Spies in Canaan
God had led the people of Israel out of Egypt and led them to Canaan – the land that God had promised Abraham many years before.
Moses chose a group of twelve men – one from each of the 12 tribes of Israel to go into Canaan.
Find out whether there are many people of few. Are they weak or are they strong? What are the cities like, and find out about their farms. Bring back part of the fruit you find.
The twelve spies returned. They all agreed that the land was fertile. The grapes grew so large they carried a cluster of grapes on a pole between two men. The land is flowing with milk and honey, That meant that it could easily feed all of God’s people.
Then the men started to disagree. Joshua and Caleb were ready to lead the warriors into the land to conquer the people there and take possession of the land. The other ten men showed fear. The people live in cities behind strong walls. Some of the men are like giants. They are so big – they make us look like grasshoppers.
“God will help us defeat our enemies,” said Joshua and Caleb.
But the ten other spies had scared the people so bad that the people began to throw stones at Joshua and Caleb.
The voice of God called out, “What more do I need to do to prove myself to you? Maybe I should send a disaster upon you and disown you?”
Moses begged God to forgive them. And once again, the Lord was generous to the people of Israel. He did not hurt the people… But God said because you doubted me – you will wander on the wilderness until all the people who had not trusted Him had died. Joshua and Caleb would be the only ones of the original twelve spies who got to enter the Promised Land.
So the people of Israel turned away from Canaan and went back into the wilderness.
Forty years passed. The ten spies who had been afraid and all the people who had doubted God had all died by then. By then Moses had died, and Joshua led God’s people as they prepared again to enter Canaan. Moses spoke to the people before appointing Joshua as their new leader. “Be strong and of good courage. You WILL enter the land that God has promised. God will be with you. Do not be afraid.
Joshua knew if the land was to be conquered, the strongest city, Jericho, would have to be defeated. So he sent two spies into the city. They crossed the River Jordon and entered at the city gate. They pretended to be travelers. The walls of the city were tall and strong. They were so wide that businesses were built against the walls and on top of the walls. The two men stopped at an Inn owned by a woman named Rahaab. The two were seen by the king’s own spies. Soon the king’s guards were pounding on the doors demanding to know where the spies were.
Rahaab lied for the men and said they had already gone out the gate. She took the two spies to the roof and hid them under flax – a plant that looked like straw. When the soldiers were gone – she uncovered the spies. I know about you and your people and your God. We know you will win when you come to the city to fight. When you come back – please spare my family and me.
The spies said when the attack comes – bring your family to this room and stay in it. Put a red chord in the window – so our soldiers will recognize you and spare your lives.
Rahaab lowered the two men down the wall with a rope where they hid three days in the hills before going back to give their report to Joshua.
You know the story about how God brought down the walls of Jericho. You may not know that all the people of Jericho were killed in the attack after the walls fell except for Rahaab and her family.