Sh’lach L’Cha שְׁלַח-לְךָ
“Send for Yourself!”
Torah: Numbers 13:1–15:41
PROPHETS: Joshua 2:1–24
APOSTOLIC WRITINGS: Hebrews 3:7–4:11
These devotionals are designed to supplement, not replace, your Bible reading.
Torah 1 & 2
Miriam is healed after being chastised by God and Israel continues journeying toward the Promised Land (cf. 12:15–16).
These verses might seem to indicate that Moses sends out spies to scope things out as part of his own grand plan. According to Deuteronomy 1:21–23, however, what was it that caused Moses to even consider the prospect in the first place? What was the community’s response to God’s invitation/command to go up and take/receive the promised inheritance of land (faith or fear)? Consider: when God gives you an opportunity to take a step out in faith, do you step out, or do you first seek assurances?
Next, the spies are named (vv. 4–16) and instructed (vv. 17–20).
After the spies explore the Land (vv. 21–25) their subsequent reporting (vv. 26–33) leads toward national rebellion (14:1–4). At this crossroads, faithful leaders plead with the community, trying to lead them into faithful and courageous obedience (vv. 5–7). In a similar way, in the future, Yeshua pleads with later generations of the community of Israel trying to protect them from being led astray. This is at the heart of Yeshua’s ministry. According to Matthew 5:20ff and 23:1–3ff, what did Yeshua do and say to call people to faith-filled obedience to God?
In what ways might you plead with people to follow God alone in your world? How could you do this in practical ways that flow out of your relationship with God? With whom might God want you to invest your time and energy for this purpose?
Torah 3 & 4
God Steps In
Faithful leaders continue to call the people not to fear man but to trust God.
This challenge to take a step out in faith and trust God incites riotous rebellion (v. 10a; cf. Exodus 32:5–6) but God intervenes (vv. 10b–12; cf. Exodus 32:7–10).
In light of the possibility for God’s covenant faithfulness to be undermined and His reputation defiled in the eyes of the nations, Moses intercedes (cf. Exodus 32:11–13).
God answers in both word (vv. 20–35) and deed (vv. 36–38) but the people continue in their faithless disobedience (vv. 39–45).
Finally, the younger generation is given some specific offering instructions for when they do eventually enter the Land. Though the older generation is forgiven (14:20), they still suffer the consequences of their faithless, disobedient choices (v. 34). How does this principle still apply, according to 1 Corinthians 3:14–15?
What is the most “straw-like” area of your life? What would it look like, in your life, to begin tearing down and rebuilding with more durable building materials?
torah 5 & 6
Offering Grain and Drink
Requirements are given for grain offerings and drink offerings that are to accompany certain animal offerings (vv. 8–12). The bigger the animal sacrifice the more flour, oil and wine needed (cf. vv. 3–7). This same law applies to those born into the community (Israel) as well as those who come in by choice (from the nations, vv. 13–16).
Not only does God require bikkurim (firstfruits of what is grown, cf. Deuteronomy 26:1–11) but He also requires the first of what is processed (vv. 17–21).
Finally, there are instructions for how to rectify the community’s standing after deviating from God’s standards and thus becoming “guilty” in a legal sense and “unclean” in a priestly sense (cf. Leviticus 1:3–9 and 4:22–26). Can someone fulfill the requirements of these offering commands by merely presenting the right physical ingredients?
How do Amos 5:22, Micah 6:8 and Matthew 23:23 inform your understanding of God’s requirements? What has He always been looking for? What’s found in you?
torah 7 &
From the Heart
When one member of the community deviates from God’s standards, there is forgiveness available. This type of deviation is the result of a “wandering” heart (Hebrew: shagag, “to wander/stray” away from God). This wandering heart is different from a “defiant” heart (Hebrew: yad ramah, “with a raised hand/fist” to God). This act of defiance, stemming from a hardened faithlessness, blasphemes God because it does not recognize and uphold God’s holiness (cf. Leviticus 10:1–3).
For such an act of defiance, there is no forgiveness available (vv. 30–31, cf. Mark 3:28–29; 1 John 5:16). Only God ultimately knows which disobedient actions stem from a heart that is wandering away versus the heart that is hardened beyond reach. The Sabbath-breaker apparently represents the latter (vv. 32–36).
Finally, tsitsit (tassels) are given so that we might remember God’s standards and obey them from a faithful heart.
In what ways might you be “wandering away” from God? Confess (1 John 1:9), draw near (Hebrews 10:19–22) and “taste and see” how good is He (Psalm 34:8)!
Enter the Land
Joshua sends out a second reconnaissance mission almost forty years after the first in which he had personally participated. By this time, however, the people of Israel have learned some valuable lessons about trusting God. The people of Jericho have also learned some things. Specifically, they have heard the testimony of God’s power. Grasping the implications of God’s covenant faithfulness, their hearts “melt in fear.”
We too have heard the testimony of even more of God’s power displayed in the world. If you have entered into covenant relationship with God, do you grasp the implications of His covenant faithfulness? What is your heart’s response?
Enter God’s Rest!
In Psalm 95:7b–11, King David remembers God’s displeasure with Israel’s desert rebellion and pleads for open ears and soft hearts. The writer of Hebrews remembers these same events and pleads with us to respond in faith to God’s invitation to receive the promised inheritance of rest.
Where do you need God’s rest to fill your life today? Open your ears, soften your heart, and talk with God in prayer. Listen to Him through His word, and then take a step out in faith today!
Rest. Fellowship. Discussion.