Shelach (Numbers 13:1-15:41) — Frightened into Stagnation
The focus of last week’s Torah Portion was one part waiting and the other part following the Lord’s command. This week we will look at the consequences of doing neither and instead choosing to doubt God’s provision for our lives.
In Numbers 13-14, we are confronted with the tragic story and illustration of what happens when a people (person) loses faith in God. The people are approaching the borders of Canaan and the Promised Land is in sight. The spies are sent out and ten of the twelve returns to the Israelites with a negative report.
Only Joshua and Caleb encourage the people to push forward and claim what has not only been promised to them but also is their legacy as the Chosen People of God. The people do not listen to Joshua, Caleb, Moses, Aaron or God and instead want to return to Egypt (remember – Egypt is always symbolic of sin and slavery). Moses comes to the people’s “rescue” when God wants to destroy them all (14:11-19), but they still must face the consequences of unfaithfulness and doubt. They would face almost forty years in the wilderness until the generation of doubters died and were buried far away from what was supposed to be their home.
Struggling with doubt and fear is very real for many of us (including the writer of this Torah Portion!). However, this sin can never be compounded by the additional sin of unfaithfulness. Struggling is not the sin but giving into it to the point of stagnation and failure to follow God’s will for our lives is. This truth becomes even more real when the stagnation causes us to stop when God says move. Think about it. Blessings!