The reading on this Shabbat (in Israel) is from Numbers 13:1-15:41, Parashat Shelach. It begins with the words “shelach lecha” in Hebrew (“send for yourself”). From the prophets, the reading is from Joshua 2:1-24, and from the New Testament we read Luke 17:1-18:43.

I include these readings in this prayer list because I believe that every serious student of God’s word ought to be reading the word of God: New Testament, Old Testament, and the Torah readings that are being read every Shabbat in every synagogue. This is a simple but effective way to identify with the Jewish nation and Israel, but above all it is the way to obey what the apostles decided and recommended to the church – the Gentiles and the Jews.

Here is the text, my dear brothers:

“Known to God from eternity are all His works. Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” – Acts 15:18–21 [NKJV]

In fact, I don’t understand why so many Christians, who claim to believe the bible and want to live accordingly, ignore the whole basic decision of the apostles from Acts 15. This decision was deliberately made by the apostles, being led by the Holy Spirit, for the consideration of our non-Jewish brothers around the world.

I realize why the Catholic churches ignored this decision and were teaching against it. This is clear, they wanted to delete every trace of the early first century New Testament church for their political reasons.

But, the Protestant Reformation etched on its flag the 95 theses that legend has it were nailed on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church on October 31, 1517. Among these 95 theses of Luther there is “sola scriptura”. It would seem that the Protestant churches would not adhere so to the traditions and false teachings of the Catholic church, but really go back to the “sola scriptura”, to the scriptures, as our only authority and truth.

So, there you have it, I include the Torah readings because the apostles, including the apostle Paul, made this decision, and made the recommendation for the non-Jewish in the church to go to the synagogues and hear the word of God read every Sabbath.

One of the main episodes in this week’s Torah reading is the episode of Moses sending 12 leaders. These were not average joes being sent to tour the land of Canaan and bring back a report. As the text says, the 12 so-called spies were leaders of their tribes.

All the 12 men came back and basically told the same story, they described the land in true colors and spoke the truth. So, where was the problem? The problem is as always, the interpretation of the truth. What you do with the known facts.

This is also the problem of the Christian world. Almost everyone had the same bible, it can be this or that translation, but basically it is the same bible. If you go into the original ancient Greek text and Hebrew text it is even much more “the same” bible. The interpretation is what is in question.

One of the unholy illnesses of the majority of the Christian churches is the acceptance of the clear untruth that God is finished with Israel, and therefore the whole “Old Testament” is superfluous, not needed anymore, and has no authority today. All the scriptures that Christians today need is from Matthew to Revelation.

But this is not what the apostle Paul said:

“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:10–17 [NKJV]

Normally when Paul is used and quoted from this text, the quotation starts from verse 16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine…”

They skip the context where Paul is instructing Timothy, his disciple, to be careful and persevere because evil men and impostors will grow deceiving and being deceived. Paul’s instruction to Timothy is to continue in the things which he learned in his childhood from the holy scriptures, which are able to make Timothy wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ.

Here now comes the declarative statement of Paul: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…” This “all scripture” is “all scripture”. The main scripture that the early church had when Paul was writing this to Timothy was from Genesis to Malachi, and maybe a few of Paul’s letters.

The New Testament as we know it today was not yet complete with all the books that we have today. So, to ignore the Torah and the prophets is to ignore the bulk of God’s revelation given by the Holy Spirit.

What did the 10 spies say that brought God’s wrath on Israel, the wrath that caused God to keep them in the wilderness for another 38 years until that whole generation that left Egypt, except Joshua and Caleb, died in the wilderness? This one statement that the 10 spies made is what cost all of Israel so much sorrow in the 38 years added by God to their wilderness wandering:

“But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’” – Numbers 13:31 [NKJV]

Why is this statement so serious, and why did it make God so angry with Israel?

