I Spy

An excerpt from CGWKBK 5 Vol 4 Bamidbar "Shlach Lekha"

Numbers 13:1-15:41   

A Time for War, a Time for Bread

Looking for a reason not to keep a commandment?  A problem with the Israelites, past and present generations, is that they do not discern the time of war.   Although nurtured by daily miracles and Moses' instruction, the Israelites, or at least most of them, did not mature  into the armies of Adonai. Only two of twelve heeded the Promise and believed they were able to overcome with the Holy Helper and Lord of Armies, but the majority of the evil congregation believed the bad news that they were unable.

The word for spies ( ragal) has to do with the foot ( regel).  A spy is someone who walks about with the purpose of preparing a "tale" concerning what he sees.  How the spy frames the information he gathers determines whether is a faithful spy, such as the two spies who scouted Jericho and redeemed Rahab's house, or an "evil congregation," such as the ten spies who took the information and packaged an evil report.

The error of the evil spies was putting their feet in their mouths, for the peh (mouth) moved ahead of the ayin (eye).  The spies failed to meditate upon the words that they would speak.  Israel has a great burden of words.  The Torah is derived from a spiritual realm, but humans have difficulty perceiving the spiritual aspect of it:  

"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do." (Romans 7:14-15)

A spoken or written word is something that comes from the realm of the Ruach, so it is extracted from that which is "not seen":  

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." (Hebrews 11:1-2)

If the Word of Torah is written or directly quoted, then it is easy to maintain the Truth that should follow, "It is written..."  It is up to righteous human beings, however, to take the economy of that which is written and to build word packages that most accurately relate the Ruach and Truth of the Word to others.  Once the words are selected and packaged for presentation to others, then the placement of the words becomes critical.  If the earthy Word negates the spiritual Word, then the word becomes a distorted representation of the Truth.  It is actually a lie making a claim of Truth.  

The facts may be true, but the presentation of those facts is devoid of something that is only perceived in the higher spiritual realm where the Word originated.   No matter what the physical eye sees, it must never be allowed to assemble the word package and place it before others without the oversight of the spiritual eye.  The physical and spiritual eyes should be indivisible, and the facts the physical eye assembles should not rule over the Truth the spiritual eye perceives.  When the eyes are not divided in purpose, then they precede the words that come from the mouth.  The result is faithful spies like Joshua and Caleb, who relate the same facts as the evil ones, yet they place the words before Israel differently.  

Under Joshua's leadership forty years later, Israel did not act immediately on the spies' report.  Joshua initiated a Passover celebration such as had not been done since they left Egypt, and he had the Israelites eat the barley of the Land the day after.  They ate bread in REMEMBRANCE of Yeshuat Adonai.  Moses began the season of war  after Shavuot, but Yehoshua began at Passover to remind them of the strength in the assembly and to stir them up by recalling the strength of God in the past forty-year journey.  The Israelites would remember the judgments on Egypt, especially the hail that destroyed the barley and flax, and the parting of the Red Sea.

It stirs up principalities and powers in high places when Israel presumes to take back her inheritance by promise, and the war must start with a heart-felt festival assembly.  The irony is that the dark spirits in high places fight against Israel through those who are fallen, the nephilim, which means "fallen ones."  They only seem to our physical eyes like the giants of battle, but with spiritual eyes, with the Menorah of the Seven Spirits of Adonai, it is actually THEY who are the grasshoppers and WE the spiritual giants of holiness when assembled!  

Israel has to see with spiritual eyes, or they will see distortions and their ears hear deceptions, and then the battle is lost already.  Every generation has a call to overcome, yachol, which means in Hebrew "to be able."  You can be sure that if Israel makes a move to take her inheritance, she stirs up the powers of darkness.  That means the holy assembly must stir even more with reminders of God's power.

In Revelation, the seven assemblies, which are seven festivals, are called to "overcome," to be able.  Those who celebrate the Sabbaths and moedim are called to overcome physical eyes.  In this Torah portion, the greatest two hindrances to being able to take back what the enemy has claimed, fortified, and developed to stand against us are described for instruction to every generation.  We see plainly Sabbath-distorting wizardry  so that today Israel can choose to discern those spirits of the Wicked Lamp and overcome them.

Adonai parted the Reed Sea so Israel could just walk through.  A more mature people called to war, however, were expected to invest more than a foot, but also a hand in war.  After Adonai turns Israel back out into the wilderness toward the Reed Sea for forty years of rehabilitation, He turns them away from an enemy they could have overcome: "Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea." (14:25)  The way of the Red Sea was infancy in their salvation.  Adonai will continue to lead them step-by-step and spoon-feed them manna, but that generation of Israelites died in their spiritual infancy, their comfort zone.

We may still be unfaithful spies who discourage others from going to war. Lechem, or bread, is the foundation of war, milchamah.  The Bread of Heaven calls Israel to war; that is, to take the responsibility to overcome the physical and spiritual obstacles that go along with exercising faith, obeying commandments.

If I simply don't want the inconvenience of war for my faith, however, I can look at the exact same situation as the person next to me and give an evil report.  I can select, package, and place my words in such a way that I can defer or turn my foot away from war and influence others to do the same.  

If I don't want to follow the dietary laws, then I can choose to believe what I've been told about them and be a grasshopper rather than research the Scriptures and find other word packages that ring of the truth.  I can stay in my comfort zone, or I can do the work of a true student of the Word.

If I don't want to pray and read the Word, and I'd rather scroll endlessly through daily newsfeeds and pick up lots of depressing news and a few crumbs of Torah teaching, then I can continue my grasshopping, or I can do the work of a true student of the Word.  I can choose to know less about the week's headlines than I do about the weekly Torah portion.  

If I don't want to give to the stranger, alien, orphan, or widow because I'd rather spend the money or time on something more personally enriching, then I can stall by debating the scammers, users, and fakers.  Hop.  Hop.  I overcome, though, and do the work of a good steward and vet the integrity of those who ask for help, or I can seek out ministries who have already done that work.  

It takes good footwork AND good handiwork to take the Torah from the physical Word to the spiritual.  Good spies choose inspiring words, package them, and place them to inspire Israel to go from easy lechem to milchamah for the Good Land and Good Word.  Good spies don't spin the tale; good spies put the enemies of the Torah into a tailspin.  

Joshua and Caleb said, "THEY will be bread for US."   When it was time for Israel to cross over forty years later, they ate the giants' barley first.  

Good job, Grasshoppers.  Eat 'em up.




 
 

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