PARASHAH: “Shelach’l’ha” (send for yourself)
NUMBERS 13:1-15:41…… YEHOSHUA 2:1-24………LUKE 17:1-18:43
Most of us know the story of the 12 spies that were sent to spy out the land of Canaan, sent by Moshe by the word of YHVH. But let’s look at the story carefully and see what we can dig out of the sandpile, we might find some valuable stuff hidden in the sand.
The word of Moshe to the 12 tribes was that they might select from each tribe a leader to represent that tribe, so the list is read. Among those selected, we are going to concentrate on two of the leaders;
“Kaleb” son of “Yephuneh” from the tribe of Y’hudah, and “Hoshea” son of “Nun” from the tribe of Ephrayim”. It is interesting to note that the name "Kaleb" or "Caleb" if pronounced with an "e" (Kelev) would mean "dog" So don't say "Yehoshua and Kelev" or you would be saying "Joshua and a dog" Yet dogs are very faithful to their masters, that's why they are called "Kelev" (all heart) (Kol + Lev)
The story goes as follows as we read the Torah. The 12 are sent out on a “reconnaissance” mission to “spy out” the land. What do we mean by that? Any time an army is going to invade a territory, the army needs to know how many men the enemy has, what they have, where they live, their fortresses, etc. This is a common battle strategy, nothing new. Adonai has already “promised” them the land, done deal! Yet they still have to go into battle, but the battle already has the outcome, Israelites win! This is what Adonai sees looking up the “finite” timeline in the “finite” dimension” and we must remember that HE sees ALL THINGS from the “infinite” timeline, the things that have already come to pass, even before they “pass”
They travel throughout the land of Canaan for 40 days, they see many things, the fruit of the land, grapes, pomegranates, figs, date palms, etc. It is indeed a land flowing with “milk and honey” (figs and dates). Yet the beginning of verse 28 starts with BUT! And then follows all the negativity, the people are strong, the cities are walled, the “giants” (and not the team from New York) I mean “the big tall guys” It is very easy to spread discouragement among the people, (vs 32) “and they gave the children of Israel an evil report of the land”.
Imagine that your father promises to give you a brand-new Mercedes Benz for your birthday, and he says; “go to the Mercedes dealer and check it out son!” so you go and look at it, you look into the motor, inside, then come back and say; “Hey pop, this is going to eat up a ton of gas, the insurance is going to be high, it might get stolen… Well, dad might say, “OK son, forget it then if you feel that way!”
The only ones that saw the promise of YHVH were Kaleb and Hoshea, they looked to the promise, but the rest of the leaders set their eyes on the “circumstances”. Going back to verse 16, it points out something interesting; Moshe changes the name of “Hoshea” to “Yehoshua” this is very interesting and sheds light on internal symbolism. The name “Yehoshua” contains two names in the Hebrew language “YH” (Yah) and YESHUA! When we look at the full name “Yehoshua Ben Nun” from the ancient paleo-Hebrew letters and their symbolism, one could get the following message; “Behold and let the eye see (that God, the All-consuming fire) extends the hand to receive the nail, to give (BEN) life to the house (to families) and by the nail, (His) life was given up so that (we) might have life!” (NUN)
When we look at the name “Kaleb Ben Yephuneh” from the ancient Hebrew symbolism, we could get this message: “The house is anointed for instruction” (Kaleb) and “behold let it be made that from the mouth comes forth instruction” (Yephuneh). I guess it depends on how one looks at the letters, perhaps another rabbi would come up with something different, but this is how I personally look at the names from the ancient perspective.
The result was that panic and discouragement spread throughout the camp, and it wasn’t just a few thousand Israelites, rather a few million, discouraged by 10 negative leaders. And 10 out-vote 2! Even though Kaleb and Yehoshua tried to encourage the people, the negatives won over. As the saying goes, you can put a few rotten apples in a barrel of good apples, and the good ones will never correct the rotten ones, but the rotten ones will infect the good ones with rottenness.
As a result, the Israelites had to stay in the desert wilderness for 40 years, 1 year for each day the spies were in Canaan. Then, to make matters worse, they tried to go into the land without the blessing of Adonai, and they were beaten back. YHVH wanted to destroy them all, yet Moshe intercedes for them, and Adonai listened to Moshe. This is the same way Yeshua intercedes for us to the Father, on our behalf when we “get rotten” (miracle we’re still in the land of the living? Or no?)
Going to chapter 15, we read something interesting from verses 38 to 41, about making and wearing “Tzitziot” or “fringes” on our garments. There are many “traditions” in Judaism, such as the wearing of “Yarmulkes” (head coverings) and Ashkenazim dressing in black and white with black hats, even the lighting of two candles comes from “tradition” Tradition isn’t bad, as long as we understand the meaning behind the tradition. But one should NEVER teach “tradition” as “commandments” there is a world of difference between the two.
