Moses Chooses Twelve Spy Men to Scout Out the Promised Land

God instructed Moses to send a leader from each tribe to scout out the Promised Land. The spies spent 40 days touring the land and brought back a report.

Ten of the spies delivered a bad report that spread fear among the people. Only Caleb and Joshua offered a positive assessment.

What is the Bible?

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts that record the relationship between God and human beings for over 4,000 years. It is composed of 66 books, divided into two major sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The biblical narrative begins in the Book of Genesis, documenting God’s creation and His promise to Adam and Eve to bless them and their descendants. But after the Fall, sin entered the world and brought death and suffering. God’s judgment of that sin is recorded in the Book of Exodus, and the promise of a Savior to deliver people from their sin and its consequences is revealed in the Book of Isaiah and the New Testament.

The Bible reveals that the Savior is Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to pay for sin and to defeat death and Satan. Christians believe that if we trust in Him, we will be saved from sin and death and will live forever with Him.

What is the purpose of the Bible?

Moses Chooses Twelve Spy Men to Scout Out the Promised Land

When the twelve spies went out to scout the Promised Land, their mission was to find the way in, evaluate whether it would be possible for the Israelites to live there, and see how strong the inhabitants were. They were to take a sample of the fruits and report back to Moses.

The spies returned with good news. The land did indeed flow with milk and honey, as the Lord had promised. However, they also reported that the cities were very large and heavily fortified. Only Caleb encouraged the people to enter the land.

This was a great test of faith for the people. Those who did not trust in the Lord and follow His word could not survive in the Promised Land. God was merciful and relented from destroying all of them, but only because of the faith of Joshua and Caleb. The rest of the people were condemned to die in the wilderness.

What is the message of the Bible?

The main message of the Bible is that the one true God displays his glory primarily through redeeming and restoring his fallen creation by fulfilling his covenant promises and commands, in particular through the glorious person and atoning work of Jesus Christ. He is the Word become flesh, who reveals the mystery of God and reconciles us to himself.

Moses’ initial reaction to the people’s request for spies was negative, but he agreed to their plan after hearing from God. God’s instruction on how to send them was clear: from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a prince among them.

The spies were to survey the land, and they were to report back to Moses what they found. They would later divide the land between Israel’s twelve tribes. This initial survey was to help them determine whether God’s promise of Canaan as the land to which He was giving Israel was in fact true.


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