This week’s Torah portion is called ‘Hukkat’ meaning ‘regulation’. In reading this portion, I didn’t see a whole lot of regulations, compared to other portions. Instead I see one issue that stands out above all others – trust. And that got me to thinking that there must be a connection between trust and regulations.
But how can that be? When we look at the definitions for regulation and trust, they seem to be completely different from each other.
regulation: a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority.
trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
At first glance, these two nouns have nothing in common. But when we take a heavenly perspective, we see that firm belief in the reliability and strength of God speaks of firm belief in Him as the ultimate authority. And as the ultimate authority, whatever rule or directive He makes, He can maintain.
With this in mind, I read through the portion again and was amazed that Israel kept turning away from trusting in God after all that they saw Him do. Then God whispered in my ear, “Where was I?”
At first I answered, “You were in the midst of them.”
Then He nudged me to look again, and I realized that He was in the tent of meeting. When the people were complaining about being thirsty, Moses and Aaron went into the tent to talk with God. The people were outside. They didn’t see him constantly before them. They were very much like us today.
And that’s what got me thinking about myself and how much I must offend God by my lack of trust in Him.
For instance, I’m hosting a trip to Israel in November. As of right now, there aren’t enough people signed up for the trip. I’ve been losing sleep at night begging God to send the people; that whoever was supposed to go would sign up; that He would provide the funds for all who are supposed to go. Throughout the day I would think of the trip and start praying all over again.
Well one day my granddaughter overheard me praying and said, “Nonna, if God told you to take this trip, then it will happen.”
Can I tell you that sometimes I think of God as my El-Kabong? Who? You know, Quick Draw McGraw, that cartoon character of the 1960’s who stopped the bad guys with a swift smack of his guitar. Well, many times when I’m heading down the wrong path either physically, mentally or emotionally, God pulls out His big guitar and I hear the mighty sound of guitar strings hammering me upside the head. And it stops me dead in my tracks.
That’s what happened when my little granddaughter reminded me that I should trust God! And when I read the Torah portion, pointing my fingers at the Israelites, I realize that there are three fingers pointing right back at me.
So how does all this make trust a regulation?
First, in Hebrews 11 we learn that without trust it is not possible to please God, because whoever approaches Him must trust that He does exist and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Second, in Acts 17 we learn that God no longer puts up with people’s ignorance about Him, but He gave a directive: all people everywhere must turn to Him from sin. He warns that there is a day coming when He will judge the world through one man and has given proof that this will happen by raising that man from the dead.
So as I see it, trust is a regulation. And it always had been because trust is a huge issue with God. It’s so big that lack of it kept Moses and Aaron out of the Promised Land!
When we look at the story of the water issuing out of the rock, we tend to think, “What’s the big deal?”
The big deal is that when we display our trust in God, it causes people to understand that God is holy. It helps them see that He is not like us, but He is reliable and has all authority. (Numbers 20:12)
So I have to ask myself – do I really believe this? Do I obey God’s rule of trust?