These people were the leaders of the tribes. They all crossed the sea on dry land. They all were daily eating manna from heaven. They all stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai, received the Torah, and heard the voice of God speak from the cloud. They all drank water that was bitter and saw the hand of God and Moses make the water drinkable. They all had a hand in the building of the Lord’s tabernacle.

After all those experiences they still didn’t understand who God is, and what is His power over the universe and the forces of nature. Above all, they considered the people of the land of Canaan more powerful than the God who took them out of Egypt.

This was the big sin of Israel in the wilderness. It was even a bigger sin than Aaron and the children of Israel making the Golden Calf (an Egyptian idol) at the foot of Mt. Sinai. How do I know that it was a bigger sin? Because of the punishment that God gave Israel after the demoralizing report that the 10 spies gave Moses and Israel.

We measure the seriousness of the sin by the punishment that the Torah gives it. Sin is sin, but in the word of God, His punishment for some sins is very light and for others very heavy and harsh. So, the sins are not all alike, each has it’s degree of seriousness and is measured by the punishment that the Lord gave each sin in the Torah.

Faith in the bible is not defined by an agreement with this doctrine or another. It is defined how much you trust God with your life, and with your family, and with all that you are and possess. The lack of trust in God and His power, His love, and His guidance is the true lack of faith, even if you intellectually agree or accept this doctrine or another.

This kind of “faith” is the classical Christian Catholic faith, but not the biblical faith. There is no list of doctrines that we are obligated to believe or accept other than two things, belief in one God who created the heavens and the earth, and the belief that Yeshua is the Messiah and the Son of the living God.

But everyone had to love God enough to trust Him, who made all things, that He will be faithful to care for His children. The 10 spies actually put doubt in the hearts of God’s people. They said that they, Israel, the people who daily experienced God’s power, love, and miracles, could not have a victory over the pagan idol-worshiping Canaanites.

Because the 10 spies were the leaders of the tribes, all the tribes, all of Israel, paid the price of this lack of faith (trust) in God. Let us learn to trust God. He is the only one who is forever and 100% trustworthy to keep His promises to Israel and to the whole world.

Please pray for Israel, and pray for us in Netivyah and the Roeh Israel Congregation.

Please pray for our dear sister Emma in China. Her husband, a strong man, went to sleep and didn’t wake up. He died in his sleep, which is a wonderful way to go and meet with the Creator of the World, but for his family it is not simple, and we join our dear sister Emma in her grief for the death of her husband. Although Emma is one of the strongest women I know in the whole world, she now is truly in need of God’s help and encouragement. She also has a big burden for a big school that she has built in China.

Keep Ruby and Eli, and others who need healing from cancer, in your prayers.

Keep Netivyah in your prayers. We have been blessed by brothers from around the world who love God, love Yeshua, and love Israel, and the funds for a new van are almost there, but almost is not enough, and we ask people who have not contributed for the van to make a little bigger effort and help Netivyah get the van. Transportation of people and supplies for the HaMotzi food distribution program and for the youth and the elderly is essential. This is not a van for private use, and the old van was not for private use, it served the community, the food distribution program HaMotzi, for more than 15 years.

Please make an effort to join Netivyah’s 40th anniversary tour and seminar in November 2019. It will be unusual and rich in content, and full of good surprises for the participants. This tour will be a celebration, not a political event. It will be an inspiration, and not an entertainment show. Yes, there will be some entertainment, and there will be some special events, and I hope some political figures, but all together it will be special. It will be about the union and the grafting of our brothers from around the world with the seed of Abraham and the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I ask all of you to mobilize your prayers to pray for the Aliyah and the return of the Anussim, both spiritually, outside of the adulterated brands of Christianity, back to the pure waters of God’s word, and also physical Aliyah to the land of our forefathers, the land of Zion, Jerusalem.

Please don’t forget to pray for my family, and especially for Marcia my dear wife, and Danah, and Noaam, and all those on this prayer list – that God will be glorified in their lives and in their healing. Keep Barry our son, and his family, in your prayers. The Lord willing, Marcia and I are traveling to the United States next week and we will participate in the Lipscomb University Summer Celebration. I shall be teaching two sessions on the topic of “The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament.”

