Thought for the week

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‘Parsha Shelach’ - G-d’s Report; Believe It

 

Numbers 13:32-33: “And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”” 

 

The ‘parsha’ (‘Torah’ portion) this week, ‘Parsha Shelach’ (send), found in Numbers 13:1 – 15:41, is the 37th weekly ‘Torah’ portion in the annual Jewish cycle of ‘Torah’ reading. The corresponding ‘haftorah’ (reading of the prophets) is found in Joshua 2:1-24.

 

The opening verse of ‘Parsha Shelach’ declares: “Send you men…” as G-d commanded Moses to send twelve men to spy out the land of Canaan.

 

Moses selected twelve men, one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, including Caleb, the son of Jephunneh and Hosea (“Hoshea”) the son of Nun. Before he went, Moses added the letter ‘yud’ to Hoshea’s name, renaming him “Joshua” (“Y’hoshua” - G-d shall save).

Moses sent these twelve men to spy out the Land of Canaan, and forty days later they returned to report on a lush and bountiful land. However, ten of the spies warned that the inhabitants of the land were giants and warriors who they saw as more powerful than they were; and only Joshua and Caleb insisted that the land could be conquered, as G d had commanded.

 

The Children of Israel wept saying that they would rather return to Egypt, so G-d decreed that Israel’s entry into the Land would be delayed for forty years, during which time that entire generation would die out in the desert.

A group of remorseful Jews stormed the mountain on the border of Canaan; however, they were routed by the Amalekites and Canaanites.

 

In ‘Parsha Shelach’, the laws of the ‘menachot’ (meal, wine and oil offerings) are given, as well as the ‘mitzvah’ (command) to consecrate a portion of the ‘challah’ (dough) to G d when making bread.

We also see in this ‘parsha’ that a certain man violated the ‘Shabbat’ by gathering sticks and was put to death.

 

Finally we see that G d instructed the Israelites to place ‘tzitzit’ (fringes) on the four corners of their garments, so that they would remember to fulfil the ‘mitzvot’ (commandments).

 

The corresponding ‘haftorah’, found in Joshua 2:1-24, tells the story of the two spies that Joshua sent to scout the city of Jericho prior to the Israelites' invasion of the Holy Land, paralleling the twelve spies that were sent by Moses years earlier to explore the Holy Land. The two spies lodged at an inn located in the city's walls, operated by a woman named Rahab.

Their presence was quickly discovered by the king who sent for Rahab and asked her to turn in her guests. However, Rahab responded that her guests had already left the city, when actually she had hidden them on her rooftop.

 

In Joshua 2:9-13, we read that Rahab asked the two spies to show kindness to her father's house, and to spare her family because she showed them kindness. At Rahab's request, the two spies assured her that she and her family would not be harmed during the conquering of Jericho, provided that she would tie a scarlet thread and hang it from her window. 

Rahab then helped the men escape via a rope she lowered from her window and told them how to hide from possible pursuers and the spies escaped safely and returned to report to Joshua. 

 

When Moses sent the twelve spies into the Land of Canaan, ten spies gave a bad report – showing their unbelief in G-d and His ability to follow through on what He had promised them. Only Joshua and Caleb gave a good report – believing in G-d’s promise to give Israel the Land of Canaan. 

 

Not only are most people very well acquainted with previous American President Donald Trump’s now well-known phrase, ‘fake news’, this term is now used widely by news broadcasters. Well, besides ‘fake news’, there is also a ‘fake report’ – the lies of Satan.

From the beginning of creation, mankind has chosen to believe Satan’s fake report. We see the first example of this in Genesis 3 when G-d tells Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they die. Satan then planted doubt in them when he said to Eve: “you will not surely die”. Sadly, she and Adam believed him leading to the falling of mankind into sin.

 

The children of Israel also believed Satan’s fake report when the ten spies caused the people to doubt, convincing them that there were giants in the land and that they would not be able to overcome them. Only Joshua and Caleb believed G-d’s report.

Not only did the Israelites doubt the covenant G-d made with Abram and his descendants, they also doubted the promise of G-d given to them in Leviticus 20:24: “But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey’”. 

Despite seeing G-d’s miracles on more than one occasion - the ten plagues; the parting of the Red Sea; the destruction of the Egyptian army; the miraculous provision of Manna and Quails; the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, they believed the report given by the ten spies rather than believing Joshua and Caleb.

They then rejected Moses and Aaron, thus also rejecting Almighty G-d.

 

Because the Children of Israel doubted Him, G-d decreed that they would wander in the desert for forty years until that entire generation would die out, and because of their doubting, an entire generation was unable to receive their promised inheritance – except for Joshua and Caleb who believed G-d’s report and received their inheritance.

 

The L-rd makes it very clear in James 1:5-8 how He feels about doubters: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

We see the manifestation of this in the ‘parsha’ as not one of those who doubted G-d received their inheritance. Only Joshua and Caleb received their inheritance and entered the Promised Land.

