Posts Tagged With: 10 spies

Warring with Amalek Part II

Before digging in, Part I offers the context for this post.

Joshua & Amalek

 “Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.””  Ex. 17:8-9 (NASB)

Have you ever noticed that the battle with Amalek is the first time that the Torah introduces the reader to Joshua (Yehoshua)? This is not a coincidence, for he is a type of Messiah Yeshua.

We meet Yehoshua as a commander of men, a mighty warrior, and a servant of Moses. Once Amalek is defeated in Exodus 17, Adonai has Moses forever memorialize the victory. Carefully consider the literal wording of the text:

Ex. 17:14 (LITV) And Jehovah said to Moses, write this, a memorial in a book, and set it in the ears of Joshuathat I will utterly wipe away the remembrance of Amalek under the heavens.

Adonai promises to utterly blot out the memory of Amalek. This mandate and promise is placed in the EARS of Yehoshua. Ears figure hearing and obeying (Shema –Dt. 4:6), but also those willing to forever become a bond-slave (servant) of YHWH. (Ex. 21:5-6) In the natural, we know that Joshua didn’t complete this mission. But, there is another Yehoshua that will.

Moses tells Joshua to choose men to go and lacham (לָחַם- fight) Amalek. Does that Hebrew word look familiar? It is the verbal root of lechem (לֶחֶם– bread). Moses basically told Joshua to go “eat” or feed on Amalek, and he did![1]

In fact, the text says, “And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people by the mouth of the sword.” (Ex. 17:13 LITV) Joshua’s sword has a mouth that devours or “eats” the enemy. Does this remind you of someone else? Someone with not only a sword with a mouth, but that has a mouth like sword?

Is. 49:1-6 (TLV) 1 Listen, to Me, islands! Pay attention, peoples far away. Adonai called Me from the womb, from My mother’s belly He named Me. 2 He made My mouth like a sharp sword…You are My servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified…” 6 …So I will give You as a light for the nations, that You should be My salvation (Yeshua) to the end of the earth.”

Adonai’s servant, Yeshua, not only has a mouth like a sword, but a staff or rod like Moses to rule:

Rev. 19:15 (TLV) From His mouth comes a sharp sword—so that with it He may strike down the nations—and He shall rule them with an iron rod, and He treads the winepress of the furious wrath of Elohei-Tzva’ot.

He will strike down and devour the disobedient nations. This process, though terrifying, will also result in salvation and restoration. The Amalekites of the world must be blotted from memory. We will explore more examples of how Yeshua does this later.

 The Spies and Amalek

Num. 13:16 (NASB) These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land; but Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua.

At the end of the list of the twelve men chosen to search out the Land, Moses reveals that Yehoshua’s name is actually Hoshea, but Moses called him Yehoshua or YHWH saves.[2]Why does Moses (and Adonai) feel it is necessary for the reader to understand this slight change in name at this point in the narrative? Perhaps, it is because it was in the “ears” of Yehoshua that YHWH proclaimed that He would utterly wipe out the memory of Amalek. It was imperative that Joshua not forget this, as he and the eleven others were about to have their faith tested. Amalek was in the Land.

Num. 13:29 (NASB) “Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”

Though Caleb tried to encourage the people by saying, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it,” the majority lacked faith in the promise of Elohim.

Num. 13:32 (NASB) So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.

The word “devours” above is akal. It means to eat or devour. Have you ever felt like your enemy was going to swallow you whole? I have. In times of stress, worry, or battle weariness, my husband often reminds me, “The good news is that they can’t eat us.” How true that is, but sometimes it sure does seem as if “they” can do just that. Do you recall what Moses told Joshua to do to Amalek?

He told him to lacham or fight Amalek. Let Amalek become your lechem or bread. Joshua remembers this. In a last attempt to encourage the people, Joshua and Caleb tell them:

Num. 14:9 (NASB) “Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”

The word for “prey” above is lechem, bread. What does one do with bread? They eat it, of course! It is a reversal of the fear instilled by the evil report of the ten other spies. Are you afraid that a great enemy is going to consume you? Remember the promises of Adonai. Trust in Him to be your Deliverer (Yehoshua), and the very thing you fear will become your sustenance, your bread. Your victory will become part of your testimony, words (bread) of life that will encourage and sustain others.

