Jos 14:8-12 NKJV
(8) Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the LORD my God.
(9) 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.’
(10) And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old.
(11) 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.
(12) 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.”
I’m sure many people have their own thoughts and reflections concerning how Caleb was one of the two spies who gave a good report. Here are some of mine:
Caleb proclaimed that he followed God wholeheartedly. What does that mean, “wholeheartedly”? We might simply say it means doing something to the best of our abilities, with sincerity and ardor. But that doesn’t encompass everything that Caleb went through. To me, from Caleb’s perspective, it also means bending our sincerity, passion, and fervor, into submission and patience. Whatever God’s decision or will may be, we should wholeheartedly accept it.
From Caleb’s experience, that meant wandering another 40 years in the desert because his peers lacked faith. That meant watching the rest of his generation die as punishment. That meant waiting 45 years before getting what was promised to him, namely the land of Hebron.
Last night while I was listening in on RUCF, someone shared how Caleb and Joshua, the two spies who gave good reports, could have chosen to separate from the Israelites. They had full faith in God that they could drive out the Canaanites. They could have easily asked, “Why must we suffer with those who doubted?” But instead, they chose to remain united with the people of God, even though they were faithless. They submitted to God’s decision, His word. This is in contrast with the general trend today, which is often to rationalize our way out of things rather than be rooted in the Bible, even if our faith is strong and our heart has good intentions.
Another thing that stuck out to me about Caleb’s faith was that it was tireless. So many years in the wilderness and yet he said he was just as strong and motivated as he was when he first went out to spy the land of Canaan. He still believed he could drive out the Anakim on his own, and in fact, he did (Joshua 15).
When people get older they have the tendency to become more “realistic, pragmatic, down-to-earth, ” etc. Even for myself, I can tell that my faith just 5-6 years ago was much simpler and more hopeful. Many things I believed in during high school I find myself now discounting as too idealistic. But Caleb, after 45 years, was just as confident as he was before, and God rewarded him. What good is faith if it doesn’t have hope for greater and higher feats?
Caleb was around 85 when he received his inheritance, and even then he had to fight for it. Now that is a soldier of Christ.
May we also develop a tireless faith in our servitude.