbefore Baal Zephon, and they pitched before Migdol. 8. And they left Pi Hakhirot and crossed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Itam and pitched in Marah. 9. And they left Marah and came to Elim and in Elim there were twelve fountains of water and seventy palm trees, and they pitched there. 10. Then they left Elim and camped by the Reed Sea. 11. And they left the Reed Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. 12. And they took their journey from the wilderness of Sin and camped in Dafkah. 13. And they left Dafkah and camped in Alush. 14. And they left Alush and camped at Refidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. 15. And they left Refidim and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai. 16. Then they left the desert of Sinai and pitched at Kibrot Hattaavah. 17. And they left Kibrot Hattaavah and camped at Hazerot, 18. and they left Hazerot and pitched in Ritmah. 19. And they left Ritmah and pitched at Rimmon Perez. 20. And they left Rimmon Perez and pitched in Libnah. 21. And they left Libnah and pitched at Rissah.22. And they traveled from Rissah and pitched in Keheletah. 23. Then they went from Keheletah and pitched at Mount Shefer. 24. And they left Mount Shefer and camped at Haradah. 25. And they left Haradah and pitched in Makehelot. 26.Then they left Makehelot and camped at Tahat. 27. And they departed from Tahat and pitched at Terah. 28. And they left Terah and pitched in Mitkah. 29. And they went from Mitkah and pitched in Hashmonah. 30. And they departed from Hashmonah and camped at Moserot. 31. And they left Moserot and pitched in Benai Jaakan. 32. And they traveled from Benai Jaakan and camped at Hor Hagidgad. 33. And they went from Hor Hagidgad and pitched in Jotbah. 34. And they left Jotbah and camped at Avronah. 35. And they left Avronah and camped at Ezion-geber. 36. And they left Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh. 37. And they left Kadesh and pitched at Mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom.

33:38. And Aaron the priest went up on Mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD* and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, on the first of the fifth month. 39. And Aaron was a hundred twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

33:40. And king Arad the Canaanite, who dwelled in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel. 41. And they departed from Mount Hor and camped in Zalmonah. 42. And they left Zalmonah and camped in Punon. 43. And they left Punon and pitched in Obot. 44. And they left Obot and camped in Ije Haavarim, in the border of Moab.  45. And they left Ijim and camped in Dibon Gad. 46. And they traveled from Dibon Gad and camped in Almon Diblathaim. 47. And they left Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Avarim, before Nebo. 48. And they left the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan near Jericho. 49. And they camped by the Jordan from Beit Jeshimoth to Abel Shittim in the plains of Moab.

Marching Orders

33:50. And the LORD* spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan near Jericho saying, 51. “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them,

‘When you have crossed over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52. then you will drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their wood and stone images, destroy all their molten images, and demolish all their high places. 53. And you will dispossess the inhabitants of the land and live there, for I have given you the land to possess it.54. And you will divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families. To the more numerous you will give more inheritance, and to the fewer you will give less inheritance: every man’s inheritance will be in the place where his lot falls. You will inherit according to the tribes of your fathers. 55. But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it will be that those that you let remain of them will be pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides and will trouble you in the land in which you live. 56. And it will be that I shall do to you as I thought to do to them.’” (Click to Site)

Torah Commentary – Mattot/Massei “Tribes” / “Journeys” – On The Edge of Destiny – SCRIPTURES FOR July 22, 2017

Torah Commentary
Mattot/Massei “Tribes” / “Journeys”
Numbers 30:2-36:13
Jeremiah 2:4-28, 3:4
Hebrews 1-6