 

The same goes for us today. If we doubt G-d, we too may go around in fear and not receive our inheritance and the peace of G-d promised to us in Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

Often when facing a crisis situation, we tend to believe Satan’s report instead of believing G-d’s report; we react in fear rather than respond in faith.

 

We all face battles at one time or another; however, if you trust in G-d and believe His report, He will fight your battles. We already have all the necessary equipment for battle: We have the armour of G-d; we have His word, the Bible; we can pray; He has given us faith – Matthew 17:20: “So Jesus said to them, “assuredly I say to you, If you have faith as a (grain of a) mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

We also have the most important weapon of all - the name of Yeshua. 

 

So, my question to you is: whose report will you believe? Will you believe the truth of G-d and His Word, or will you believe the lies of Satan.

 

Let’s look at the state of the world right now: War between Israel and the Arabs living in Gaza and a very shaky cease-fire; rioting throughout the world, the war in Ukraine, an abnormal amount of gun-related shootings and deaths in America, and the threat of Russia and Putin.

Even in Israel, random terrorist attacks of shooting and stabbings took many Israeli lives over the period of Ramadan. Also, the threat of Iran looms over Israel as well as 200,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel. And, of course, there is the general chaos in the world. 

 

So, will you believe the news reports or will you believe G-d when he says in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Regarding Israel, will you believe the news reports or will you believe G-d when He says in 1 Samuel 12:22: “For the LORD will not forsake His people (Israel), for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make (Israel) His people.” 

Regarding your own circumstances, will you focus on your difficult situation or will you look to the L-rd? In fact, when Satan tells you that you are wasting your time trusting G-d and His Word, you tell him: “Satan, I don’t believe your report because you are a liar; I only believe G-d’s report”.

 

When the L-rd instructed my late beloved wife of blessed memory and I to begin a ministry for him, we knew that we would be unable to effectively run a ministry for G-d. However, we believed G-d’s report that He would lead and guide us in the running of His ministry. And Emet ministries began sixteen years ago with thirteen people praying together. 

Today, Emet Ministries is not only known in South Africa, but it is known globally and we have ministered in many places around the world. Isit and I believed G-d’s report, and He has been faithful to His report.

 

My beloved wife, Isit, suddenly went to be with the L-rd 407 days ago as I write this. We had the most amazing marriage and she was far more than just my wife. She was my soulmate, my best friend, my confidant, my ministry partner, and my prayer partner. We were together for 38 years and for the last approximately 20 years of our marriage we never had one day apart from each other except for a few days when she was in hospital. We did everything together and now I am without her as she is now in the arms of our loving G-d, the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. 

So do I believe Satan’s report that my life is effectively over and I will never see her again, or do I believe G-d’s report which says: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.18 So encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - New Living Translation).

Of course I believe G-d’s report that the day will come when I will be reunited with my beloved Isit and our two daughters who are also with the L-rd in heaven.

 

There is one more report that I would like to mention; I call it ‘The Salvation Report’. This report tells us that through one Man, the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, G-d has granted mankind the forgiveness of sin and eternal life in heaven.

G-d, because of His love and compassion for you; because He wants to have an intimate, personal relationship with you; because He wants you to have eternal life and not eternal death has, through His Son Yeshua, been faithful to forgive your sins through the work of the cross. He is also faithful to grant you eternal life in heaven through the death and resurrection of Yeshua. 

In fact, eternal life in heaven can only come through Yeshua…and this is for both Jews and gentiles.

 

Why do I say this? Because scripture declares in Leviticus 17:11 that the only way to the forgiveness of sin and eternal life in heaven is through the sacrificial system and the shedding of blood - “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

However, there is no temple; therefore there is no sacrificial system. If there is no sacrificial system then there is no shedding of blood; how, then, can you make atonement for your soul?

Scripture records that Yeshua became the perfect sacrifice when He died on the cross, shedding every last drop of His Blood, thus taking our sins upon Himself, guaranteeing all who believe in His death and resurrection and who invite Him to become L-rd of their lives, eternal life in heaven. 

 

I conclude with this: Regarding your eternal future, whose report will you believe? Will you believe Satan’s lie that you do not need Yeshua and G-d’s gift of salvation, or will you believe G-d’s report and the wonderful message of hope – the ‘salvation report’.

Reject the lies of Satan and receive Yeshua as your L-rd and Saviour by praying the prayer of salvation found at the end of this article, thus guaranteeing that your sins will be forgiven you and that your eternal future, everlasting life in heaven in the presence of Almighty G-d, will be secure.

 

So, whose report will you believe?

 

We love you. 

 

Shalom.

 

Scripture of the week: Numbers 14:6-9: “But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.””

 

 

SALVATION PRAYER

 

Thank you Yeshua for Your love for me.

Thank you for giving up Your life on the cross for me and for taking my sins upon Yourself.

I confess that I have sinned.

I repent of my sins and I turn from everything I know to be wrong.

I invite You to come into my life as my Messiah, my Saviour.

By Your grace I will serve You all the remaining years of my life.