The Israelites were at the cusp of the promised land once more. Forty years before, twelve spies, including Joshua, had gone into the land. Ten of those spies had returned declaring that Israel could not conquer the land. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, trusted in God. Now these two men were leading the next generation of Israelites into the land, and their first step was to send spies into the land once again. But that was where the similarities ended. This time it would not be twelve spies but two. And this time the spies’ mission was not to scout the land to help determine the probability of victory but to scout the land, namely Jericho, to help determine a strategy for victory. The victory had been promised by God, and this time the Israelites would enter the land in a posture of trust.
In this passage, we are reminded that actions can be misleading. Both Moses’ generation and Joshua’s generation of Israelites began with the same action—from the outside they looked to be mirroring one another. However, the intent of their actions was very different. At best, the intent of Moses’ spies was to act for faith—to find evidence that would help them develop trust in God. The intent of Joshua’s spies, on the other hand, was to act from faith—to find what God had given them and perhaps how He had given it to them. Similar actions; different motivations. One scouting trip was done honoring God, the other rebelling against Him.
When have your actions seemed right from the outside but performed with the wrong intentions or motivations? What happened?