This is the key to dealing with the Amalek (Esau – flesh ruled nature) in other people. Who is it that promises to war with Amalek from generation to generation? YHWH! Our job is to keep trusting in Adonai, and reverse the evil reports of others. We must look beyond what our natural eyes see. We need spiritual vision and faith, like that of Caleb and Joshua.

The account with the spies is vital to our understanding. This error cost the children of Israel more than any of their other past mistakes. A whole generation lost the opportunity to enter the Land! This is huge. And why did this happen? The people chose to believe the discouraging words of men, rather than the promises of God. Consider the people’s response to the evil report of the spies:

Num. 14:1-4 (NASB) Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness3 “Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”

The people are panicked. But, fear of anything other than Adonai is always a dangerous place. It leads one to the kingdom of Valley Dwellers, where doubt, despair, and unbelief are chief, like Amalek. Once the Children of Israel sink into this low place, their garments reek of the field of Esau. They are prepared to sell their birthright, and even usurp Moses.

Consider what they “lift up” in these verses. It is not the staff of Moses or the serpent on the pole. Instead, they lift their voices in complaint, cries, and fear. Like Esau, they mention death and desire to return Egypt, the house of bondage. This infuriates Adonai so much that He’s ready to smite them all and start over with Moses. Moses and Aaron intercede for the people, and Moses appeals to Adonai’s loving-kindness. Though YHWH pardons the people, they will suffer a grave consequence. They will eat their own words and actually die in the wilderness.

Numbers 14 is a difficult read. It is the proverbial straw that broke the camels’ back as it was the tenth time the Children of Israel tested Adonai’s goodness. When they heard His judgment for their complete lack of faith and trust, they mourned greatly. (Just like Esau did.) The next morning, they set out to obey Adonai’s original edict, but He had already passed the promise to the next generation.

Num. 14:39-40 (NASB) When Moses spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people mourned greatly. 40 In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Here we are; we have indeed sinned, but we will go up to the place which the LORD has promised.”

Though the people had climbed out of the proverbial valley to the ridge of the hill, they were too late. Amalek must be blotted out. Moses warns them that the Amalekites and Canaanites will overcome them if they make a move without YHWH.

Num. 14:44-45 (NASB) But they went up heedlessly to the ridge of the hill country; neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses left the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down, and struck them and beat them down as far as Hormah.

The people didn’t regard Moses’ warning. The text says, “they went up heedlessly” to the ridge of the hill country without the Ark of the Covenant or Moses. The Hebrew word is aphal (עפל). It means to swell or lift up. It is to be proud or to be presumptuous.[3]Once again, the people have lifted up something other than Adonai. The only other occurrence of this word is in Habakkuk.

Hab. 2:4 (LITV) Behold, the soul of him is puffed up and is not upright; but the just shall live by his faith.

Sadly, a whole generation lost their position, and received a smack down from the descendants of Esau. Like the battle at Rephidim and the account of the fiery serpents, the people were judged by the thing that ruled their hearts – Esau – the red, hot flesh. This is precisely what was happening in Habakkuk’s day, except the instrument of judgment was Chaldea (Babylon).

The apostle Paul found the words in Habakkuk to be most informative as he quotes this verse three times in his epistles. The context of Habakkuk was not lost on Paul. Habakkuk first questioned God’s allowance of evil and violence among His people, and then shock at God’s choice of punishment – Babylon. YHWH assures Habakkuk that Babylon (Chaldea) will indeed receive a greater judgment in the end, much like Amalek. Even though Habakkuk doesn’t completely understand the wisdom of God, he chooses to trust him anyway. He lives by his faith by trusting in the goodness and salvation of God.

Rom. 1:16-17 (NASB) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

Gal. 3:11 (NASB) Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

Heb. 10:35-39 (NASB) Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. 38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Don’t throw away your confidence in YHWH when Esau, Amalek, or Babylon attacks. They are sent for the destruction of one thing:

Rom. 1:18 (NASB) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…

Yeshua, much like Yehoshua, will swallow, eat up, devour, and consume the Amalek in you, me, and our neighbor. Consider His words to the third assembly (church) in the Book of Revelation, Pergamum. Pergamum comes from a word that means height or elevation, like a tower or stronghold. This is a fortified high place, something lifted up. Questions should be forming in your mind. Is this referring to Adonai, as He is a Strong Tower of Refuge? Is this referring to Yeshua, the one lifted up as an elevation offering on our behalf? Or, is this the elevated pride of man’s heart, the fuel of the enemy? The answer to all three is, yes!