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On The Edge of Destiny
We come to the end of the Book of Numbers this week. Forty years have passed since Israel stood on the bank of the Red Sea. All that stands between the Hebrews and their destiny is another river, a war with the Midyanim, a few instructions to get to the end of Numbers and a pretty long sermon by Pastor Moshe. Oh yea, and Pastor Moshe has to die.
Imagine the thoughts running through the minds of the Hebrews here. They are on the edge of their future. Yet there is one major requirement given by Yah before crossing; a battle. Destroy the Midyanim! Why not just enter the Land then deal with these wicked people? Of course the answer, I am sure has many levels of meaning. Let us examine the base level. It was the women of Midyanim who caused 24,000 Hebrew men to die in a plague. We ask, “Who sent those Midyanim women into the camp in the first place?” Sadly, it was the Midyanim men, their spiritual leaders. Men, whose responsibility is to guard and protect them, instead sent them off to insight grievous sin. This battle was a test to see if the men of Israel would step up to the standard Pinchas set for them or would they sit back and watch as the next sin tried to enter the camp.
Last week, it appears, I touched a few nerves in my written commentary. If you missed it, the archive is posted on my website. I received feedback from some men who shared that my words brought conviction in their walk. They took a good look in their own mirrors, pulled up their big boy training pants and took action on areas Holy Spirit revealed to them were out of order. The overwhelming response I received was more from women who said they were yearning and praying for men to take their place in the Biblical roles mandated in Scripture. (Click to Site)

 

Weekly Torah Readings: Balak – from One New Man Bible translated by William Morford – Jul 7, 2017 | Numbers

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Balak

22:2. And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3. And Moab was very afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. 4. And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will lick up all that are around us, like the ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5. He sent messengers therefore to Balaam the son of Beor, to Petorah that is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him saying, “Behold, a people came out from Egypt. Behold, they cover the face of the earth and they live next to me. 6. Therefore now come, I pray you, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall prevail, so we can strike them and so I can drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed and he whom you curse is cursed.”

Balaam

22:7. And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian left with the rewards of divination in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke the words of Balak to him. (Jude 11) 8. And he said to them, “Lodge here this night and I shall bring you word again, as the LORD* will speak to me.” And the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9. And God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”

10. And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me saying, 11. ‘Behold, there is a people that has come out of Egypt and it covers the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to overcome them and drive them out.’”

22:12. And God said to Balaam, “You will not go with them! You will not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

22:13. And Balaam rose up in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the LORD* refuses to give me leave to go with you.”

22:14. And the princes of Moab rose up and they went to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

22:15. And Balak sent still again princes, more, even greater than they. 16. And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray you, hinder you from coming to me, 17. for I shall promote you to very great honor and I shall do whatever you say to me. Come therefore, I pray you, curse this people for me.”

22:18. And Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD* my God, to do less or more. 19. Now therefore, I pray you, stay here this night too, so I may know what more the LORD* will say to me.”

22:20. And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise up, go with them, but yet the word which I shall say to you, that will you do.” 21. And Balaam rose up in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.

The LORD* Uses a Donkey

22:22. And God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the LORD* stood in the road to be an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him. 23. And the donkey saw the angel of the LORD* standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field, and Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. 24. But the angel of the LORD* stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side and a wall on that side.

22:25. And when the donkey saw the angel of the LORD*, it thrust itself to the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall and he struck it again. 26. And the angel of the LORD* went further and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27. And when the donkey saw the angel of the LORD*, she fell down under Balaam, and Balaam’s anger was kindled and he struck the donkey with his staff. 28. And the LORD* opened the mouth of the donkey and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have hit me these three times?” (2 Pe. 2:16)

22:29. And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have mocked me I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you.”

22:30. And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, upon which you have ridden ever since I was yours to this day? Did I ever attempt to do so to you?”

And he said, “No.” 31. Then the LORD* opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw the angel of the LORD* standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head and fell on his face. 32. And the angel of the LORD* said to him, “Why have you hit your donkey these three times? Look, I purposely came out to stop you because your way is perverse before me. 33. And the donkey saw me, and turned from me these three times: if it had not turned from me, surely now I would have slain you and saved it alive.”

22:34. And Balaam said to the angel of the LORD*, “I have sinned, for I did not know that. You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases you, I shall go back again.”

22:35. And the angel of the LORD* said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you will speak only the word that I shall speak to you.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

22:36. And when Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to a city of Moab to meet him, which is at the border of Arnon, which is at the furthest end of the border. 37. And Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send for you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not indeed able to promote you to honor?”

