The Hebrew language is so amazing and brings so many clarifying definitions to verses that can seem unclear in English. Such was the case in Torah portion Shelach, as Pastor Mark pointed out the many different meanings of the word “search.” When we see the different meanings for this word in Hebrew, new light dawns in our understanding about the spies who went in to search the Land.
In Numbers 13:1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying Send you men that they may search (toor) the land of Canaan…..In this verse the word “search” means to search about, meander and explore. Doesn’t this sound fun, like something kids would do at the beach or in the mountains where there are so many amazing things to see and do? Do you get the idea that the Lord wanted His children to marvel at the Land He was giving them as they meandered about and explored it? He was sending His children in to be in awe of the Land.
But in Deuteronomy 1:24 we are told, And they turned and went up into the mountain, and came unto the valley of Eschol and searched (ragal) it out. This word for search means to be looking for trouble. It would amount to slandering or doubting G-d. How would it happen that G-d wanted them to discover wonderful things, but they ended up looking for trouble?
Then in Ezekiel 20:5-8, we are told: And say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD, in the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up my hand to the seed of the house of Jacob and made myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up my hand to them, saying, I am the LORD your God; in the day that I lifted up my hand to them to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:
Isn’t this incredible! The LORD, Himself had spied out the land. He had done the reconnaissance. He knew exactly what the Israelites would need for victory in conquering the land. They would need to see His lifted up hand and hear His words to them saying, I am the LORD your God. Then in strength and unity they could go forward and conquer what He had already given them, and at the same time, He wants to see His kids working with Him.
Are we looking for the good G-d wants to do in our situations? Do we find the treasures He hides for us and delights for us to find even when we have to battle for what He is giving us? Or do we become overwhelmed with fears and doubts, forgetting that G-d is good – all the time? Are we remembering that G-d has gone before us? He knows all of our circumstances, and He is for us. He has already “espied” for us. Isn’t that just amazing?
What an incredible G-d we serve!