Rev. 2:12-17 (TLV) 12 To the angel of Messiah’s community in Pergamum write: “Thus says the One who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 I know where you live—where satan’s throne is. Yet you continue to hold firm to My name, and you did not deny your faith in Me even in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where satan resides. 14 “But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who was teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before Bnei-Yisrael, to eat food sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality.15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent then! If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone—and written on the stone a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

Yeshua introduces Himself as the One with the sharp two-edged sword, which is the Word of God. Only it can cut between spirit and flesh, joints and marrow, to know the heart of man. (Heb. 4:12) If only we would submit and the let the Word reveal what is in our hearts. Then, we could look at that thing like the serpent on the pole and be healed! (From stinking thinking –flesh ruled thoughts from the Valley of Sheol.)

The assembly of Pergamum lived right where satan’s throne was. Beloved, so do you and I. The faithful manage to hold firm to His Name despite persecution. But, some cling to the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. Ultimately, these enemies appeal to one’s fleshly desires, the Esau of old. They are often more subtle and cunning, things we justify in order to gratify our desires. Just ask King Saul in Part III.


[1]H3898 לָחַםlâcham law-kham’ A primitive root; to feed on; figuratively to consume; by implication to battle (as destruction): – devour, eat, X ever, fight (-ing), overcome, prevail, (make) war (-ring). Total KJV occurrences: 177

[2]Hoshea and Yehoshua are very similar in spelling and meaning:

הושׁע= Hoshea = salvation, deliverer

יְהוֹשֻׁעַ or יְהוֹשׁוּעַ= Yehoshua = YHWH saves or delivers

Both come from the root yasha:

H3467 ישׁעyâsha‛ BDB Definition: 1) to save, be saved, be delivered. 1a) (Niphal). 1a1) to be liberated, be saved, be delivered. 1a2) to be saved (in battle), be victorious. 1b) (Hiphil). 1b1) to save, deliver. 1b2) to save from moral troubles. 1b3) to give victory to. Part of Speech: verb. A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root

Though the change in name is slight, the emphasis of who it is that does the delivering and saving is obvious. Joshua is simply a vessel. It is Adonai YHWH that is the true Deliverer and Savior. (Is. 43:11) But, the life of Yehoshua still teaches about Him, and that is the point. Even his surname is telling. Yehoshua is the son of Nun from the tribe of Ephraim. (Num. 13:8) Nun means fish or posterity. (Does Yeshua have any associations with “fish” in the Apostolic Scriptures – N.T.?) Nun comes from a root that means to re-sprout or propagate by shoots; which, gives the sense of something continual or perpetual. (H5126)

[3]H6075 עָפַל‛āp̱al: A verb meaning to be proud, to presume. It describes carrying on an act of presumption, arrogance, against the best advice (Num 14:44). It refers to a person who has become too audacious, proud (Hab 2:4).

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Torah Portion: Shlach L’cha

Torah Portion for June 1st, 2013

Numbers 13:1-15:41; Joshua 2:1-24; Heb. 3:7-19

Hebrew Names

Anytime there is a long list of Hebrew names or genealogies given in scripture, many are tempted to just skip over them and move on to the “meat” of the story. How sadly mistaken they are! Hebrew names have meaning and they usually tell a beautiful story. The list of names given for the spies is no exception. First, the tribes are not listed in their birth order, a hint that should stand out to the reader. Here is the list with the corresponding Hebrew meaning.

  • Shamua —-  Name, character
  • Shaphat —-   To judge
  • Caleb —-     Like the heart
  • Yigal —-     He redeems
  • Hoshea —-   Salvation; saves
  • Palti —-  My deliever
  • Gadiel —-  El (God) of the assembly; troop; army
  • Gadi —- My good fortune
  • Amiel —-  El (God) of my people
  • Setur —- Hidden, concealed
  • Nakhbi —- Refuge
  • Geuel —- El (God) is exalted; lifted high

This is the story hidden in the Hebrew names of the 12 spies.

