Shelach - June 5, 2021

Torah Portion:
Shelach - June 5, 2021

Torah: Numbers 13:1-15:41
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-24
Portion Summary:
—Scouts are sent to spy out the land.
—Ten return to speak against going in, while only two are for it.
—The people react in fear and the good witnesses react in anger and despair.
—God is angry at the people and Moses must intercede.
—God pronounces punishment: forty years in the wilderness.
—Joshua and Caleb, the good witnesses, are spared from not entering the land.
—Commandments for offerings made in the land are given.
—The Shabbat is violated, and tzitzit (fringes) are instituted for men to wear.

Devotional by Janet Cothrell:
“Moses said to ADONAI, ‘The Egyptians will hear about it, because You brought this people by Your power from among them.…If You kill these people all at once, the nations who have heard this report about You will say, “Because ADONAI was unable to bring this people to the land He had promised them, He has slaughtered them in the wilderness.”’” Numbers 14:13, 15-16 (TLV)

Moses interceded for a people for whom there was no defense. They were faithless and hate-filled. Unable to see past their own lack of power, they failed to remember the limitless power that the Lord had only recently demonstrated for their benefit. Moses called on God to defend His own good name, and that abated the extremes of His anger. Mercy was shown.

Intercession can be our only power amid powerlessness. People we love may fall on hard times or take the wrong path. Situations where we hope for a good outcome may disappoint us, but we can always bring our concerns to Him. He will always listen, especially when we honor and praise Him for His continual goodness.

This does not mean He will do as you ask. As Rabbi Matt has preached, we petition God to show His mercy and compassion, which He gives to whom He will give (see Exodus 33:19b). We can plead for that and have hope even in our powerlessness.

My Lord,
Thank You that You listen to me. You are the wise judge, all-knowing and infinitely merciful. I ask that I always approach You appropriately, looking for Your mercy, and not just fulfillment of requests.
In Yeshua’s name, amen.
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