The people of Israel on their pilgrimage camped in the desert of Paran. From there Jehovah commands Moses to send twelve spies into the land of Canaan, the promised land. The mission was to recognize the land and its people. To inform of the quality of the land and the disposition and strength of its inhabitants and cities.
At the end of forty days they return with samples of their fruits. They brought «… a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff» ( Num. 13:23 )
A notable example of the wealth and provision of land.
In this expedition, however, what Jehovah wants is not so much to explore Canaan as to command Israel to explore its own soul. Jehovah weighs on their minds the challenge of an unknown land. Of strong inhabitants and walled cities.
It is still fresh in memory, to be ruled in a world made like the Egyptian. An orderly and advanced society. In reality they came out as slaves of a superpower. They went out into a desert where there was not one stone on top of another. A landscape that left them alone with their own soul and reduced their resources to trust in Jehovah.
For many (would I be among them?) It was not so bad to serve in Egypt, when all they had in front of them was sand, stones, and words.
At least that’s how those for whom the concentration of miracles was 4% in relation to walking time, heat and thirst saw it. And it is that acquiring the consistency of a nation, required before assuming the freedom as it teaches. To lose it is a painful moment, but to recover it requires a lot of courage and constancy in time.
In Kadesh, after forty days the twelve spies «And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel…and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.» ( 26 )
The fruits were impressive, the land was fruitful. «and surely it floweth with milk and honey» ( 27 ) However the second part of his message, can not be more sad «is land that swallows its inhabitants … is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof…and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. » ( 32-33 )
The given report, although it describes real aspects, transmits fear (so it seemed to them) and defeat. And that impression, although understandable, was too much. Apparently the report was not agreed in the group, as Caleb and Josue clearly dissented. There was no spokesman and it was given to the people, not privately to Moses.
These aspects suggest several things. Inexperience in the management of information, lack of foresight in the reaction of the people. And lack of hierarchy in a very important mission. And the question would be: How did Jehovah not prevent these problems? Why did he only give instructions in the first part of the mission and not in the return, which is even more important?
They may be boring questions, dear reader, but the scrutineer must ask them. Because «the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field» ( Matthew 13:44 ) and can be under a common stone.
The exploration of the soul
Israel was in Egypt for 430 years, part of them in captivity. In a certain way it was grafted into the olive tree cultivated by Pharaoh, a descendant of Cam. This one, although blessed «with the blessings of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood» (Abraham 1:26) At that time Israel needed the blessings of the land that Pharaoh had. It increased in strength and number. And he acquired wisdom with «the language of the Egyptians» but also the condition of slavery.
[su_note note_color=»#f9ded0″ radius=»6″] The Lord sends them to Canaan to explore their own soul. Like those future weddings, he wanted to see if the slave heart would become free men.[/su_note]
That is why the Lord let events flow by themselves and let Israel show what was inside. In the same way that he allowed Jared, halfway through the project, to see that «O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them « ( Ether 2:19 ). In the same way, the poor design of an apparently poorly organized mission showed the immaturity of a people’s soul to receive its inheritance,
They were not ready, «all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice» ( Num. 14:22 ). They were still slaves. Jehovah had to forge a nation in forty years.
Later, after that period, and faced with the challenge of crossing the Jordan, the answer was another. «All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go» ( Joshua 1:16 )
From the Sinai
From Sinai of our present covenant, we see the correction of the Lord preparing His people to enter into His rest. Yet from the plain, he is only a terrible God, the thunders and lightnings of his activity are illegible to the natural man. The will behind the first rejected covenant is seen in the soft negotiation with Moses on behalf of his people.
Jehovah’s destructive and vengeful spirit only tries to dig into the soul, to awaken mercy. «I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they» ( 12 )
Those may have been Jehovah’s feelings, but I see another intention hidden in those words. This time and many others. Just as he pours water from the rock, he awakens mercy in Moses on behalf of his people. And he makes him suppose that it is he (Moses) who makes it sprout in Jehovah. The water was already in the rock and his mercy before the supplication.
The light of the world was born in Jared’s brother, the desire for the stones to shine. Thus, he makes mercy sprout in Moses, as on the occasion of the well in Sychar, Samaria.
Moses responds to Jehovah’s wrath «Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now» ( 14:19 ) It is the early preparation of the soul for the fullness of Christ.