22:38. And Balaam said to Balak, “See, I have come to you. Now do I have any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that will I speak.” 39. And Balaam went with Balak and they came to Kiriat Huzot. 40. And Balak offered oxen and sheep and sent to Balaam and to the princes that were with him. 41. And it happened on the next day that Balak took Balaam and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that there he might see the farthest part of the people. (Click to Scripture)

Torah Commentary – Balak – Dwelling Alone – SCRIPTURES FOR July 8, 2017

Torah Commentary

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Balak
Numbers 22:2-25:9
Micah 5:6-6:8
John 13-14
Dwelling Alone
Word of the defeat of Sichon, king of Emori must have traveled to Balak quickly, even without TV and the Internet. Balak most likely saw himself next in line for defeat. Immediate action and strategic planning were needed to defeat Israel and avoid catastrophe. Their reputation for having great strength preceded them. We can read in Joshua that the exploits of Israel leaving Egypt were still being talked about. Balak needed to get the upper hand of this situation so he sought a weapon far greater than human strength. As an interesting side note, I wonder what the outcome of this Torah portion would have been if instead of trying to defeat Israel, Balak had sought to bless Israel. We will never know.
Balak’s strategy was to utilize Balaam, a priest known for his power to curse people. The curses he had spoken over armies powerfully defeated them. Balaam’s destructive words were successful numerous times. Could they bring Balak victory?
We all know well the account of Balaam and his apparent struggle to do good.  How many of us who grew up in Sunday school will ever forget the day they heard the story of the talking donkey? We were instructed in school on the sin of cursing Yah’s people. The important lesson of being sensitive to hear Yah’s guidance, before He had to use our favorite pet to give us the message was also etched in our hearts.
There is more to the story of Balaam’s greediness for us to glean. In Numbers 23:9 Balaam says, “yes, a people that will dwell alone and not think itself one of the nations.” This verse is very rich in its meaning to us today.
A number of years ago, then prime minister of Israel, Yitzchak Rabin made an infamous speech in Jerusalem. In that speech he stated that the people of Israel were only interested in being like all other nations. How do we interpret this statement? He was saying that although the State of Israel was founded by a miracle of Elohim Himself and they were called by Elohim to live by His commandments, they just wanted to look like, act like and be like all the other nations of the world. They did not want to be different; they did not desire to dwell alone as a nation clearly devoted to the One who had brought them out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Although Yitzchak Rabin was a citizen of the State of Israel, his words in that speech, before his assassination, proved he had not learned what it was to be part of the Nation of Israel, a nation called to be unique from others, even if it meant living alone. (Click to Article)

 

Balak – Destroyer – “Self-Inflicted Curses” – 2 July, 2017

“Self-Inflicted Curses”

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by Mark Huey
mark@outreachisrael.net

This week’s Torah portion, Balak, chronologically finds the Ancient Israelites further down the trail on their arduous and circuitous march to Canaan, the Promised Land, but without the able counsel of Aaron to co-administer with the aging Moses. Following the death of Aaron (Numbers 20:24-29), the indigenous populations of the desert areas begin an incessant military attack on the migrating Israelites. A brief engagement with the Canaanites is described in Numbers 21, as Israel must turn to the Holy One for guidance and deliverance to secure victory.

Israel’s journeys take a turn to avoid the conflict with the Edomites, who earlier had refused passage through their territory (Numbers 20:18-21). At this point, the complaints of Israel once again centered around their perceived lack of bread and water (Numbers 21:5). To chastise the Israelite grumblers, God sent snakes into the camp with a deadly venomous bite (Numbers 21:6). This judgment created an opportunity for Israel to gaze, by faith, upon the brazen serpent fashioned by Moses in order to receive physical healing (Numbers 21:7-9). The lifting up of the bronze serpent in the wilderness, is intended to parallel the lifting up of Yeshua the Messiah on the cross:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Rather than elaborate on the significance of this to our faith, I would like to instead focus on how the Torah goes on to record the continuing sojourn of the Israelite survivors in the wilderness. The journey continues as a series of encampments are detailed from Oboth to Moab to Zared, to beyond the Aram at the border between the Moabites and the Amorites (Numbers 21:10-14). Apparently, more specific details of these different encampments and the conflicts that ensued were contained in another text called “the Book of the Wars of the LORD” (Numbers 21:14), that today is no longer extant.[1] Some additional locations are cited as the sojourn proceeds “from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the land of Moab, at the top of Pisgah which overlooks the wasteland” (Numbers 21:19-20).

