Updated: Oct 11
38th & 39th Portion
[7-13 & 14-20 July 2024]
Theme of the Book of Numbers:
Desert life whilst here on earth. Between Egypt & Promised Land. Faith is the key.
Meaning of "chukat" = "law of / decree / statue"
Meaning of "balak" = "Balak"
This week's Torah portions:
Sunday: Numbers 19:1-20:6
Monday: Numbers 20:7-21
Tuesday: Numbers 20:22-21:20
Wednesday: Numbers 21:21-22:12
Thursday: Numbers 22:13-38
Friday: Numbers 22:39-23:26
Shabbat: Numbers 23:27-25:9 & Micah 5:6-6-8 & Judges 15:9-20
Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:
2 Corinthians 9-13
This is the 6th portion from the book of Numbers. And it's our 5th double portion in this year's reading cycle.
We'll first take a look at parashat Chukat. Chukat means "decree." This is the law of the red heifer. If you have been following along on prophetic word concerning the times we are in the world these days - you might recall that the concept of the red heifer has recently been in the "news" - not the mainstream media (for obvious reasons).
A red heifer is a cow which has never been pregnant, milked or yoked.
When the priest brought the sacrifice (the red heifer) he became unclean in doing the sacrifice. However, the ashes of the sacrifice purified the people. It's a bit of a difficult concept to grasp in comparison to the other sacrifices - which made atonement for everyone. But like everything in the Old Testament is a shadow of things that was still to come - this was no different. The sacrifice of the red heifer and the priest who became unclean by presenting the sacrifice is a mere shadow of what Yeshua would come and do for us.
The priest became unclean / defiled, in order that the nation could be purified and sanctified. In the same way, Yeshua took our sins upon Himself - so that we could be washed clean by His Blood. Through Yeshua's complete work on the cross - righteousness has been made available to us. The red heifer is a reminder to us that we have access to that righteousness!
In this portion we also read about the Israelites who conquered the Amorites on the East side of the Jordan river. The Amorites didn't want the Israelites to enter into the promised land and thus they didn't want the Israelites to move through their land - but Abba's favour was upon the Israelites, and they conquered the Amorites.
Just like the red heifer was a shadow of things to come - so was the actions of the Amorite kings. The Amorite kings are a shadow of the enemy - who also , to this very day still, don't want us to enter into the promised land. Our promised land is the calling and promises which Abba has spoken over our lives and has planned for our futures. The enemy will do whatever he can to prevent you from entering your promised land. He will even go to battle with you - just like the Amorite kings did against the Israelites.
This once again confirms that our unrepented sin & iniquity will prevent us from entering the promised land!
Moses led the Israelites into battle against the Amorites and after they had won - they had free access to enter the promised land. As you could have guessed - of course this was also a shadow of something to come. Yeshua's complete work on the cross enabled us to enter our promised land!
The late Gerrit Nel said it so nicely (in his teaching on Kol Kallah on this week's portion) - that faith is the thing which enables us to go into battle. But it's through Yeshua that we have victory!
The choice to go into battle is ours. The Israelites could have refused to go to war against the Amorites. It was their choice. God said that He would give them victory and gave them the promise of the promised land. Yet it was up to them to step into battle.
The very same thing applies to us today! We also have a choice! We can refuse to enter battle. But we must realise that when we refuse to do so, we also indirectly say "no thanks" to our promised land! Now I don't know about you, but that's definitely not something that I want to say no to!
In this portion we also read about the Israelites who arrived at the Zin / Sin desert, which is located more or less next to the Promised Land. We also read that Miriam (Moses' sister) died there.
When the Israelites were on their way into the Promised Land for the first time. They arrived at Mara - the place of bitter water or healing water. Drinking the water with the myrrh in cleansed and healed them. Miriam's name means sea / waters and also bitterness as it has the same Hebrew root word as myrrh. When Miriam died, we read that the Israelites suddenly started thirsting for water.
God instructed Moses to speak to the rock so that water could flow from the rock and provide Israel with water that they could drink. Oh, the number of miracles the Israelites have seen in their lives - yet they didn't SEE it!