The Name of the judge of our hearts redeems and saves, for He is our deliverer. The God of our assembly is our good fortune. The God of our people conceals us in His refuge. Exalted be our El (God)!

Thus, Hebrew never ceases to amaze me….

The Spies and a Pinch of Fear

Shlach L’cha literally means “send for yourself”; in our case this refers to Moses sending out 12 men to “spy out” the land of Canaan. The Hebrew word for “spying out” in verse 2 is “toor” (tav, vav, reysh). It would be better defined as “seeking out, touring, or exploring”. In fact, our English word “tour” sounds exactly like the Hebrew word in question. Could it be derived from “toor”? Perhaps. Consider for a moment the difference between touring/exploring and spying. The latter implies something much more strategic and militant while the former implies something much more casual.

The irony is that Moses actually did send the men out as “spies” on a military reconnaissance mission regardless of the true meaning of the Hebrew “toor”. (Num. 13:17-20) We all know that this mission will end up costing Israel a 40 year longer stay in the wilderness. What I hope to show you is that this mission was doomed from the start. While our portion seems to be unclear as to whose idea this mission is attributed to, Deuteronomy 1:22-23 gives us the rest of the details. Once again it was the people’s lack of faith in the promises of YHWH that cost them dearly. Even though YHWH had told them to go and take possession of the land and to do so without FEAR———they did exactly the opposite. (Just as we often do!)

Even Moses was caught up in their “fear”. In Dt. 1:23, Moses says their idea of a recon mission also pleased him. The problem was that their spiritual eyes were closed. In the natural, the people of Canaan were strong and many. Their cities were large and fortified. Yet the land was good——- flowing with milk and honey——-just as YHWH had promised. But, the majority couldn’t see past the obstacles. There was a GIANT stumbling block in their path——– the enemy. The problem seemed too large and too difficult for them to overcome.

How often do we feel this way about various circumstances and problems in our own lives? How often are we like the 10 spies after taking a survey of our own circumstances? It is impossible from our perspective. We justify our lack of faith by telling ourselves or saying that we are being sensible or realistic. Perhaps we even conclude that the promise isn’t really for us.

The real enemy is FEAR. This Shavuot (Pentecost [2011]) Dr. Hollisa Alewine  spoke at our congregation about the Creation Gospel. One point that really stuck out for me was the seventh branch on the menorah. This branch in her thematic study corresponds to the 7th day of creation (Shabbat), the feast of Sukkot, the Spirit of Yirat Adonai (Fear of YHWH), and the church of Laodicea in the Book of Revelation. She pointed out that when we fear anything other than YHWH, we are operating from the wicked lamp[1]. In other words, when we fear man or circumstance we can only produce bad fruit.

How I struggle with this! There is fear of the unknown, fear for the future, fear for our children, fear for our nation, fear for our finances, fear for our health, fear of death, fear of what others think, fear of ridicule, fear of weather, fear of government, fear of our enemies, fear of…… you name it. I personally suffer from occasional anxiety. This is a form of fear whether it begins with physical imbalances or not. But we are called to be overcomers and we are told over and over in scripture to “fear not”! I’d have to guess that this is one commandment that even Torah keepers struggle with regularly. Sadly, ungodly fear is usually justified one way or another. As Dr. Alewine said on Shavuot, “There are boogers around every corner!”

Once again we find ourselves wearing the very shoes of our Israelite counterparts. We are just like them. Although we’d all like to think that we would be like Caleb or Joshua, we really are more likely to be one of the ten bringing a bad report and causing even more of our brothers and sisters to falter with us.

