This week Parasha is entitled D’varim, meaning (words). It covers Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22. The book of Deuteronomy is the fifth and final book of the Torah.
Moses gives Israel the first of three discourses to reiterate that these are the words- of the Law. In this week’s parasha, we will focus only on two events, the spies, who initially scouted out the Promised Land, and Israel’s transfer of leadership.
The major part of Deuteronomy 1 is about the tragic experience of the Israelis at Kadesh-barnea. Kadesh-barnea stretched the journey from Egypt to Canaan to nearly forty years.
It was a catastrophic experience that left Israel in the wilderness on a 38-year death march for a trip that should have only taken 11 days on foot. Only two individuals who left Egypt would enter the land of promise, Caleb and Joshua. Even Moses was denied entrance.
This is the tragedy of unbelief: It wastes time, lives, and souls; and it robs Adonai of the glory due His Name. God said to Israel, in verse 6, “you have stayed long enough at this mountain. Now go and occupy the Hill country of the Amorites.
See, the Lord your God has given you the land,” Moses told them. “Go up and take possession of it…. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Then Moses explained to the new and young generation how the old, and now perished generation had come to him. And how they wanted to send men to spy out the land.
The people said “first let’s send out spies to discover the best route of entry, and to decide which cities we should capture first. This seemed like a good idea to Moses; in (Number’s 13 the Lord, then had Moses chose twelve spies, one from each tribe.
This idea had the potential of being helpful to the Israelis. This desire for the spies originated with the people. This indicates that God, in view of the peoples’ desire, commanded Moses to send in spies to look over the land.
Adonai knew that the sight of the threatening people and fortified cities would discourage them. Never the less spies were sent out and came back and their opinion created chaos among the people and the people ignored the leadership as well as God’s desire for them to trust in Him.
The people’s sin in failing to enter the land was not just underestimating God’s power. They could have blamed themselves for their weak faith. Instead, they blamed God and imputed to Him the worst of motives toward them.
God loved Israel, but they claimed He hated them. The Israelis doubted God’s goodness, denied His word, and disobeyed His will.
How much more evidence did the people need that their God was well able to defeat the enemy and give them their land? Hadn’t He defeated and disgraced all the false gods of Egypt? hadn’t He protected Israel, and provided for them on their pilgrim journey? God’s people needed only but to trust and obey.
God has not changed; to how many people today has He offered the promise of eternal life in his heavenly Kingdom? And how many will find their way into eternal damnation because they have rejected the way, the truth, and the life?
Moses was forbidden to go over the Jordan, but he was allowed get a good view of the land. But the best view is not like being there.
Adonai reminded Moses of his responsibility to prepare Joshua for leadership. Joshua’s succession to leadership is an important theme in Deuteronomy.
This is the third time it is mentioned in only three chapters. By merely repeating God’s words on this subject to the people, Moses was encouraging Joshua and showing the people that Joshua was their next leader.
This had to hurt Moses deeply. Instead of going into the land, himself, he had to encourage his replacement.
Moses complied with the Divine orders and stayed on the east side of the Jordan. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but he swallowed it gallantly.
However, Moses did make it into the Promised Land, but not until the day when Moses was with Yeshua on the Mount of Transfiguration.
A few thoughts in closing. God our Father will allow false prophets, false teachers, spies and enemies to arise, to test the faith of His people. And we would do well to always remember that our enemy is a master deceiver.
Yeshua said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” We have the love of our Father in heaven, His precious Word, and the Holy spirit, so don’t be deceived.
Moses and Joshua were foreshadowers of Messiah. Just as Moses led the nation across the Red Sea, and Joshua led Israel over the Jordan and into the Promised Land, so will Messiah lead all who have true faith, and have surrendered their allegiance to Him, into eternal life.