Week of Monday, March 14 – Sunday, March 20
Recon Report – Man as Battle Buddy
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.” – Numbers 13:1-2 ESV
Reconnaissance missions. As one of the founding members of the Delta Force, I have done a ton of recon. As a commander of the Special Operations Forces, I have ordered my men to go out on numerous recon missions. The objective is fairly obvious: Scout out an area to locate the enemy, determine their troop strength and disposition, assess their defensive position with regard to possible vulnerabilities, and even suggest possible attack approaches for optimal chances of success. At the end of the mission, the recon team was to return with a report that contained actionable intelligence.
Similarly, God instructed Moses: “Send men to spy out the land” (v. 2). Twelve exceptional men were chosen to run this long-range recon mission into the promised land, which was then held by hostiles. They put forward their finest “Delta” or “Force Recon” or “SEAL” for this particularly dangerous operation behind enemy lines. The best of these twelve, a member of the tribe of Ephraim, was appointed as team leader: Joshua. The assistant team leader was Caleb. Their mission, essentially the same for all recon teams in every age, was to scout out the land—to evaluate its characteristics, appraise its strategic value, measure its military strength, and particularly assess its fortifications. They were to return with actionable intelligence regarding the land’s occupants, who would be their opponents. What a tremendous responsibility these twelve men carried. The future of the Jewish people rested with them and their subsequent ability to facilitate a successful conquest of the “promised land.” The question was whether they were up to the task and what kind of recon report they would bring back.
Their mission lasted for several weeks. However, ten members of that recon team lost their nerve by the time they returned to friendly lines. Seeing with their own eyes the intimidating numbers of indigenous defense forces, the daunting type of fortified cities, and the scary size of some of the enemy warriors, these ten hit the panic button, tucked tail, tapped out, and reported that God had given them a “mission impossible.” They declared: “We can’t do it . . . they are too strong . . . the land would swallow us up . . . they’re giants and we are only grasshoppers next to them” (see 13:28, 31–33). Not surprisingly, their report struck fear into the hearts of the entire nation of Israel.
However, two of the twelve—Joshua and Caleb—saw things differently, and they delivered a diametrically opposite, God-oriented, hope-filled, and confident report. Not only had God given them a “mission possible,” but a mission that would be successful. Consequently, Caleb boldly declared: ““Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it” (13:30). Caleb and Joshua had confidence in God and fed off each other’s courage. Just think how differently the history of Israel could have played out if Moses had sent only these two men and if their recon report had been received!

Caleb and Joshua stood together and encouraged the people to launch the invasion of Canaan immediately. What the ten sorely lacked, the two displayed big time. Joshua and Caleb were characterized by an unconquerable faith and fortitude. The reason? These men were united in their view of their great God, who made those fortified cities look vulnerable, fiery battles winnable, and a fierce enemy beatable—yes, even the giants.
No one remembers the names of guys like Plait, Shaphat, Gaddiel, or any of the ten naysayers, but we’re still naming our children after courageous Caleb and his battle buddy Joshua. Our culture is full of challenges not unlike those faced by ancient Israel, even some “giants” to be overcome. The need is for men of courage to stand together, confident in our God. Who will you pair up with to take on the giants?
  • Slide into the sandals of the Israeli recon team. Be honest. Given all that this team saw in enemy territory, would you have sided with the ten or the two? What can you do to become more like Joshua and Caleb?
  • As you assess the strategic position and strength of enemy (i.e., satanic) forces in your community and our culture, how important is it to pair up with a like-minded, same-souled man as a battle buddy? What can you do to inspire your battle buddy to courage and confidence in God?
  • Ask God to help you find, develop, and deepen a relationship with a battle buddy who will stand courageous with you.