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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Shelach Lecha 37-4

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Numbers 14:26-15-7

So tell them, 'As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me... Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert.

Num. 14:28, 29, 33 NIV

Can parents' words influence over their children for many years?

The tongue has the power of death and life. Those who complained received exactly what they said in their cry of disbelief. The Eternal deemed their complaint and disbelief as spiritual adultery. The Hebrew word that was translated as “unfaithfulness” is zennut זנות – and it means “adultery”. What kind of adultery did they commit? Did they bow before another god? No, they said that it would have been better to die in Egypt or in the desert than to fall by a sword and be taken in captivity. They also talked about naming someone to lead them to Egypt.

The Eternal called this attitude adultery. Being in a covenant with Him and not trusting Him and His promises is spiritual adultery. Not submitting to the leaders established by Him and seeking to have other leaders democratically chosen is spiritual adultery. That attitude doesn't lead anywhere but to death.

None of those who were counted could enter the Promised Land, except for the two that spoke the truth faithfully and with trust. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Prov. 18:21 ESV)

Those who weren't counted; the elderly, women and children up to the age of 19 were not included in this sentence. This teaches us that for those who are chosen for a task of more responsibility, the judgment will be greater in case of being unfaithful. The others were also unfaithful, but since they weren't on the list of the counted ones they didn't have to die in the desert.

The children of those who died had to carry the consequence of their parents' spiritual adultery and spend 40 years in the desert until they received the promise. Because of their parents' words they had to be shepherds in the desert for forty long years. How important are the words we utter! Whatever I say today may have influence over my children for many years.

Nevertheless, those forty years being shepherds in the desert served well to forge a truthfully obedient and faithful generation. Just as forty years of shepherding created a very good character in Moshe, now a whole generation had to go through the same treatment so that they could learn to be faithful. That was the best generation in Israel's history.

Let's learn from this lesson, and never doubt the Eternal's goodness and promises. Let's learn to leave out words that bring judgment upon us and our children. Let's not say expressions such as: “This (or that) always happens!" "I'll never be able to..." "Why ...always..?" "It's impossible..." What you speak before the Eternal has power not only over your life but also over the next generation. Put bits in your mouth!

Kol tuv,


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