THe parsha of Shlach begins with Hashem giving permission to Moshe to send spies to scout out the land. Rashi immediately tells us that this was not a command, rather, if you wish, you my may send. The questions is what should the scout’s say. If they bring back a bad report, that will chill enthusiasm.
The Ramban fills out the story. Ramban states that Moshe put them in a bad position. First of all, we were already told that the land was good. So why does the torah claim that this mission is to determine whether the land if plentiful or not, or if the land’s inh was bitants are strong or not. It is already told to us that the land is good and we will inhabit it. Clearly Moshe’s is putting the scout’s in a bad situation. If they find bad, can they lie in order to keep the people enthused?
THe Ramban states that the whole point of any scouting expedition was to be like other nations on conquest. But the mission was to find a good place to attack, to figure out the method of conquest, rather than making qualitiative decisions.
The Shikker Dovid would like to weigh in on this. Really, did Moshe and the scouts not think that Gd and the cloud would lead them in the most expeditious and safe manner into the land. Did they think that Gd had not figured out a plan for the conquest. Did they think that they could do it better?
The answer is that the people wanted to be like other nations. THey wanted to feel self sufficient in the conquest. They wanted to shed the yoke of dependence on gd and lead their own destiny. While this independence is not inherently a bad thing, it also lead to a diminishment of faith and recognition that all things are the direct result of gd’s omnipotence.
THe ultimate work in our lives is to find a healthy balace between our own effors and recognition of our own accomplishments, while still giving deference and proper acknowthledgment that gd rules the world and ultimately determines direction and result of our conquests.