The Lord knew that they were not prepared for their rest, which is their fullness. But he needed a story to build memory. The one that Nephi or Alma would remember about the hardness of heart in the dark deserts. Those who do not accept their safe guidance. No little bird falls to the ground without his knowledge, and no event, under his direction, falls in vain of history. In the future memory would return in images «Do ye believe that our fathers, who were the children of Israel, would have been led away out of the hands of the Egyptians if they had not hearkened unto the words of the Lord? ( 1 Nephi 17:23 )
The rest of the Lord
We, who are in Sinai, can contemplate a greater portion of your plan. We are governed by a greater law. Our Promised Land is not in a faraway place. Our Canaan is the future, and we face the same reports of those spies.
We do not seek a land in inheritance like Abraham, Moses, Jared or Lehi. We seek a condition of the soul, perhaps more difficult to access, surrounded as it is, by the mountain ranges of natural man.
Now the Lord tells us, «I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.» ( D & C 19: 9 ) Our generation are the sons of the tested. Those pioneers, chosen in this, who crossed the Jordan of our dispensation.
They demonstrated to the Lord that He could trust. Now, notwithstanding what has been accomplished, the Lord’s rest is not in a nation and its king as it once was, not even in a church. It is in a home and in one’s soul. Our eternal dominion, without being compelled, draws nearer and nearer to the hinge of our door. We see this in the changes made under the direction of President Nelson. But so does strife and we hear loudly the discouraging announcements of the future, our inheritance behind the Jordan.
The rest of the soul
Today we explore the repose of the soul in the gospel, surrounded by a world in upheaval. Sometimes as » a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.» ( Mark 4:37 ) fearfully we looked at the Savior and thought «carest thou not that we perish? « ( 38 ).
I do not underestimate the evidence that the ancients suffered «into their labors» ( John 4:38 ). The waters of the Sea of Galilee curl in every soul time. Now in ours «… behold, the enemy is combined.» ( D & C 38:12) Those of long ago, although troubled in that boat, nevertheless the tablazón supported them. Now the water is in our feet, because the storm has extended to the ancient firm lands. Everything is in shock. Before, the limits of chaos were clear. «Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?» ( Job 38:11 )
Now the order that disposes the light of Christ for the life of the soul when… «separated the waters that were under the expansion of the waters that were on the expansion « has been truncated in a confused combination » Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness … « ( Isaiah 5:20) The dry land, separated from the disorder, helped us to build a certain rest. Now everything is questioned, everything is bent and there is nowhere to put one’s foot.
[su_note note_color=»#f9ded0″ radius=»6″]The world is liquid, and we saints must walk on the waves just as Christ or we will fall.[/su_note]
Moses knew what Israel lost by discarding the first covenant at Sinai, «would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets» ( Num 11:29 )
We can see a transformation in the direction of this dispensation. There is a process of being priests and priestesses towards the condition of kings and queens. What I say is difficult for me to explain.
There is a surrender of sovereignty to the members by the church. We govern the gospel more and more autonomously. I am not saying independence, but rather that this dispensation is initiating a «principalities» ( D & C 132: 13 ) over our «dominion» ( D & C 121: 46). But for that you have to walk on the waves of the sea, without a board. That coming of age brings us closer to the Savior.
When Jesus sent the multitude away, he caused his disciples to go forward as he went to the mountain to pray. When He finished, He was alone.
« But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. « ( Mt 14: 24-25 )
The disciples confuse him with a ghost, but he tells them: » Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. ( 27 )
When walking on the waves, he is not only showing his power, but he invites them to get out of the boat and do the same. He is showing how to reach his rest in the midst of the storm. By administering faith and witness alone. No need for a wooden plank under his feet. He is showing them that there is another way to deal with the raging waves of chaos. Like Moses » would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets»
Come, follow me
It is extraordinary to observe in time the unfolding of the restoration. The hatching of its forms, hidden in the beginning, shows us the coherence that has existed since Joseph went to pray in the forest. And Joseph was looking for a boat to board. Since then, all the Savior’s eagerness can be summed up in the answer to Peter, «Come» ( 29 )
The observer may notice through time how there is a gentle turn in the church. You will see that we are no longer so focused on the church but on Christ. Without giving up our history, we are creating a new one because «… all things shall become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth.» ( D & C 101: 25 )
You will observe, dear reader, the maturity of a people that walks towards its principality.
[su_note note_color=»#f9ded0″ radius=»6″]As Latter-day Saints, we have become accustomed to thinking of the «Church» as something that happens in our meeting centers, backed by what happens at home. We need an adjustment to this pattern. The time has come for a home-centered Church, supported by what happens inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings. Pter. Nelson[/su_note]
» Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.« ( Job 9: 8 )