When the Israelites arrived at the border of their promised land (Canaan), God instructed Moses to select 12 leaders (or respected men) from the tribes to go and spy out the land. Joshua and Caleb were among the 12 men chosen to explore the land for 40 days.
Can you imagine how the children of Israel felt as they waited for their return? Would the land have good farm land and would good crops be growing? Would the people living there be strong and powerful or weak? I’m sure they were filled with anticipation! Finally the spies returned. They brought pomegranates and figs and one bunch of grapes so big that it took 2 men to carry it on a pole between them! Obviously there was food! But many of the spies brought a bad report. They said that while the land was good, it was filled with powerful people and fortified cities. They were afraid it would be hard to take the land. However Joshua and Caleb disagreed! They said that it could be taken because God was on their side.
So, who do you think the people listened to? Once again they focused on the negative and began to wish they had never left Egypt. Joshua and Caleb tried to convince them that God would give them victory, but they refused to believe. God decided to forgive the people’s unbelief and did not kill them all on the spot, however, He decided that none of the people over the age of 20 would be allowed to enter the Promised Land. They would be forced to wander the wilderness for 40 years until all the adults died. Only then would the children be allowed to enter and take control of Canaan. The 2 exceptions to this were Joshua and Caleb. Because they had faith and tried to convince the people to go forward, they would be rewarded with long lives and be allowed to enter Canaan. The other 10 spies, however, died of a plague shortly after.
Joshua and Caleb remind us that God rewards our faithfulness. Because they trusted in God’s ability to provide when the others didn’t, they received the reward of the Promised Land. Even though they both had to endure the hardship of 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, they had the promise of rewards to come. We have the same promise today. If we only remain faithful, we too will get a reward in the end (heaven). We are not promised an easy road, just joy at the end!!!
- Name something you had to wait a long time to get. Was it worth the wait? (Heaven is!!!!)
- Have you ever had to endure consequences, even though you weren’t the one who had done something wrong? (Maybe someone misbehaved in class and the whole class lost a privilege or someone on your team got a foul and made you lose the game.) How did you feel? How do you think Caleb and Joshua felt?