From Joshua 12-15
Caleb had to wait a long time to receive what was promised him. More than forty years in fact. Yet even after all that time he was confident in the LORD to win his battles. He wholly followed the LORD all his life. Will you commit yourself to following the LORD as Caleb did?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The LORD has won many battles through Israel since coming into the promised land. Joshua and Caleb are what remains of the generation of Israel that was delivered from Egypt and wandered in the wilderness. Now they are old and are looking for a place to settle.
6 Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. 8 But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD my God. (Josh 14.6-8)
Caleb and his tribe (Judah) approach Joshua with a request. They want something already promised to them.
He recalls his earlier mission to spy on the land of Canaan (Num 13). Only he and Joshua were willing to go in and take the land because they trusted in the LORD. The others feared the inhabitants and discouraged the people.
Caleb says in contrast to them he wholly followed the LORD. What does it mean to wholly follow the LORD?
9 And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’ (Josh 14.9)
In response to Caleb’s faithfulness Moses blessed him and his children with the land he discovered.
After the wilderness wanderings and all the battles they have now won Caleb has asked for what has been promised to him.
10 And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. (Josh 14.10-11)
Caleb had to wait a long time to receive the promised land. He waited because of the previous generations unbelief.
How would you feel if you had to wait such a long time because of other people’s unbelief?
Yet the LORD has been with him. He has retained his strength and power for all that time. This strength he needed for battle and travel.
12 So now give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.” (Josh 14.12)
The Anakim were the giants the men feared earlier. Caleb however trusts in the LORD. He is confident they will be victorious because the LORD fights for them.
Caleb’s confidence in the LORD has not diminished over his long life. How can you maintain your confidence in him?
13 Then Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14 Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the LORD, the God of Israel. 15 Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba. (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.) And the land had rest from war. (Josh 14.13-15)
Joshua grants to Caleb and the tribe of Judah what Moses promised them. He did so because he agreed Caleb wholly followed the LORD the God of Israel.
No further report was given about Caleb and the tribe of Judah taking over their land. We can only assume they were successful because the LORD was with them. Caleb is one example of a faithful man among and unbelieving generation.
In the gospel, the LORD worked through several people to prepare for the coming of his son, Jesus Christ.
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.
7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. ” (Lk 1.5-15)
Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were both righteous and blameless before the LORD. But they did not have any children. They prayed and were heard by the LORD.
Sometimes people remain faithful to the LORD all their lives but are unable to bear children. Their lack of children does not mean they have sinned and the LORD is angry at them.
In Zechariah and Elizabeth’s case the LORD determined that they would bear a son. A great blessing for women in their culture. Their son would be John the Baptist and he would prepare the way for the Christ.
In both Caleb’s and their cases they had to wait on the LORD and remain faithful. Some receive blessings in this age. All God’s people will be blessed when he returns.
This is our challenge: to wholly follow the LORD all our days.
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