Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.”
- from Joshua 2:1
The people of Israel camped near the Jordan River, just across from the land that the Lord had promised them. A buzz ran through the camp as news spread that they would cross the river any day now. Speculation about the adventure would have run rampant: “When will it happen? What will it be like? How’s it going to go?”
Today’s passage gives us a peek into the leader’s tent during this time of great excitement. We see Joshua pull aside two men from the community and send them as spies into the land. Joshua asked these men to risk their lives. And he did this secretly.
This passage echoes an event that happened a generation earlier, when Moses sent twelve spies across the Jordan River. Joshua would have remembered that event because he was one of the spies. Of the twelve spies, ten of them lost faith during the mission and spread fear throughout the Israelite camp upon their return. The community suffered as a result. Only Joshua and Caleb remained confident that the Lord could give them the promised land.
Joshua knew he was taking a risk in sending the spies. He risked repeating the painful experiences of the past. He risked losing control of the mission. He risked hearing bad news. But he took the risk anyways.
The path to the Lord’s promise is always paved with risk. Whether you’re building a family, a business, or a worship center, if God has called you to do it don’t be surprised when he asks you to stick your neck out.
Risks come in different forms. Some place you behind enemy lines. Others put things into motion that you then can no longer control. But in these risks we find an opportunity to trust God. We trust him to make our future different from our past. We trust him to protect us in uncertain times. We trust him to keep his promises.
Where are you actively taking risks as you follow the Lord? Where are you getting to exercise trust?