This parashah tells us of the spies that went into the land and returned after 40 days with a report that disheartened and demoralized the entire camp of the Hebrews.
What really happened was that God provided everything He said He would, brought us to the land He promised our fathers, and showed us it’s wonderful riches.
And we said , “No thanks- we can’t do this.”
After all God showed us, all the miracles, all the battles we had won up to this point against strong enemies, all the wonders He had performed- fire at night, cloud by day, Miriam turning into a leper and recovering, the plagues, the Red Sea splitting, water for millions in the desert, manna from heaven, and on and on and on. After all that, they still only saw what God told them He would do coming as a result of their own strength and their own ability.
Jeez! How stupid can you get?
On the other hand, here is a generation that was raised in slavery, without any self-respect, without any self-confidence or self-governing training. They were, as a result of how they lived and were raised, truly unfit for self-rule. That isn’t a slap in the face, it is a statement of fact. However, for God, that didn’t matter. He proved to them that He was all they needed to be protected and cared for, and after all He did they still weren’t able to trust in Him. They can’t blame their upbringing for that.
He was ready to destroy the entire camp, but with Moses’ intervention, only the 10 spies that spread the bad reports died immediately, the rest died in the desert while wandering for 38 more years.
The parashah ends with God reviewing the regulations for sacrifice, which will happen when they are in the land. This seems out of place, but it is a confirmation that, although God will not allow them to enter the land now, He will bring them in, eventually.
This is a powerful lesson for us- the lesson being that God is always the power behind the action. When we walk with God He will provide and protect, and when we walk on our own we can’t do much at all.
It also shows us that once we have been judged, we are judged. God determined that He would not allow this generation into the land, and when they tried to attack the Canaanites (just another rebellion against God’s commands) they were severely beaten.
How many times do we still “kick against the goads” when we are trying to do something? When the people were given the chance to enter the land, they refused; yes, they were scared and they were feeling helpless in the light of what seemed to be overwhelming odds, but isn’t that the difference between the faithful and the faithless? If Arnold Schwarzenegger beat me up, so what? That would be expected. But if I kicked his Mr. Olympia butt into next week, that has to be the work of a supernatural power! That is what faith can do- help you overcome overwhelming odds.
David beating Goliath, Gideon overcoming an army, Samson killing a lion; these biblical events have one thing in common- God was the real power behind the action. The things these people did was not from the ability of humans, but from the power of God.
We need, even today- no! especially today- to rely on God in everything we do. In today’s world we aren’t attacked just physically but digitally, too. We are having our very identities stolen and we don’t even know it. Financial ruin today is as terrible as a drought or a famine was in biblical days. We face the End Times, which are lurking right around the corner. We are seeing prophecy become fact, hurricanes and Tsunamis, murder, religious genocide, and where is God?
Right where He always has been- in the wings, waiting for us to call on Him to come out to center stage.
The generation that died in the desert deserved that, although it really wasn’t all their fault- they were the result of their upbringing. Yet, Joshua and Caleb were also the result of their upbringing and they didn’t falter or go along with the bad reports. Consequently, they were allowed to go into the land. They had to wait, from no fault of their own, but they made it. And God kept them strong enough to not only conquer their land, but live long enough to enjoy their victory. God is no respecter of persons, and when someone has done evil in His eyes, whether or not it was by their own choice or a result of what they had been taught, they are accountable.
That is another lesson for us today, which is something you will hear me saying over and over- it doesn’t matter what you are told by people, what matters is what God tells you. Don’t you think there were people in that generation destined to die in the desert that felt it wasn’t their fault? They were just doing and acting like everyone else! And what happened?- because they did what the others told them to do, they were judged as the others were judged. If one sins, and others follow that person in his or her sin, then they are sinners, too. Innocently or by volition, it makes no-never-mind to God: if you follow someone in their sin (just ‘following orders’ is not repentance, it is an excuse) you join them in their judgment.
Yeshua tells us that when the blind lead the blind they BOTH fall into a pit (Matthew 15:14), and that means pleading innocence or ignorance when you are before the Judge of the World, you will be told, “I understand you were just doing as your (fill in whatever religious leader title you want) told you, but it’s what I told you to do that counts. Sorry. Here is your bottle of SPF 10,000 and an umbrella- enjoy your afterlife! Going down!”
God is the power, God is the way, God is the relief, God is everything to everyone, everyday, forever. Amen! When you trust in God you will be unbeatable- even after a loss, you will end up winning as long as you maintain your faith. The Hebrews got their tuchas whipped but later they destroyed their enemies. God is eternal, and when we put our faith and trust in Him, that means that we are on an eternal plane.
Life will always have it’s ups and downs; the trick to overcoming life is by trusting faithfully in God to direct it. Trusting that God will do what He says He will do will allow you to see your life as more than just birth to death: you will realize it is only a dress rehearsal for eternity.
Life is temporary, eternity is forever. Choose to live for eternal rewards, keep your eyes on the Kingdom, and trust in God to provide everything you need.
Real faith doesn’t require understanding how God does it, it only requires that you trust He will.