It breaks my heart to realise how we do the EXACT same today! God is still alive and well and working miracles in our lives everyday - do we even realise and believe that? Or are we to focused on life that we miss His hand in the detail?
At this point, Moses was so fed-up with the Israelites' complaints and rebellious hearts - instead of speaking to the rock, he struck the rock twice with his rod. One would easily be able to justify Moses's actions - it must have been pretty frustrating to see how rebellious the people were time and again - despite all the miracles they have lived through. Yet even though our flesh can relate to Moses's actions - the point still remains that Moses was disobedient to Abba's instruction. Abba instructed him to speak to the rock but Moses, out of frustration with the people, struck the rock. The water still came forth from the rock and the Israelites were able to drink from it. Sadly, because of Moses's disobedience - Abba told him that neither he (Moses) nor Aaron would enter the Promised Land.
As we know very well by now, the Old Testament is a shadow of things to come. The rock which Moses struck was a shadow of Yeshua (Jesus) - Who is the Rock. In 1 Corinthians 10:4 that Yeshua is the Rock from which we drink.
[I highly recommend that you read through the entire Corinthians chapter 10 before reading further. If you don't have your Bible at hand - simply click here to read it before you go any further.]
Moses had the instruction to speak to the rock, yet he took matters into his own hands and struck it. We do the same in our lives so often. And when we "struck" the rocks (situations) in our lives instead of speaking to it - we are not acting in faith. When we struck the rock, we're saying that we don't believe that what Yeshua did on the cross was sufficient and that we don't believe that He will keep His promises to us.
Our faith walk has nothing to do with our power or might or what we can do by ourselves. Our faith us about speaking and proclaiming things and stepping in faith into our promise land - because we KNOW that Yeshua will bring it into fulfilment!
Abba gave Moses the instruction to speak to the rock so that it could bring forth water. In the same way, we should speak to The Rock - Who is Yeshua - so that He could bring forth Living Waters in our lives. We "speak" to the Rock by proclaiming the Word and living our lives according to Abba's instructions.
When we continue to strike the Rock - and not living according to His instructions (to speak to the rock) - we are crucifying Him repeatedly with our words!
A life lived outside of His instructions, is a life that proclaims that what Yeshua's did on the cross is not enough for us. That's a harsh statement, but it's necessary to say it like it is - so that we can grasp it.
In John 14:15 we read that Yeshua, Himself, said that if we love Him - we will keep His instructions. Ps: it's- New Testament, not old school Old Testament-ish stuff.
From this statement which Yeshua made whilst on earth - we know the opposite must be true then as well. If we don't keep His instructions, it means that we don't love Him. The excuses we use to justify our disobedience is irrelevant. If we love Him, we WILL obey His instructions. Obeying His instructions is the way in which we show that we love Him, it's as simple as that.
If we continue to strike the rock instead of speaking to it - we will not experience the Living Waters and enter into our Promised Land. Then we will remain thirsty.
Because Moses was disobedient and struck the rock - Abba said that Moses and Aaron will not enter the Promised Land. In this portion we also read how Aaron went up to the mountain and died there. After Aaron died, his son - Eleazar - took over his role as the high priest.
The Israelites again became rebellious, at this point it's not even surprising anymore haha. As a result of their rebellion, venomous snakes entered the camps and many of the Israelites died. Abba gave instruction to Moses to create a brass serpent on a pole - and that anyone who has been bitten by the venomous snakes and gaze upon the brass serpent, will be healed and not die.
The brass serpent was a shadow of Yeshua, Who came and took the image of the serpent upon Himself and died on a cross - so that we could be healed and have everlasting life with Him!
For every good thing Abba has planned, the enemy has a counterfeit. A counterfeit is not the direct opposite. Then it would have been way too easy to discern. A counterfeit is something, almost like a replica of the original - but with a defect! On surface value it might look like the real deal but with a little discernment you'll discover that you have been deceived. There's a VERY big and powerful industry in our modern-day world which uses the brass serpent symbol. We're not going down that rabbit hole now but what I will say is that for every good thing Abba has designed - the enemy has a counterfeit, a defiled copy - that will mislead people who don't know and live in the Truth.
Our faith is not founded in what we have done or could do - but in what Yeshua has done already!