Many Bible scholars have attempted to trace the exact locations of these wanderings, and Biblical archaeologists are often very interested as to where they might have been located in the Ancient Near East. Time does not permit us the luxury of researching these specific places, but most assuredly, we know that God gave His people more instruction and admonition at each stop. (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary – Chukat “Statute” – Give or It Shall Be Taken From You – SCRIPTURES FOR July 1, 2017

The Hebrews have been in the wilderness for 38 years. There are still trials to go through and people who must die before they can move on. Let us not miss the personal nature and just read over the deaths of Moshe’s brother and sister. Their deaths will bring many changes in the camp.  

Torah Commentary

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Chukat “Statute”
Numbers 19:1-22:1
Judges 11:1-33
John 11-12
Give or It Shall Be Taken From You
A common thread we have seen the past few weeks with grumbling, murmuring and complaining continues this week. I pray we have learned the importance of having an “attitude of gratitude” to help us overcome these unwelcome sins. Sadly, in this portion Israel’s grumbling not only affected them, but their leader. Their sin permeated the camp. Moshe had enough of the people and entered into their spirit of frustration. This mistake cost him a price higher than he desired to pay. Because he disobeyed a direct command from Yah by striking the rock the second time, instead of speaking to it, he was judged. His consequence was painful; the inability to enter the Promise Land with Israel. Although he would not enter the Land, he still had the job of taking the people to their destination.
There was an obstacle in the way between Israel’s current location and the Land they were to enter – the land controlled by Sichon, king of the Emori. Moshe sent word to Sichon explaining he wanted to lead Israel through the land Sichon occupied. After all, they have been in the desert for a long time and a shortcut is a shortcut. Moshe made sure Sichon understood he did not desire to take the land, eat from its fields and vineyards or even drink the water of the land. Israel did not need any of those things. They had the land HaShem promised them, they had all the manna a person could ever want; manna burgers, manna pancakes, manna upside down cake. (You know the rest.) Moshe had one interest the shortcut through the land of the Emori.
It seems Sichon was never told about the wonders of giving to Yah or Genesis 12:3. I am sure if he understood who these people were and Whom they served and that by giving Israel access to the King’s Highway, he would have been blessed beyond measure, Sichon’s decision would have been different. Instead of giving to Yah, self service thinking provoked him to take from Yah. In this case he greedily desired to take the lives and possessions of HaShem’s people. What he failed to recognize was the Creator of the universe owned the people and their possessions. We read as expected Sichon was defeated. Not only defeated, but what he controlled was taken from him and given to Israel as a temporary dwelling place until they moved on to their inheritance. Don’t mess with what belongs to HaShem!
What can we learn from the account of Sichon, king of the Emori? Here are a few suggestions.  (Click to Article)

 

Torah Commentary – Korach (Korah) – The Stand Which Proved The Man – SCRIPTURES FOR Jun 24, 2017

Torah Commentary
 

Korach (Korah)

