Numbers 13:2, Send forth men, if you please (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash). The implication here is that Elohim gave Moses permission to send out the spies, but left the final decision up to him. This idea is confirmed in Deuteronomy 1:22 where Moses states that the idea to spy out the land came from the Israelites, not from YHVH. By allowing them to do this, it appears that YHVH was deliberately putting them to the test to see if they would trust him when he had already told them that Canaan was a good land and theirs for the taking with his help. Would they walk by faith in his word and promises or would they have to see the actual land before believing YHVH’s word?
When YHVH gives you a promise, do you have to see it come to pass before believing it, or are you able to simply begin taking steps of faith toward the fulfillment of the promises without actually seeing any tangible evidence of the end goal? What has YHVH promised you and what steps of faith have you taken toward possessing your spiritual “promised inheritance?” (Read the scriptural definition of faith in Heb 11:1.)
YHVH did not choose the twelve spies, the people did; hence, the name of this parashah, “Send for Yourselves.” When people choose their own leaders the failure rate is high—in this case ten of twelve leaders were faithless duds. Man-inspired and initiated efforts seldom produce lasting spiritual benefits. This effort ended in the faithless leaders shouting down those who had courage and faith. Do you act like Caleb and Joshua or one of the other ten spies in your spiritual approach to what YHVH has called you to do? Are you running upward and onward toward your spiritual inheritance, or are you holding back? Are you hearing the voice of YHVH’s Spirit so that you know what your personal spiritual marching orders are? Do you know how to hear his voice? If not, why not? Most of us sometimes act as Joshuas and Calebs and at times like the other ten spies. We tend to be inconsistent in our spiritual walk. What are you doing to become more like Joshua and Caleb?
Eighteenth-century Christian Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, in his comments on this passage, discusses the demerits of the people’s choice to search out the land of Canaan. He then compares the unbelief of the ten carnal spies with the doubt and unbelief in the walk of the believer. He notes that the motion to search out the land appears to have come from the people (see Deut 1:22). They had a better opinion of their own policy than of Elohim’s wisdom. Thus we ruin ourselves, he says, by believing the reports and representations of sense rather than of divine revelation. We walk by sight, not by faith (pp. 130–131, Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Moody Press).
What is “divine revelation?” One does not hear this concept often discussed. What is it and how does a born-again believer receive it? Henry continues, Difficulties that are in the way of salvation dwindle and vanish before a lively, active faith in the power and promise of Elohim. All things are possible, if they are promised, to him that believes, but carnal sense and carnal professors are not to be trusted. Unbelief overlooks the promises and power of Elohim, magnifies every danger and difficulty, and fills the heart with discouragement. May YHVH help us to believe! We shall then find that all things are possible through him who strengthens us (Ibid.)