Our faith should be rooted in Yeshua, our Rock and the Living Water! Through His victory, we can have victory. When we live in faith, we are living from a place of victory and not towards victory - because of our faith in Yeshua! We can rest in His complete work and actively live out our faith!
Now we take a look at Parashat Balak. In this portion we read about Balak (hence the name of the portion). Balak was the king of the Moabites. Balak wanted to curse the people of Israel, so he called in someone who was known as a prophet - called Balaam.
While Balaam was on his way, he had an encounter with an angel. Balaam numerously tried to curse the Israelites. But every time he tried to curse them; he blessed them instead.
Needless to say - Balak, the king of the Moabites - was not very happy about the outcome of the situation. Balaam told Balak that it was out of his hands as God did not want him to curse the people. However, Balaam had another plan for Balak. A plan which would have caused the Israelites to sin themselves and thus be cursed none the less. If the Israelites sinned, they would bring a curse upon themselves and there would be no need for Balaam to curse them.
Balaam advised Balak to get the Israelites to worship Peor. Peor was a pagan god. When the Israelites slept with the Moabitish women, the door would be opened and they would be "tempted" to follow Peor. When the Israelites got involved with idolatry, they brought a curse over themselves.
In this portion we read that one of the Israelite men took one of the Moabitish women into his tent to sleep with her. However, Pinchas realised the curse which would follow. And thus, he killed both of them.
Parashat Balak is our reminder that we can bring ourselves under a curse! Even though we have a covenant with God! When we live in covenant with Him, we live under His protection. When we move away, out from underneath His covenant - we also move out from His covering and protection.
In parashat Sh'lach, we took a look at the talit (prayer shawl). On the corners of a prayer shawl, where the tzitzit is attached - you'll find a kanaf (Hebrew for wing). Thus, when we enter covenant with Abba through obeying His instructions - we enter into His covering, under His kanaf/wings of protection.
From this week's portion, we read that when Balaal tried to curse the Israelites - he was unable to as he saw them in their tents (Numbers 24:2). These "tents" were the prayer shawls of the Israelites. And since they were covered under Abba's wings - Balaam was unable to curse them.
When the Israelites (and the Jews today still) get married - they use a talit as over the chuppah (like a gazebo). And it's a symbolic display of the husband telling his wife that he is welcoming her in under his talit / prayer shawl / covering and protection.
The talit are thus an object in the physical which carries a spiritual connotation. There is nothing magical about a prayer shawl in itself - it's a mere object in the physical to serve as a reminder to us to enter in under Abba's covering.
On the top of a talit (at the hem), you will find a strip that look like it has been stitched onto the talit - it's called an attarah (Hebrew for crown). Thus, when we crown Yeshua as the King over our lives, we enter in under His covering and He clothes us in His righteousness. When He clothes us in righteousness, we can enter our Promised Land.
When we stay under Yeshua's covering, we will get to experience His provision and hand in our lives. But we have to realise that we have a responsibility in all of this as well! If we want to experience all that Abba has in store for us - it's our responsibility to remain under Yeshua's covering. If we move away from underneath, it through living life according to our own standards - we move away from underneath His protection and provision.
Abba is gracious. We all make mistakes, we all wander off, we all fall short of the glory of God. It's not about being perfect. If we were perfect or able to become perfect - there would have been no point for Yeshua to come to earth and die on the cross to rise up again so that we could be redeemed! But Abba's grace is not cheap - it cost Yeshua's life!!! However, we have to realise that when we live the way we chose and not according to Abba's instructions - it's not that God's not gracious anymore... But we are bringing the curse to ourselves then!
Just like the Israelites would have bought the curse upon themselves if Balaam's plan to lead them into idolatry succeeded.
We have to assess our lives and be honest with ourselves - how are we walking before God? Are we walking in His blessings because we remain under His covering and live according to His instructions? Or are we harvesting the curses of our disobedient lifestyles living outside of His covering?
When we abide in covenant with Abba, we WILL be blessed! When we walk in active faith - we can walk with Yeshua, remain in His covering, walk in righteousness, and experience His blessings and enter into our promised land!
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Portion 35: Chukat / Balak (The blog you are reading now)