The book of Deuteronomy is a sort of recap of the last 40 years in the wilderness. It’s the first day of the 11th month. That would be in January or February on our modern calendar. Moses is giving a speech. The whole book is Moses talking to the next generation of Israelites. In fact, in this first chapter, Moses tells the story of when they refused to enter the Promised Land and were sentenced to die in the wilderness. It’s after that point we find ourselves in the story. That generation has died off and it’s time for the next generation to enter the land God is giving them. They will go in with new leadership as well. Joshua will be going in the place of Moses.
Moses tells the stories as he sees them. He talks to the Israelites, saying “you,” as in you refused to obey God’s order to go into the land, even though it was their parents who did the refusing. It reminds me of Peter on Pentecost calling into the crowd, “You put Jesus to death.”
Moses tells them how their parents wanted to send spies into the land. Moses says he thought it was a good idea, so he did it, and that, of course, was the fateful moment of unbelief that sent the Israelites into 40 years of trial and tribulation in the wilderness. They were following human wisdom.
There’s nothing wrong with wisdom. Wisdom is wise. The book of Proverbs is partly human wisdom, observations about the world.
When does human wisdom go wrong? When it’s the end all, be all. When it’s the thing you are obeying and submitting to. The human brain is not something to be worshipped. I have heard Christians say that God gave us our minds and logic so we can use them to know what God wants us to do. That’s only true if we are also submitting our minds and intellect to God. The human intellect thought up racial supremacy based on human reasoning built on the scientific reasoning behind natural selection and survival of the fittest. Humans are flawed.
It could have been just fine to send in spies. They came back saying it’s a great land. It could have encouraged everyone to go into the land. But they were missing something. They were obeying their own minds, being their own gods, deciding for themselves what was best. Wisdom is only wise in God’s hands.
Submit your mind to God. Love the Lord your God with all your mind!