This week’s Torah Reading is from Numbers 1:1 -4:20, The reading is called “Bamidbar”, which means “in the desert,” and it is the first portion of the book of Numbers. We always read it just before Shavuot/Pentecost. But why?
The reason is that God gave the Torah in the desert. It might seem that the Lord The word for desert or wilderness, which in Hebrew are interchangeable, is midbar. The root of the Hebrew word midbar is davar, which means “word,” and is also related to midabber, which means “to speak.”
- In Hebrew, the midbar (desert/wilderness) is the place where God midabber (speaks). We see this connection in the description of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 10:4, “the Ten Words/Asert ha-Devarim which the Lord spoke/dibber to them.”
- The desert can also develop our character, and more specifically, the character quality of humility. The giving of the Torah in the desert profoundly emphasized the value and significance of humility.
• The desert is comprised of sand, calling to mind that God created man from the dust of the earth. But in the same way that the Lord made the humble desert a place of holiness, His presence can also change an ordinary person into a saint.
• Like the barren desert, we must empty and nullify ourselves for the Lord. As Paul writes, “and it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me. And the life I now live in the body, I live by trusting in Ben-Elohim (the Son of God)—who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).
- We must become like the desert, being lowly in our sight so the Lord can make something beautiful out of us. T should have given the Torah in the land of Israel. Why was it given in the midbar, the desert wilderness? What is significant about this location, and what is it meant to teach us?
- A desert is a place of intimacy and connection. In a desert, there are no distractions or noise. The serenity and silence of the desert was an ideal setting for God’s new bride to get to know the Lord, her Bridegroom.
• A key aspect of spiritual intimacy is communication. Since the desert was the place that God first spoke to Moses, it makes sense that He would speak to Israel in precisely the same place. But of course, there is more.
- Likewise, the desert is a place of transformation. Desert experiences always change a person. The desert forces a person to come to the end of themselves.
• And it’s when we come to the end of ourselves that only God can begin to transform us. The Lord used the desert to transform Israel and prepare them for the Promised Land; He will use the desert to prepare you as well. Remember, between the promise and the Promised Land; you must pass through the desert.
My prayer for you is Isaiah 35: 1-2, “The wilderness and the [a]wasteland (Covid-19 pandemic) shall be glad for them,
And the desert[b] shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice,
Even with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
The excellence of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
The excellency of our God.”