“Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel.” Joshua 14:14
Caleb isn’t the most well-known name in the Bible. His story is one of disappointment and dreams deferred, yet Caleb is a powerful example of perseverance, faith, and finishing strong. We read about Caleb and Joshua in the Old Testament book of Numbers.
God commanded Moses to send out 12 spies (one from each of the tribes of Israel) to the land of Canaan, the land God had promised the Israelites when He led them out of slavery from Egypt. After 40 days, the 12 spies returned and brought back a report of the land that they had just scouted out. All 12 agreed that the land was good, really good. However, the agreement stopped there. The spies other than Caleb and Joshua focused on the size of the enemy they found there, rather than on the promise that God had given them that the land would be theirs. The 10 spies’ negative report shook up the people to the point where they decided it might be better to go back to Egypt.
Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb were angry and frustrated. In spite of that, Joshua and Caleb tried to encourage the discouraged Israelites. “They said to the whole community of Israel, “The land we explored is very good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us. This is a land flowing with milk and honey! Don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. We will devour them like bread. They have no protection, and the Lord is with us. So don’t be afraid of them.” (Number 14:7-9)
Caleb and Joshua were so confident in the promise God had given to them, that the large stature of the enemy seemed insignificant to them. They knew God had promised this land to them and they knew that God was with them which would have led to their victory.
Forty years later and at 85 years old, Joshua led the people into the promised land. Caleb had every right to let the years of waiting and disappointment make him bitter and cynical. After all, Caleb had the faith to move ahead when the majority did not. As a result, Caleb also suffered in the wilderness for forty years – waiting. But Caleb demonstrated an eagerness and confidence as he prepared to step into the promised land. Caleb kept his eyes on God rather than on the challenges in front of him. Even when life didn’t go as planned, Caleb held onto his faith. So when Joshua offered him an opportunity to overcome the toughest enemy in the promised land, he said, “…if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.” (Numbers 14:12)
There’s no better time than right now to begin walking with God. Because a strong finish begins with a strong faith. So, why don’t you make that faith decision and start today? Who knows? You may be conquering huge challenges at 85, just like Caleb.
- Are you putting God first in your life like Caleb? In what areas has God tested you in this?
- What do we need to do differently to follow God wholeheartedly?