Please keep the widow and family of Dr. Altamiro in your prayers. Also keep Elena Litvak, Efim’s widow, in your prayers.

Our brother Bob Weiner is still in need of our prayers. I do hope to see him in California in two weeks at the UMJC conference.

Please remember our dear brother Jacob Damkani in your prayers.

Please pray for Dr. Song and his dear wife Dr. Kim. They are Korean brothers for whom I have the most special respect and love. Also keep the other brothers and sisters in Korea who love God and love Israel, and work for the salvation of Israel and the Jewish people.

Please keep the whole Abu-Eid family in your prayers. These are dear friends and soul brothers to the Shulam family, and we pray for the whole family in these difficult days.

Please continue praying for baby Lion from the Huch family in DFW.

Please pray a special prayer for Ann West, a dear sister who has been praying for the salvation of Israel for many years. You can also include Ann’s dear son Roger in your prayers. He is a dear brother and a friend, who is doing much for the kingdom of God, and I pray for the Lord to bless him, his family, and his work.

Please continue to pray for our Jewish brother Hillel from Helsinki, and Keijo and Salme in Nokia, and for Tim Tucker, Anne-Mirjami, Satu-Maria and Anna-Majia, Sinni Tuuli, Erki and Sirpa Murto, Evelina, and Eva H.

Pray for Patty, Andrea, and Tineke – and our brothers and sisters in the Netherlands that need healing from God.

Continue to pray for Julia and Victor. Pray for our dear sister Paula in Switzerland who needs a divine breakthrough. I want to also add Barry and Dalia, two dear brothers who live in Tiberias and are suffering from illness and pain, and are in need of prayer and help.

Please keep praying for a dear sister named Zhou WenriIan living in China. Please intercede for Pastor Isaac in Chennai. Pastor Isaac needs healing for his kidneys.

Margareta told me recently that she feels the effects of your prayers for her. Please keep Margareta in your prayers.

Please lift in your prayers the following brothers and sisters who need the Lord’s gracious touch of healing: George, Gary, Melanie, and Aaron and Nancy Hook. Also, our congregation members, Sarit, David S., Gabriela, Ahuva, Leah, Ilana, Hannah, young Gabriela, Zvi D. and Batsheva, and Jonathan B. and his wife Aviva. Our dear sisters Laurel, Orna, Sima, and Aviva.

A special prayer is needed for one of my godsons, David B.A., and his family, and especially Elhanan and Julie David’s father and mother, my dear friends and brothers. Keep the whole family in your prayers.

These are brothers and sisters from around the world who need your prayer and your intercession and healing: Paulo and Noami. Marcelo’s parents, Curita Sensei, the Abe family, Toru, Takeo Sensei, Daisuke Sensei, Tomoko San, and Yumi, her father, and her family.

This prayer list is very special because we are not only praying for the physically sick brothers and sisters. We are praying for healthy brothers and sisters who are a blessing in God’s kingdom, but they need that extra “what do you call it” to succeed and become a bigger blessing for the Lord and His kingdom.

In Hong Kong, we pray and ask you to join us and pray for Louisa and Tony. Keep our dear brother Goh and his family in your prayers. In Korea pray for Sister Christy. Please keep Brother Michael Knezevich in prayer. Please add Ismael Alves who lives in Portugal, and Asher Gabriel in Kenya, to your prayers.

I wish all of you, who stand with Israel and who pray for Jerusalem, the best of the Lord’s blessings and the fulfillment of all His promises to His faithful children. Those who hear God and do His will are the ones who are called wise! Those who only hear His word and don’t do it are called foolish! Let us all strive to be wise and never foolish! The best is yet to come!

The Lord God of Israel and the Grace of Yeshua our Messiah, King, Teacher, Rabbi, and Lord be with you all!