The nation of Israel stood on the precipice of a new era. They had experienced the spiritual highs of the Red Sea escape from Egypt and the spiritual lows of the golden calf incident at the foot of Mt. Sinai. They had wandered in the wilderness for years and were now closing in the land God had promised. God instructed Moses to choose twelve men to explore the land of promise and report back to him.
The men Moses chose were all “leaders of the Israelites” (Num. 12:3). He chose Shammua, Shaphat, Caleb, Igal, Joshua, Palti, Gaddiel, Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, and Geuel. They were not a ragtag group but were the best and the brightest, the most capable men within Israel. Their mission was espionage. They were to cross over into enemy territory, scope out the land and its inhabitants, and determine whether the land was worth pursuing.
When the men returned from their task and debriefed with Moses, ten of the twelve spies convinced themselves and attempted to persuade others in the camp that “Operation Promised Land” was impossible. They were right. Apart from supernatural intervention the mission would be unattainable. But two of the men chose to look at the situation differently. These two brave men did not just see what was. They saw what could be. These were the only true leaders in the group. According to the writer of Scripture, the reason these two men could envision a God who would be involved and a God who would keep his promises was because they “followed the LORD wholeheartedly” (Num 32:12).
These two men trusted God completely. They knew their heavenly Father intimately and believed Him to be faithful to keep his promises. The possession of the land would not have happened were it not for the strength of God, and these two knew that. Because they followed God wholeheartedly, these two spies were able to exhibit courage when all their senses and emotions gave them every reason to fear and doubt.
Which two men were these? Joshua and Caleb, of course. They were probably the only names from the list above that you were able to pronounce. That’s because they were the only ones who are remembered to this day. Do you have children named Shammua or Geuel? I didn’t think so. But most all of us know someone named Joshua or Caleb. When we follow God wholeheartedly and trust Him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, we will leave a legacy of courage and faith.