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Numbers 16:1-18:32
1Samuel 11:14-12:22
2Timothy 2:8-21
Jude 1-25
The Stand Which Proved The Man
We come to the infamous account of Korach this week. You have to admit that with all that has happened in the camp since Israel left Egypt, events which clearly showed Moshe as the leader, this was a pretty gutsy move made by Korach. Well, maybe gutsy is not the right word to use here. How about just plain dumb?
Imagine the looks on the faces of those who stood in rebellion as the ground under their feet began to shake. Maybe a gentle rumble preceded the earth splitting in two before swallowing the mass group of “position seekers”. This is an incredible display from Yah confirming His seal of leadership on Moshe…As most of you know, I love the quote by John Wayne, “It’s hard to stop stupid!” I wonder if Mr. Wayne might have come up with that quote after reading this week’s Torah portion. Probably not, but it sure fits.
In Chapter 17 we read that it was the very next day after the Korach incident when stupid re-entered the camp. Consider the scene. The ground may have still been separated in the very spot where Korach and his bands had once stood. Even with the evidence of judgment still smoking in front of them, the people rebelled with complaints against Moshe.
What is the theme we are seeing? We find it by reviewing the previous portion where Miriam and Aharon spoke against Moshe . Rebellion is at the heart of their actions. Pride goes before a fall. We see rebellion against Moshe, the Torah and Yah’s direction for them.
In our walk, we must begin to look at Torah, Yeshua and walking in His principles as a package. It is all or nothing, not multiple choice. Most of us are accustomed to going to a restaurant and ordering from a menu. We find the combination which is close to our desires. If one item isn’t appetizing we ask the server if we can make a few changes like substituting onion rings for the fries. Is this our mindset regarding Kingdom living? In their day it was “Hold the manna, we will take a large order of quail!” What are we trying to substitute? (Click to Article)

 

Korach – Korah – “Budding Leadership Patterns”

Korach

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Korah

Numbers 16:1-18:32
1 Samuel 11:14-12:22

“Budding Leadership Patterns”

by Mark Huey
mark@outreachisrael.net

One of the most dependable features of our Creator is that He is a God of order and consistency, who can be relied upon to perform His Word without fail. Lamentably, most of fallen humanity disregards this fact. But even more tragic is the sad testimony that many who claim a relationship with Him are not always aware of His immutable nature. Thankfully, the Almighty is cognizant that humans have a fallen nature and various limitations. He has made provisions within His sovereign rule, to guarantee that His Word is performed:

“For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. Bless the LORD, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will. Bless the LORD, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; bless the LORD, O my soul!” (Psalm 103:14-22).

Did you notice how the Psalmist reminds us that the key, to receiving God’s blessings and lovingkindness, is having a healthy fear of Him? A good part of such fear is trembling at the Word of the Lord, and understanding that once God has declared something, He is obligated to follow through because of His righteousness to complete it. Once a person is able to incorporate this reality into his or her heart, and respond in obedience to His will, the perplexities of life should hopefully become more manageable. By submitting and surrendering to what He has lovingly revealed in the Holy Scriptures, faithful Believers have the privilege of exercising their trust in the Lord, by taking action and completing the good works that they were created to perform. The Apostle Paul summarizes it very nicely:

“For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

This week’s Torah portion, Korach, details the tragic consequences of a group of Ancient Israelites who did not take the decree of the Lord seriously. The infamous Korah is the instigator of a rebellion against the chosen leadership of the fledgling nation of Israel, as the people painstakingly make their way from the bondage of Egypt to a Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. By the time of this incident, many other examples of disobedience have already occurred. The cry for lack of meat is dealt with by God sending an abundance of quail, only to be accompanied by a severe plague which takes the lives of many doubters (Numbers 12:31-35). The incredible challenge of Miriam and Aaron, to Moses’ leadership, is shown to be a visible reminder that even the closest relatives should not question the anointing of God’s chosen (Numbers 12). Next, the ten unbelieving spies inject their doubting poison into the camp (Numbers 13). The attempt to return to the favor of the Lord is unsuccessful, as He uses the Amalekites and Canaanites to execute His judgment on the remorseful doubters (Numbers 14:41-45). Finally, the vivid example of one individual gathering wood on the Sabbath is handled in a dramatic fashion, as the congregation of Israel is required to stone him in order to learn the lessons of defiant disobedience (Numbers 15:29-36).