However, the making and wearing of Tzitziot, IS a commandment, however many do not follow it, I guess it is up to each individual. One can read it and say; “God says it but I won’t follow it” or, “God says it and I will do it” We all have the choice to do or not to do. Whatever the Holy Spirit convicts us to do.
No one knows how the original Tzitziot were made, none have survived 3000 years. Today, there are many different styles and “knot tying” and “wrappings” of the thread when making Tzitziot. One only has to go to YouTube and look up “Tying Tzitziot” and you will have quite a few videos of instructions of “how-to” that is the way I learned, from watching a few YouTube videos on “making Tzitziot”.
But what do the Tzitziot symbolize? The scripture tells us in verse 39, “to remember the commandments”. The blue cord reminds us of the “blue sea” where the Israelites crossed, and the “blue” of the heavens from whence our Messiah and LORD will break through to return to earth. Today, we use 4 long cords, one of which is blue and is the longest. This cord is used to do the wrappings, and all 4 are used to make the knots. When one ties the knots, it is customary to say, “BaShem Mitzvah Tzitzit” (in the name of the commandment (of making) the tzitzit.
There are 5 knots, symbolizing the 5 first books of the Torah, the number “5” also symbolizes “grace” then there are the windings of the blue thread. The 4 cords are folded over so as to give the appearance of “8” cords, “8” is the number of a “new beginning” which we all have when we are “born-again”
The windings go as follows (but to get a good view and idea, you need to go to YouTube and view the Tzitziot tying videos) 7 windings, then knot, then 8 windings, then knot, then 11 windings, then a knot, then 13 winding, then the final knot. Why the 7, 8, 11, and 13 windings of the blue thread? Well, these spell out the name Y H V H using numbers. “7” being the “perfect number of God, then 7+8=15 which are the sum of the letters Y + H (Y=10, H=5). 11 = “V +H” (V=6, H=5) so now we have the infallible name Y H V H. “13” is the sum of the word “ECHAD” (oneness of God) Alef=1, Chet=8 and Dalet=4. 1+8+4=13, it also symbolizes the 13 attributes of Adonai found in Exodus when Moshe asks to “see God” and his “Spirit passes before him”
This is the other “Spy Story”, involving “two” spies. I remember from back in the 1960s watching “Man from U.N.C.L.E” on TV, involving two spies. Yehoshua sends them out to spy out “Jericho” they arrive at the house of “Rahab” a prostitute, she hides them and expresses her faith in the “unseen God of the Hebrews” from verses 9 to 13 we read of her faith.
She hid the spies because the king of Jericho somehow found out that they came to her. She risked her own life and the life of her family by hiding them on the roof.
“our lives for yours” were the words of the spies when they left through the window by a rope. (vs 14) but faith needs action, (faith without works is dead) to show her faith, she needed to tie a scarlet cord in the window, so that when the Israelite army came, Rahab and her family would be saved.
This reminds us of Passover, that when the angel of death saw the “red” (blood) on the doorposts, the angel would “pass over” all who were in the house. In the case of Rahab and her family, they were saved from destruction, by obeying the mandate to “bind this line of scarlet cord in the window…”
(2:18). Read chapter 6:25. Rahab and her family were taken from Jericho to the Israelite camp, just like the Israelites were taken from Egypt to (eventually) the promised land
In our case, Yeshua is saying “My life for yours” what do we have to do? “Just believe and accept his one-time-only sacrifice” for all of our sins, past, present, and future. And we pass from the “camp” of sin to the “camp” of Adonai.
Yeshua teaches here that “stumbling blocks” are inevitable, they will come in our lives, we will fall, yet we will get up again, which is part of the life of a believer. Our lives are like riding “roller-coasters” at times we are “up” and at times we are “down” because we are in our sinful bodies, yet it will only be “up” when we get into our “new bodies” in Heaven. Yeshua also speaks of forgiveness, which at times seems hard to do, especially when a person commits the same sin against us time after time, after time. YET we are COMMANDED to forgive. This can not come from the carnal man, only from the spirit-filled man (and woman).
Yeshua also speaks of “servanthood” why do we do the things we do? To get special treatment or rewards? Or…because that which we do is expected of us from the Master? Yes, we are HIS servants, and because we ARE we do what we do using our spiritual gifts. YET Adonai has already promised rewards in heaven, but we shouldn’t do what we do because of the future rewards, but out of love for what HE has done for US on Calvary’s Tree.
Shabbat Shalom ...Ben Avraham
Keep us in your prayers, we will be in El Salvador for two months, we leave tomorrow, (Sunday)
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