Sh’lach L’cha – “Send Out”

Shabbat Shalom. This week’s Parasha is Sh’Lach L’cha meaning “Send Out” and covers Number 13:1 – 15:41.

We begin with the Lord telling Moses to send out twelve men into Canaan. Moses instructed them to see if the Canaanites were strong or weak, how many lived there, and to see how good the land was. He also instructed them to bring back a sample of the fruit in the land of Israel.

After a time, the spies returned from the land, and they went in front of all the people to give their report. Their report is recorded in Number 13:27-28. “We came into the land where you sent us, and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large.”  They described the Canaanites as giants and the descendants of fallen angels. This caused our people to start to worry and grumble amongst themselves. However, one of the leaders who went into the Promised Land was Caleb, and he had a very different opinion.

Caleb stated that our people should go up and take the land and we would be victorious. But most of the spies still claimed it was impossible. That the land was full of giants and that everyone would die if it was attempted.

Chapter 14 records our people’s response to these two reports. They were swayed by the majority and after hearing the other spies report raised their voices, cried out, and wept. They began to say they would have been better off dead in Egypt. As well as discussing appointing a new leader and getting rid of Moses.

With the people on the verge of rebellion, Moses and Aaron then fell on their faces in front of all the assembly. Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes in mourning and told our people that the land was good and that the Lord will give it to us. They told our people to not rebel against God and those He has chosen to lead. However, our people began to pick up stones ready to throw them. Suddenly, the glory of the Lord appeared in the tent of meeting in front of everyone. The Lord was now ready to intervene and give His judgment.

The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “How long will this people be disrespectful to Me?” And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs that I have performed in their midst? I will strike them with plague and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.” Moses then pleads with God to show mercy once again to our people. The Lord spares our people but there is still a punishment for those that turned against the Lord.

The whole generation besides Caleb and Joshua will not be able to go into the promised land and will perish in the wilderness. Hearing this judgment, the people try to take the land anyways. Moses tells them that God is not with them and that they will not succeed. Our people once again did not follow the Lord, and many were killed in the battle.

In chapter 15 the Lord gives our people commandments to follow when we go into the Promised Land. He also gives instructions for people who want to make an offering yet are not a part of the tribe of Israel.

In our parasha we have the Lord sending out twelve men to do His will. This sending of twelve to do His work would happen again when the Lord came to Earth as Messiah Yeshua. We read in Luke 9:1-2, “And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”

We see that the Lord sent His twelve disciples throughout the land of Israel but this time to do more than scout. They were sent to preach the Gospel so that everyone would be saved. This time everyone the Lord sent out followed His will, not just a minority. We know the rest of the story, many Jewish people were saved and not destroyed.

This “sending out” of the Lord’s servants is a theme repeated throughout Scripture. Those who have become His disciples have also been given this command, which we read in Matthew 28:18-20. “And Yeshua came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Now, which story are we most like? The spies in Numbers or the Disciples in Matthew? If we are honest with ourselves, we are like the ten men who gave up and said the people are too strong. We do not trust that God will be with us. We feel overwhelmed, alone, and feel the odds are just impossible. We let the fear of man, what others will think of us, control our lives. How often do we let opportunities to experience the goodness of God pass us by because of our fear and doubt?

But Yeshua gave us His Holy Spirit. Who is with us always! My prayer is that we take Yeshua’s command to heart and not be afraid of the giants and strongholds around us. That we could trust, if God gave us a task to do, He would equip us with everything we need. We do not need to be afraid! That what matters most in this world is Yeshua and how He views you. He is with us in those moments, for He is always with us. Thank you.