There is only one remedy of our malady: we must learn to fear YHWH and fear Him alone. After all, the beginning of wisdom is the fear of YHWH. (Ps. 111:10; Pr. 9:10)

Creation Gospel’s Seventh Branch

Shabbat

This portion has caused me to mediate on the menorah and the thematic counterparts to Yirat Adonai (Fear of YHWH). I’d like to begin with Shabbat. Shabbat is the day YHWH set apart for rest. It is holy, it is a sign, and it is the seventh day of the week. Yeshua declares Himself  “Adonai (Lord) of the Shabbat day” (Mt. 12:8; Mk. 2:28; Lk. 6:5) What are we really resting in on this day? The finished work of Messiah. There can be no fear when we are resting in Him. Selah. There is nothing like entering in to worship the King of the Universe at His appointed time: Shabbat. Sure we can experience sweet worship any day and at any time, but there is something different about that worship when He appoints it; when He has declared that time sacred. There is absolutely no fear (of man & circumstance) when we adore and show our love to our King. (1 Jn. 4:18)

Sukkot

Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) is the seventh feast and it lasts for  seven days. Therefore, it is thematically linked to the 7th branch of the menorah and Shabbat. (In the Creation Gospel model) There is no coincidence that this feast commemorates the children of Israel living in tents/booths in the wilderness. Since the setting of our portion is the wilderness and the sin of the evil report by the ten spies, it becomes even more apparent that we need to learn from their example. (Heb 4:11; 1 cor. 10:5-6; Heb. 3:8-10)

Sukkot is also called the Season of our Joy. It is the last of the 3 pilgrimage feasts and looks forward to the future millennium when the overcomers shall rule and reign with Yeshua for 1000 years. This is a pictured in Caleb and Joshua. We desire to persevere and come into the Promised Land! We cannot do this without Yirat Yahweh.

Yirat YHWH

The seven spirits of God are given to us in:

Is. 11:1-2  And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  (2)  And the spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh

These are the attributes of the one Spirit of God. As stated earlier, the fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom. Therefore, we cannot reach the last branch of the menorah without first experiencing the first branch: wisdom. This branch is thematically linked to Pesach (Passover), day one of creation, and the church at Ephesus. We all must first apply the lamb’s blood to our doorposts to begin our journey of redemption, sanctification, and eventual restoration.

Fear of anything other than YHWH is of the enemy. It is a lack of trust and faith in our Adonai. The following quote comes from the corresponding Deuteronomy text for our portion. Moses is recapping the mistake of the spies.

Dt. 1:28-32  Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.  (29)  Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them.  (30)  YHWH your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes;  (31)  And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that YHWH thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.  (32)  Yet in this thing ye did not believe YHWH your God

If the children of Israel had feared YHWH and not the inhabitants of the land, things would have been much different. How often would our circumstances have been different if we had only trusted in our God, YHWH? Perhaps we too are often left in our own wildernesses for an extended amount time when our breakthrough was just past the Canaanites that we were too afraid to fight.

Laodicea

Laodicea was the seventh and last assembly written to in Revelation. Please read Revelation 3:14-22. Laodicea means “justice of the people”. Already we have a problem; YHWH/Yeshua is our law-giver, He is our judge, and He metes out the only righteous judgment. Laodicea is thematically linked to Shabbat, Sukkot, and the spirit of the Fear of YHWH.

Notice that Yeshua mentions no clean works for this assembly. Instead, He says they are neither hot nor cold and this makes Him want to vomit. Wow. Essentially, they are lukewarm; lukewarm is a mixture of hot and cold. The Laodiceans probably feel they are “just right” or very comfortable. As a matter of fact they say just that:

Rev. 3:17-19  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  (18)  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.  (19)  Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

The assembly of Laodicea believes she is prospering and doing well. Sadly, she is seriously mistaken and is quite blind. Because this assembly has material wealth, their every need is met by their own works or prosperity. Having great prosperity is synonymous with godliness in the eyes of this church. (Sound familiar, America?) Yet, Yeshua couldn’t commend them on even one clean or good work.

Their worldly desire for prosperity had actually left them wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Yet they didn’t even know it!! Think about this. Yeshua is obviously speaking of their spiritual condition. They think all is well and they don’t even have clothes to wear! He encourages this church to buy “gold” (a play on their worldly lust for $$) refined by His fire.

What is this gold Yeshua speaks of?

Ps. 19:7-10    The law (Torah) of YHWH is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of YHWH is sure, making wise the simple. (8)The statutes of YHWH are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of YHWH is pure, enlightening the eyes.  (9)  The fear of YHWH is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of YHWH are true and righteous altogether.  (10)  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

It was almost as if David wrote this Psalm just for the Laodiceans. He tells us what is perfect and converts our souls——- YHWH’s Law (Torah). This is because the Torah tells us what sin is; therefore we may turn and repent! What is the remedy for blind eyes? According to David, it is the commandments of Adonai. It is apparent so far that even though the Laodiceans believed that they were “good” and lacked nothing, they didn’t have YHWH’s Torah in their hearts. Otherwise, their eyes would be open to their sin and they would realize their wretched condition and repent.

