by Narelle Atkins
Under Moses’ leadership, God rescued the Israelites from the harsh rule of Pharaoh in Egypt. Moses led the Israelites into the desert on their journey to Canaan, the land God had promised to Abraham and his descendents.
In Numbers 13 and 14, Moses appointed a leader from each of the tribes of Israel and sent them to explore the land of Canaan. Joshua (from the tribe of Ephraim) and Caleb (from the tribe of Judah) reported that the land was flowing with milk and honey. Caleb told Moses and the Israelites that they could take possession of the land but the leaders from the other tribes gave false reports to the people and stirred up unrest among the Israelites. They claimed the people of Canaan were too powerful and they didn’t believe they could conquer the land. Joshua and Caleb appealed to the Israelites to not be afraid of the people in Canaan because the Lord was with them.
God punished the Israelites for their unfaithfulness. He said that all males over the age of twenty, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, would die in the desert and not enter the promised land of Canaan.
The Israelites spent forty years roaming the desert and Moses died before the Israelites conquered Canaan. God appointed Joshua to take over from Moses as the leader of the Israelites. In Deuteronomy 31:23 God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous and promised He will be with Joshua as he leads the Israelites into Canaan.