Are You Willing to Make the Leap?
Many of us like for life to be predictable and safe and there are times when it is both. Yet, as believers we often find ourselves at crossroads—times in our lives when the L-rd leads us to a fork in the road. He presents us with a choice—to take the "safe" path and go our way or take a leap of faith and follow His leading. That is exactly where we find the people of Israel in this week's Torah portion. The L-rd has led them to Kadesh Barnea, on the southern approach to the land of Canaan.
The L-rd instructed Moses to send 12 men to spy out the land. They came back and reported the facts, or at least their version of the facts. On the positive side, they found a land that was incredibly fertile—it took two men to carry a single cluster of grapes (plus some pomegranates and figs (Numbers 13:23)). On the negative side, they found well-fortified cities and people that appeared unusually strong and tall. Their assessment?
"We cannot attack these people; they are stronger than we are," (Numbers 13:31). Were they just being realistic? No. Remember that the L-rd wanted them to know the facts and face them, but with what kind of attitude? Certainly not with the unbelief that they were demonstrating.
The L-rd had showed them that He was more than capable of getting them through difficult spots—parting of the Red Sea, giving manna, supplying quail, providing water, helping them defeat the Amalekites—to mention just a few cases. In this case, the people of Israel made a choice not to believe that G-d could and would equip them to handle the tough situation He was leading them into.
We as believers often find ourselves in similar circumstances. We have seen the L-rd come through for us; yet, when He calls on us to take a leap of faith, we sometimes refuse. When we act in unbelief, we reap the same fruit as they did—wandering around in a spiritual and emotional desert until we are truly ready to follow the L-rd. If we mean business with Him, He will bring us back to square one, just as He did with Israel. In the Haftarah portion (Joshua 2), we see Israel 40 years later, preparing to follow the L-rd this time; but they wasted 40 years and suffered the death of everyone who left Egypt (except for two).
In this portion we see the L-rd as a consistent Father, who works with us till we respond to Him. We also see how much easier it is when we respond to Him the first time. Let's endeavor to do that.