Joshua 14:6- Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, said to him: “You know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea. NKJV
Lately, it seems that Caleb keeps coming up! Once a forgotten hero of the faith, and now being heralded as a strong man of faith. This blog will look at Caleb’s unwavering faith in God, who cannot lie!
In the opening verse of chapter 14, Caleb approaches Joshua, and the first thing he does is remind Joshua of the promise God made to them through Moses.
“You know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea.Joshua 14:6b NKJV
Forty-five years had passed since that day in Kadesh Barnea, and a lot had happened. But what had not happened was the fulfillment of God’s word to Caleb! Joshua was walking in his promise, and the children of Israel possessed their promise, but the promise to Caleb was unfulfilled.
Caleb was a faithful servant to the Lord. He was a leader in his own right amongst the children of Israel. When they were camped in Kadesh Barnea, Caleb and Joshua were chosen to go with ten other men to check out the land of Canaan. And when they returned, they had a lot to report.
All of the men agreed that the land was as God had promised. It was a land flowing with milk and honey, a saying that meant it was a rich and fruitful land of abundance. But they walked away with two different opinions. Ten of the men believed that the land was unconquerable because there were giants in the land. Caleb and Joshua were ready to gear up for battle and take possession of the land. Sadly, they were outnumbered, and the children of Israel wanted to flee back to Egypt!
God was not pleased! He had brought them to Canaan to possess it, and they didn’t believe He could give it to them. In response to their rebellion and unbelief, every man from twenty years old and above, except Moses, Caleb, and Joshua, died in the wilderness. And God promised Caleb and Joshua that they would possess the land in forty years!
Forty years! They believed what God said that day, so why would they have to wait another forty years? They were the leaders of the children of Israel. All the men over forty were going to die, so all the children needed time to grow up to be ready for battle. It doesn’t seem fair, but that is what happened. Although Caleb’s heart was totally devoted to God, he had to wander for forty years in the desert.
But this delay didn’t cause Caleb to grow bitter. It didn’t cause Caleb to fall out with God and say it wasn’t fair because Caleb was a warrior and a team player.
I remember when I was in BootCamp, and we all got punished because we failed the barracks inspection. Personally, I believed it was more of a display of power than it was that we had actually failed. However, one of the girls in the company yelled out that it wasn’t fair! The officer in charge walked over to her and asked her to repeat herself, and she did. Then the officer told her that the military was not about the individual but the whole. If one person causes a thing to go awry it affects the entire unit. Therefore, we pass together, and we fail together. Then we were all punished together and had to do it again. We passed the next time because everyone worked together to ensure everything was in order. And we learned a valuable lesson about teamwork!
As Caleb stands before Joshua, he reminds Joshua of the promise that God made to him because he had served God with his whole heart:
So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’Joshua 14:9 NKJV
People struggle with the promises of God because it seems that so many of them go unanswered because of delay. If things don’t happen within what we feel is a reasonable amount of time, we become disappointed, disheartened, and in many cases, we give up. Although we know that Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac, we become discouraged. Even though Mary and Martha sent for Jesus, and He came four days after Lazarus was dead, in the tomb and stinking, and Jesus resurrected him, we don’t want to wait. We don’t want dead situations that need to be resurrected. We don’t want Isaac when we can have Ishmael. We don’t want to trust when it seems like there is nothing to trust in.
Yet, Caleb did! And during those forty-five years between the promise and the fulfillment of God’s word to him, he wholly served the Lord!
I’m not saying that this isn’t a hard place! I know from experience that it is a challenging time. But it’s at this time that we must decide to continue to follow the Lord with our whole hearts!
I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”Joshua 14:10-13 NKJV
There is so much in this chapter, even in these verses. Out of Caleb’s mouth came words of faith:
- I am eighty-five years old, but I am as strong today as I was when I was forty!
- I still have the strength to go to war!
- Give me this mountain!
- I still believe that I can take it and drive out the giants!
- I still believe that as God was with us forty years ago to possess the land, He’s still with me!
What promise has God made to you today? Has it been a long time since He spoke it? Has it been so long that it’s dead and stinking? You must decide if you still believe! No one can determine that for you!
It may be time to tell God to give you your mountain! Despite opposition, trouble, disappointments, or difficulties, if you still believe, you are well able to conquer them and take the hill country! I still believe! Wonderful Jesus!