To the groom! To the bride! We have a wedding this weekend, and that’s pretty much what’s on my mind. The whole family is coming in from all over the world. We’re all very excited to be gathering for such a simcha, a happy event.
Naturally, I turn to this week’s parasha; lo and behold, it’s Shelach with one of the greatest stories from the wilderness, the story of the spies. God tells Moses to gather a representative from each tribe, send them on a recon mission to the Land, and report back. Moses wants to know very specific things, “See what kind of country it is. Are the people who dwell in it strong or weak, few or many? Is the country in which they dwell good or bad? Are the towns they live in open or fortified? Is the soil rich or poor? Is it wooded or not?” (Num 13:17-20
The spies head on out, traverse the land, and come back to tell Moses it’s not good. The odds are against them. Two, however, Caleb and Joshua, have the faith in God to know it’s going to be fine, they will prevail.
Moses needs to know what they’re about to face. He asks very real, very practical questions. Practicality is really important, but what wins the day is faith, faith that everything is going to be ok. God rewards Caleb and Joshua by making sure they are the only two of the original generation who live long enough to enter the land, 38 years later.
My nephew and his beloved (who has become beloved by us all), these two wonderful young people are facing a new land together. It’s important to plan for the future, to assess it with practicality, see what kind of country it will be, whether the land will be fruitful and welcoming to their hopes and dreams, or will it be dry and arid. But what wins the day for them, too, is faith. Faith in each other, love for each other, and hope for that future together.
Caleb and Joshua were ready to face challenges, sometimes even overwhelming odds. They showed courage, belief and determination, with an eye toward a share future. The loving bride and groom may face challenges, and it will take all the courage, belief, and determination they have to find that land of milk and honey. They will. It’s a sweet land they’re headed to, worth the journeying.