Moreover, this Psalm speaks of YHWH’s judgments. The very name of this assembly (remember, Laodicea means justice of the people) speaks volumes about their source of authority: the people. The people decide what is best, what is good, what is prosperous. But, we see that they are blind! YHWH is the only righteous judge. He decides what is good, not us. He decides what is holy, not us. He decides how He is to be worshipped, not us. Doing things His way, walking out His Torah (instructions), fearing Him and not man, and setting Him as our judge and not man or religious institutions is more desirable than much fine gold and sweeter than honey. Repent! Turn back to Him, His ways, His Torah, and receive fresh white garments and salve for your eyes.

But Yeshua has more to say to Laodicea. He stands at the door and knocks and desires to “dine” with the Loadiceans. In Hebrew thought, this is a direct reference to a covenantal meal. What meal does Yeshua desire to eat with us? The marriage Supper of the Lamb at our future Sukkot! This meal is also thematically linked to the Pesach (Passover) seder———— the beginning of our redemption where a meal is first shared. Passover is our redemption, Shavuot is our betrothal, and  Sukkot is our marriage and consummation. (All 3 pilgrimage festivals)

Rev. 22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Rev. 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come.

Caleb & Joshua

Caleb and Joshua saw the exact same things as the other 10 spies, yet their report was positive. They tried to quiet the fear of the people with their optimism, but the people would rather wallow in their own fears to the point that they prepared to stone Caleb and Joshua (14:10) just to get them to shut-up. Misery truly does love company and Caleb and Joshua were uninvited guests. But the people didn’t govern the lives of Caleb & Joshua———- YHWH did and it was His glory that came to their rescue!

Again, we are just like the Israelites. I know many people that truly wish to shut the mouths of those that are eternally optimistic. They would rather discuss the new scary booger they spotted on the internet and the big booger in the White House or the millions of boogers in the Middle East. Some think that big black helicopter boogers are watching their every move; others are worried about one world boogers, and even more fear famine and stock pile so green slimly boogers never touch them. Boogers are everywhere and they are big, they have fortified cities, and they even live in the Land of milk and honey. Just change booger to Canaanites or name your own favorite scary booger. They are all fear of man or circumstance.

One thing is certain: Caleb and Joshua were more afraid of YHWH than big, slimly, green boogers! They are our positive model and example. In order to be like Caleb and Joshua, we don’t have to walk around with our head in the clouds; we see everything the other 10 see. The difference is in who we fear most. If we fear YHWH more than men or our circumstances our spiritual eyes will be open and we too will say, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it!” (13:30)

We will also encourage our brethren, “Only do not rebel against YHWH. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and YHWH is with us; do not fear them.”

If we would fear YHWH, that obstacle would become our ‘bread’. It will feed us! It will give us strength and sustain us. Why? Because any time we trust YHWH we exercise our faith and prosper spiritually. Hence, our faith removes the shadow of protection from our enemies and we become victorious.

I know I still have much to learn in this area, but I desperately want to be like Caleb and Joshua. We can’t let our eyes deceive us or focus on what “appears” to be happening in the natural. Just because I can see that big gooey booger hanging over my head doesn’t mean that it’s there to harm me. If I start telling everyone that any day that booger is going to fall on my head————– well then it just might!! I fear the booger more than YHWH.

However, if I believe YHWH loves me and has my best interest at heart and that He would never let a booger hang there day after day without a GOOD reason then my fear is alleviated, I’m not spreading fear to my fellows, and one day YHWH might just show me that the booger was the glue that kept the chandelier from falling on my head. You see in this way, it sustained me (it became my bread).

The truth is that anything we fear we have made holy. We have set that thing apart. Think about something you fear or worry about often. By focusing on the circumstance or thing it has become holy or set apart and has displaced YHWH’s rightful place in our lives. When we are tempted to dwell on our circumstances we must remind ourselves that YHWH sits on the throne———- not our finances, our health, our enemies, or our families.