These recorded events establish a backdrop for the ultimate challenge to Moses’ anointed leadership by Korah and his associates, distant cousins of Levi and Reuben. Korah was not satisfied with the Divine privilege he had received to minister before God in the Tabernacle (Numbers 16:8-10), and perhaps Dathan and Abiram were wondering why they too had not received recognition for being the descendants of the firstborn son of Jacob. Whatever their motivations were, the consequences of their actions against God’s chosen are a reminder to us today that these fleshly-inspired, or perhaps even demonic rebellions, are not only going to happen—but should be expected and anticipated by those who have been called into leadership positions in the Body of Messiah.

Whether it is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life (1 John 2:16) motivating rebellion, the fact remains from Biblical and historical accounts, that rebellion is present in the hearts of people. Having the knowledge of good and evil embedded in hearts of stone, the natural inclination is often to become a god unto oneself. In so doing, men and women will find themselves susceptible to the wiles of the Devil, and as the Prophet Samuel stated several centuries later to King Saul, the insidious poison of divination germinates seeds of rebellion in the human heart:

“Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).

Korah and his ilk were no different than the many more, who down through the ages have taken the Word of the Lord lightly—or worse—viewed it with disdain and total rejection. Consider the character analysis that is portrayed in this week’s reading. Is it the character of Korah that is revealing—or the reaction of Moses to the challenge to his role—which inspires you? Consider the fact that we are given a great example of how leaders should react when various Korahs, Miriams, or even unruly mobs attack one’s God-ordained position and responsibility:

“When Moses heard this, he fell on his face” (Numbers 16:4).

Where else can a man or woman of God find solace and direction from an omnipotent Creator, who allows insurrections to occur? For those who can identify with Moses, on whatever level, his example should be taken to serious heart. Crying out to our Maker for His solution to the problems of life is our only choice when we are put in dire straights! When we do this, then in His mercy God should give us the guidance we need to handle whatever the challenge might be.

The solution for Korah’s rebellion was a graphic one. The Lord miraculously swallowed up Korah’s family into Sheol (Numbers 16:30-34), and fire burned the other dissatisfied rebels (Numbers 16:35). Additionally, a plague is sent into the camp, killing many other Israelites, who might have identified with the inclinations of the insurgents (Numbers 16:41-50). Ultimately, the Lord decided to show the sign of the budding rod to the people who had rebelled, or at least questioned, the leadership of Moses and Aaron (Numbers 17:1-13). This budding rod, a tangible reminder of His authority being placed upon these specific Levites, not only convinced the doubting masses, but eventually received the honor of being placed next to the Ark of the Covenant:

“Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail” (Hebrews 9:3-5).

This placement of the rod signified not only the special leadership role of Aaron and his Levitical descendants, but also their proximity and closeness to the tangible relics of God’s interaction with Israel as the chosen nation to be a light to the world (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6). As Believers in Messiah Yeshua, we have each been anointed by God and have been given a great calling to share Him with all we encounter. We not only have a great responsibility to learn His Word, but let the Word have its way in our lives.

A great example of someone who understood the call of serving God is the Prophet Samuel, the last judge of Ancient Israel. He was chosen to anoint the first king of Israel, in spite of his disappointment about the people rejecting the Lord as their Sovereign King:

“But you have today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses; yet you have said, ‘No, but set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your clans” (1 Samuel 10:19).

When it came time to submit to the permitted will of the people as directed by God, Samuel returned to the pattern that had been first established by Joshua when the twelve tribes first came into the Promised Land:

“Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.’ So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly” (1 Samuel 11:14-15).

You should remember that it was at Gilgal that Joshua and the twelve tribes made a significant covenant with the Lord, as they faithfully circumcised the men of Israel, despite the immediate danger of enemy attack from the existing nations occupying the land of Canaan:

“Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho. Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. He said to the sons of Israel, ‘When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, “What are these stones?” then you shall inform your children, saying, “Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.” For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”’ Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel. At that time the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Make for yourself flint knives and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.’ So Joshua made himself flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt. For all the people who came out were circumcised, but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised. For the sons of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, that is, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished because they did not listen to the voice of the LORD, to whom the LORD had sworn that He would not let them see the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Joshua 4:9-5:6).

