In Numbers 13-14, God commands Moses to send twelve spies into the Promised Land. Their mission is to explore and assess the land, its inhabitants, and its fruits so that the Israelites could be confident that it was the Promised Land. These twelve men, known as “the Twelve Spies,” were chosen from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
BIBLE READING: Numbers 13-14
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BIBLE STUDY NOTES FOR TEENS
BACKGROUND TO THE PASSAGE
At this point, the Israelites had been out of Egypt for about a year. They had travelled and camped in the desert for eleven months before sending out the spies. During this time, God had provided for them and led them by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.
The twelve spies covered a significant distance within their 40-day mission, likely between 500 and 600 miles crossing the land. They looked at different places in Canaan to see what kinds of defences and resources were there.
According to the twelve spies, the pros of entering the Promised Land included abundant food and resources (Numbers 13:27) and a variety of terrains (Numbers 13:29). Yet, on the other hand, they also warned of potential dangers and difficulties, such as powerful walled cities fortified with chariots and infantry (Numbers 13:28), heavily armed warriors (Numbers 13:32-33), and powerful Amorite kings (Numbers 14:9).
The reactions of the twelve spies ultimately led to conflict between two different camps within the Israelites. Ten spies responded in fear, saying it was impossible to conquer the land. They were so afraid that they even suggested returning to Egypt instead (Numbers 14:3).
However, two spies, Joshua and Caleb, encouraged the people not to fear and promised that with God on their side, they would be able to take possession of the land (Numbers 14:6-9).
Unfortunately, their message was not listened to, and the people sided with the other spies. As a result, God condemned them to wander in the wilderness for forty years before they could enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:20-38).
- 1. TRUST IN GOD’S PROMISES – NUMBERS 13-14
- 2. SPEAK OUT FOR GOD EVEN WHEN OTHERS DOUBT – NUMBERS 13:30
- 3. WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT – 2 CORINTHIANS 5:7
- 4. THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT TRUSTING GOD – NUMBERS 14:26-35
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YOUTH GAMES AND ACTIVITIES – The Twelve Spies
- Divide the group into two teams, with one team representing Caleb and Joshua and the other representing the ten fearful spies.
- Pick a topic relating to life.
- Have a friendly debate or discussion about whether to trust in God’s promises about the pros and cons.
- Be sure to emphases the importance of trusting God’s Word in guiding our decisions.
- Reflect on what the Bible says about the matter being discussed.
PROMISE LAND MURAL
Have the youth group work together to create a large mural or collage depicting the Promised Land, based on the descriptions found in the Bible.
- Large clusters of grapes (Numbers 13:23)
- Figs and pomegranates (Numbers 13:23)
- Lush, fertile land (Numbers 13:27)
- Walled cities (Numbers 13:28)
- Giants (Numbers 13:33)
- Diverse terrains (Numbers 13:29)
- Various tribes (Numbers 13:29)
GUESS WHAT I SAW
In this game players must guess the word on the card based on the descriptions given by one of their teammates, without using certain words related to the main word. Example cards included in download.