There is one last important detail about this story. After the 10 spies that gave the evil report died from a plague sent by YHWH, the people repented and decided they would now do what YHWH had said and take possession of the Land. BUT the consequence to their sin was 40 more years in exile in the wilderness. Actually, their lack of faith cost them the Promised Land altogether; in as much as those 20 years and older would all die in the wilderness before their children would enter the Land.

I think this happens with us as well. YHWH tells us to do something. We are afraid. We take a survey of the situation and we are even more afraid. Boogers are everywhere; we’ll never make it. We begin telling others of the booger danger. We are out of line and in sin. We suffer because of our lack of trust. Suffering brings us to our senses and we repent. Now we think we will go and do what YHWH had said. But it’s too late. YHWH is no longer with us in this situation. He has moved on to something else. If we go anyway, the boogers will beat us down as far as Hormah. (14:45)

Tzit-tziot

We must follow the cloud. Turn when it turns, stay when it stays. In the last part of this Torah portion, the commandment of wearing the tassels, fringes, or tzit-tziot are given. This is a physical commandment about an article we are to wear on our persons. YHWH is clear as to “why” He initiates this statute.

Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. “It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. “I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.”(Num. 15:38-41)

Do you remember the Hebrew word “toor” translated as “spies” at the beginning of our portion? The high-lighted text above uses the same Hebrew word “toor” for ‘seek/follow after/search/go about’. Moses sent men to “spy” out the land of Canaan. YHWH issues us a command to wear a cord of blue on the four corners of our garments, so that in seeing the blue cords we are reminded NOT to “spy” with our own hearts and eyes. Doing so makes us a harlot. When we fear anything other than YHWH it becomes our god, thus we commit spiritual adultery.

Though our eyes or even our hearts may perceive boogers or even enticing lusts, we mustn’t stray from our God or His commandments. Wearing tzit-tziot is a physical reminder of a spiritual reality. The blue cord reminds us of the heavenly tabernacle, our heavenly priest, and our heritage as a kingdom of priests. Priests are witnesses to YHWH———– not boogers. We can choose to see boogers or we can choose to fear YHWH our Elohim.

It is important also to realize that when we trust in YHWH our savior, He protects us. He is truly our deliverer and our refuge. Remember the story told in the Hebrew names of the spies? YHWH conceals us from all the boogers. We are His special treasure, if we will learn to Fear Him.

If we look at Caleb and Joshua’s names alone in Hebrew, the message of the ‘good’ spies is clear. Joshua is a cognate of the Hebrew word Yeshua or “salvation”. Caleb’s name in Hebrew (kalev) is a contraction of two words: kal, meaning all and lev meaning heart. If we put these names together, we get “Yeshua Saves My Heart!

But Caleb’s name has even deeper implications. The lev in Hebrew is not the physical blood-pumping heart but is more akin to the mind. Truly it is our minds that need saving. Joyce Meyers is right about one thing: the battle truly does begin in the mind. A saved mind CAN overcome as Joshua and Caleb did!

Even more interesting is that the name kalev (Caleb) is a derivative of the Hebrew word for ‘dog’ (kelev). Remember, Caleb’s name literally means “all heart“. You see, Caleb followed YHWH wholly with all his heart. Caleb’s name certainly fits his character! Is that not also the nature of dogs? They seem to always come back to their master… they are “all heart”.

While dogs typically have negative connotations in scripture, this sheds new light on Yeshua’s comments about the “dogs eating the crumbs that fall from the master’s table[2]. Could this be an allusion to the fact that no matter who you are or where your from, if you seek the Master with all your heart, you too will have bread from the Master’s table? And what about the our two “good” spies, Caleb and Joshua? It is only their tribes (Judah and Ephraim/Israel) that are mentioned by name in the New Covenant[3], and their names together suggest: to follow Yeshua with all their heart!

May we become a generation of Caleb’s and Joshua’s!


[1] Proverbs 6:16-19

[2] Mt. 15:22-28; Mark 7:24-30

[3] Jer. 31:31; Hebrews 8:8 I’m not implying here that the other tribes or even those from among the nations are lost and don’t have a covenant, but rather as these verses attest, that we are joined (grafted-in) with one of these two houses of Israel which the Father is making into one New Man. (Rom. 11; Eph. 2)

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