This week's Haftorah reading is from Joshua 2:1-24. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he delves into the central and integral theme of this Haftorah: FAITH! The nation of Israel is facing a crucial moment of decision, in this portion. Will they possess the Land or shrink back like their forefathers before them?
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – Joshua 2:1-24
The Haftorah's central theme is about faith. This is the second chance the children of Israel have to take the Promised Land that HaShem had promised them and had already made a way for their victory. They failed the first time because of their unbelief. They shrunk back from moving forward because of fear and unbelief in Yah's Word. They had trusted in their own flesh and because of it they would be paralyzed to fulfill the purpose of HaShem.
Our own spiritual battles encounter the same struggles. Every time we set our hearts to honor Yah, and walk in His ways, we always encounter new difficulties and battles. Sometimes the steepness of the mountain we are climbing seems too hard to climb and we are tempted to quit and drift back into the main stream of the majority's unbelief. When we face a giant, it might be easier to turn around and walk down the hill but we are people of faith. Faith moves forward on the basis of who Yah is, not on one's own strength and abilities.
We see the nation of Israel at a moment of decision...will they possess the Land or turn back like their fathers before them? However, it is different this time because they were extending their faith and faithfulness by obeying Yah first, and leaving the consequences in His hands. We must rely by faith upon HaShem's promises, and in doing so, we must train ourselves in the disciplines of being faithful. If Adonai said it, if He has promised it, then we can stand on His Word...His Word never fails!
What is faith? Faith is not a blind jump in the dark, but it is a
willingness to take a step forward into what seems an impossible situation because you trust Adonai. Hudson Taylor said, "God's work, done God's way, never lacks God's support." Whatever Yah has instructed us to accomplish, though there may be obstacles, in fact, an impossible one to overcome, that is when we exercise faith in Him. We stand believing that if He has instructed us, He will give us the means to obey Him! Our true strength comes from believing Yah and acting in accordance with His Word. Isa 31:1 says. "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek Adonai! Her hope is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Ya'akov."
Israel could never possess the Land until she would be willing to do so by relying upon Yeshua. We can never possess the purpose and will of Yah in our lives until we surrender to His Word and His way. They could no longer rely on their feelings or impressions or what they saw because their emotional aspect is not firm enough to form a sure foundation. If our lives are based upon signs and wonders, then a lingering question of whether Yah will perform or fulfill His promise stops us in our tracks. Not emotion, but commitment of the will through a true knowledge of His Word, trusting in Yah forms the only solid foundation for living life by faith.
If we allow feelings and impressions to move us, we are walking on quick-sand that shifts with every situation, circumstance, and time. They are easily changed with every passing second, however, Yah's revealed promises stand firm. So, we base our life of faith upon the Living Word of Yah that will allow us to scale the mountain, cross the Jordan, cause our Jericho to collapse and defeat our enemy!
The contrast between the two generations standing at the edge of the Promised Land was one that was faithless, following their own feelings and surrendering to the masses and fear, the other, standing in their faith, following Yah's Word, causing the enemy to surrender and experiencing victory through the power of the Ruach. Adonai does not lie! "Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for..." that is to say, Yah gives us faith, the title-deed, so to speak, of what He intends to do for us in the future. "Faith" is the word translated "conviction" (evidence). The word describes the inner or soul phenomenon that comes from the act of believing. Faith produces a level of knowing not based upon observation but upon what Yah has said. Our conviction is our willingness to accept the title as true and trustworthy. The connection of our parashah to the haftorah is obvious, but contrastive. In the first narrative, the leaders of the tribes return with an evil report which communicated their lack of faith, however, in the second narrative, 40 years later, Rahab hides the spies, protecting them with her words and thereby gains divine protection and deliverance for her and her
household. Her faith and their faithlessness are in stark contrast, as well as the faith of Caleb and Joshua.
In this week's Parashat, it opens with Moses sending twelve men, one from each tribe, to scout out the Land of Israel in preparation for its conquest. The story ends in disaster! Ten of the twelve scouts bring back an evil report. Only Joshua and Caleb encourage the people to take the Land. The people believed the majority, refused to take the Land as Yah has commanded, and end up being condemned to perish in the wilderness. What the scouts reported was correct, but the manner in which they reported it was fashioned to persuade the people against obeying Yah. Sadly, it worked and the generation was punished for their unbelief.
We must learn from this empowering narrative of a people who have a choice to trust and obey or exhibit unbelief and disobey. We must never fail to see that possessing "our land" is an act of faith or fail to appreciate the blessings Yah has promised if we would just obey His commands. Yes, our Land might possess formidable armies, cities that are fortified, and warriors of great stature. Yet, faith considers Yah bigger than the giants! Yah intends for the world to see that He is, in fact, the only true Yah when He gives victory over enemies far stronger than us. Yah uses the weak to defeat the strong because we learn to exercise true faith in HaShem. Apart from this faith, the purpose of Yah in our lives will never be ours. Do we despise the will of Yah in our lives so much that we are unwilling to take the step into the impossible, trusting Yah for the promises He has given us? To know HaShem's Will and Word is not enough-we must also know Him to be the One who keeps His promises, based upon a genuine faith in His character, we are enabled to love Him by keeping His commandments. If we possess true faith, we will then be able to accomplish His Will, both for our good and His glory!
So, it is time, time to possess the Land He has given you, to walk in His Word and Will fulfilling your purpose. Remove the thoughts of doubt and unbelief and step forward in faith...He will perform His Word! Step out in faith and watch what Adonai will do! Yah is able and He does not lie, what He said, He will do!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha!
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