The Lord allowed the Israelites to enter into a faithful covenant as they painfully circumcised themselves upon entering the Promised Land. Samuel knew the significance of what occurred at Gilgal, and that through the other reported signs, which included the crossing of the Red Sea and the Jordan River on dry land, that the nations at large would take notice. By returning to Gilgal to anoint and install King Saul, another significant sign was being made to not only the Ancient Israelites, but to all in the vicinity who rejected the Sovereign Creator God. By making the connection, Samuel exercised great wisdom as he knew that the patterns of the Lord were consistent and true:

“Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.’ So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly” (1 Samuel 11:14-15).

Samuel exercised extremely good leadership as he was led to return to the patterns of his predecessors Joshua and Moses. Samuel was old and gray (1 Samuel 12:2), knowing that his days were numbered, and he like Moses was not a man who was beholden to any other except God. In his final recorded soliloquy, Samuel exhorted the people to return once again to the Instruction of God, as he knew that only in obedience to God would they find the joy and peace that they desired. It was not in an Earthly king that mimicked the ways of the other nations that the Israelites would find peace and security. Because Samuel was charged with executing the will of the Lord, he relented and shared these profound words of encouragement:

“Then Samuel said to the people, ‘It is the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. So now, take your stand, that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous acts of the LORD which He did for you and your fathers. When Jacob went into Egypt and your fathers cried out to the LORD, then the LORD sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. But they forgot the LORD their God, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. They cried out to the LORD and said, “We have sinned because we have forsaken the LORD and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.” Then the LORD sent Jerubbaal and Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security. When you saw that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon came against you, you said to me, “No, but a king shall reign over us,” although the LORD your God was your king. Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the LORD has set a king over you. If you will fear the LORD and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the LORD, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God. If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers. Even now, take your stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes. Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call to the LORD, that He may send thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the LORD by asking for yourselves a king.’ So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. Then all the people said to Samuel, ‘Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, so that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king.’ Samuel said to the people, ‘Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away” (1 Samuel 12:6-25).

Can you sense the passion in Samuel’s pleas? As he recalled the relatively brief history of Israel and noted the continuing pattern of disobedience, he reminded the people of the requirement to fear the Lord. It is only through a reverent fear of God and His Word that any of us have an inkling of a chance of survival, in any generation from Adam to the present. Of course, the Holy One has always shown signs to not only His people, but to the whole world, so that all will know that He is sovereign. Whether it is drying up seas or rivers, or sending rain at the appropriate times, He is in the habit of confirming with visible signs that are evident, and endorsing His chosen leaders with readily identifiable markers.

But brothers and sisters be warned! The enemy of our souls is also in the business of mimicking various signs and wonders, as an attempt to thwart the Divine will of God. We are warned incessantly about the false signs and wonders that have come, are coming, and will come in the Last Days to test not only Believers, but lead many astray into judgment. Even Yeshua Himself warns us of those coming, who are going to lead many into apostasy and despair:

“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24, NRSV).

The Apostle Paul further elaborates on this in his communication with the Believers at Thessalonica:

“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

Here is an amplification that should surely generate the fear of the Lord in anyone who truly believes that He says what He means. Notice that the reason why people are deceived, is because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. This is critical because without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit operating through a circumcised heart of flesh, those who have simply decided to lead a moral life are not able to discern the difference between a true sign from God and a deceiving sign from the Devil. The key is to be born from above, so that a healthy fear of the Lord is what motivates a person to seek Him with all of the heart, mind, soul and strength.

Perhaps the most sobering thing we see here is that the “strong delusion” (KJV/RSV) or “powerful delusion” (NIV) comes from God Himself. He will be the One who sends it upon the whole world. It will be the ultimate test as to whether someone truly believes upon the Lord Yeshua the Messiah, or not.

