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The plan pleased me well; so I took twelve of your men, one man from each tribe. And they departed and went up into the mountains, and came to the Valley of Eshcol, and spied it out. (Deuteronomy 1:23-23)

Many have always assumed that God is the One who initiated the scouting mission executed by the twelve spies. In reality, it was the people who brought up the idea and then it was Moses who put his stamp of approval upon the venture. Please consider how they originally defined the mission — how to enter the land and reconnoiter the different cities they would encounter. It was not to determine IF they should enter the land. The former is what Moses consented to and what “pleased” him. However, we have to wonder whether or not the idea pleased God.

I pose this question because, in Hebrew, God’s words to Moses are literally translated as, “Send for yourself men.” In other words, “If you wish to do this, you send them.” As we know this mission did not end well. According to Moses, this idea led to four decades in the “great and dreadful wilderness,” perhaps because some of the spies were actually going to see IF they should enter the land as opposed to HOW. If that is the case, and if Moses did not discern that among those ten who brought an evil report, we can conclude that, at times, God will allow us to do what seems pleasing to us but not necessarily so with Him.

Perhaps in some way, that is why Moses related this account to those who were about to enter Canaan. In other words, by calling this incident to mind, he was encouraging them not to repeat the mistakes of the past, which included doing things regarded as permissible though not preferable. As for you and me, we really need to take this to heart because we all have a tendency to put God’s stamp of approval on what we want to do. By that I mean, we will convince ourselves that our will is God’s Will. It might be that, on occasion, God says, “Go ahead if that’s what you want to do.” But, things will be so much better in the end if we only do what He wants us to do; if we say only what He wants us to say. May it be that we truly become a people who can pray, “Not my will, but yours’ be done” and mean it.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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