If you have a propensity to operate in the spirit of Korah, Miriam, the ten spies, or if you simply want to gather some sticks, or just generally do your own thing—are you in a rather uncertain place in your walk with God? For a season, you might get away with disobedience and obstinance, because our Heavenly Father is longsuffering and full of a compassion that no human has the capacity to demonstrate. But eventually, because His Word requires it, He is going to have to execute some form of judgment, or at least penalties. When this happens, where will you stand? I would note for you that you need not wait for the final judgment of humanity to wait for your personal judgment.

I pray this week that you will be seeking God with all of your heart, falling on your face when desperate circumstances arise, and crying out to Him for understanding. I hope that you will learn to embrace the fear of the Lord with every ounce of your being.

Our Heavenly Father is raising up Messianic leaders who have some important work to do in the days ahead. Will they follow the examples found in the Torah, and indeed all of Scripture? Will we have men and women who truly follow God and serve the community of faith? Will we have those who show mercy like the benevolent Creator we serve? Truly, my friends, we have much to consider from this week’s Torah portion.

Torah Commentary – Sh’lach L’cha (Send on your behalf) – SCRIPTURES FOR Jun 17, 2017

Torah Commentary
Sh’lach L’cha (Send on your behalf)
Numbers 13:1-15:41
Joshua 2:1-24
Hebrews 3:7-19

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The Tourists Connection
If a list were made of the top ten stories the Hebrews are known for during their sojourn in the wilderness, the account of the twelve spies would certainly be found. Many fingers have been pointed at the faithless reports given by the ten spies. Is there a deeper level of understanding regarding the reason behind the difference in the statements shared by the ten versus the two? Could we find another lesson from their experience that can give instruction to us today? Let’s see.
The Hebrew word translated as spies is “tuwr.” It is interesting that the word sounds like our English word “tour”, though it is not the actual root of the word. We can use the comparison to draw a lesson. We can look at these men, not as it describes as “in the Land”, but rather as tourists? At the time, they were travelers, not dwellers. Consider, after all, when they returned to camp they brought back souvenirs of fruit of the land to show off. The fruitful bounty could have been inspiration to take the Land as Yah directed. Yet, it is not what they brought back on their shoulders which truly mattered, instead, it was what was in their hearts.
It is hard to envision the immense feast of produce these men saw or the terror of the massive size of its inhabitants during their “tour.” A few years back a section of the wall of Hevron was found that dates back to the time of Scripture. On one of my trips in Israel I was able to visit that section of unearthed wall. I remember just staring at it. I have always had a connection to Joshua. The haftorah readings for the Torah portion related to my birthday are verses in the first section of Joshua. That day at the wall I just stood and stared as I considered that ancient stone and pondered whether it may have been a spot Joshua had fixed his own eyes upon.
All twelve of the men saw the same sites, ate the same food and walked the same soil, so why the different accounts given upon their return? Most would say it was based on their level of faith which to some measure, I agree with. Going back to our original question whether we have another lesson from the spies experience, let us consider this point of view. I believe we can also reflect on the word “connect”. Joshua and Caleb connected with the Land. They were able to see past the giants inhabiting the area, even the bountiful harvest. It was their King’s Land. He was calling them to possess His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Their heart connection to Yah instilled a deep passionate connection for His Land, their inheritance. It appears the other ten did not make this connection.
My friend and brother Hanoch Young says it best, if you connect with the Land, the Land will connect with you. For Joshua and Caleb, the Land became a part of their very hearts. Sadly it seems for the others it was just another random handful of dirt.
As with Joshua and Caleb, you and I will fight for our heart’s desires and what and who we are connected to. That connection will manifest itself in actions which may in the end be termed faith, but faith begins with the relationship established in our heart.
What did Joshua and Caleb connect to? The answer is found in Deuteronomy 11:12 which reveals to us that the eyes of Yah are continually on that Land. Eyes do not lead your heart, they follow your heart. What your eyes gaze upon is an outward manifestation of where your heart is.
The eyes and hearts of Joshua and Caleb connected with the eyes and heart of the Father Himself. This is why they were allowed to enter the Land and would later give their very lives to possess it. (Click to Article)