I want to give you a brief history lesson. After about a year camped at the base of Mt. Sinai, Moses lead the people to the oasis of Kadesh-Barnea [Numbers 10, 11]. Kadesh was on the southern border of the land of Canaan (the land they had been sent to claim). It was a pretty rough area and a very difficult place to live.
Now, they had already traveled over some rough, rocky, dry, scorching, terrain — and the people grumbled the whole time. Now a little more than fifteen months into their journey to the Land God had promised them, tempers were short. They didn’t feel they could stand much more. (Little did they know what was ahead of them!) Moses’ sister Miryam, one of his strongest supporters, wondered aloud if God and Moses have a clue what they are doing. THAT was a BIG mistake! She was struck with Leprosy for her sin of contempt and disbelief [Numbers 12]. Like I said, it was rough living . . .
However, once they arrived at Kadesh, Moses immediately sent spies to scout out the land, knowing full well the promised land, Canaan, was inhabited by people who wouldn’t be excited about having three million uninvited foreigners showing up on their doorsteps [Numbers 13, 14]. But the reason was that Moses wanted to know what they were up against.
So he sends out twelve spies, one from each tribe. The problem is they return with conflicting stories. Ten of the spies said that, yes, the land was everything God had promised it would be, the inhabitants were big, strong, and well-armed! They believed it would be suicide to engage them in battle. However, Joshua, who was a member of the tribe of Ephraim, and Caleb, who was from the tribe of Judah, had a completely different point of view. They truly believed the Israelites should attack and do it immediately. And more importantly, stand on Yahweh’s promise of victory — and I’ll tell you now, those are my kind of guys!!
It might interest you to know that, it would be the tribes of Ephraim and Judah who would later become dominant over the other tribes of Israel, and, note this: they would be the two tribes that Jacob would bless with the firstborn blessing to become the leaders of Israel!
See? Being bold and courageous are always rewarded in Yahweh’s Kingdom! Here’s what I’m getting at. Caleb, whose name means “forcible, fortitude,” symbolizes a Christian who goes all the way! He was inseparable from Joshua (who symbolizes Christ), and represents someone who continually walks with the Lord! Again, these are the kinds of guys I want to be with!
Now Caleb had traveled with the spies into Jordan, and while he was there, he was drawn by the Holy Spirit to Hebron — or “the place of death.” With awe, he climbed that hallowed mountain and faith flooded his soul. This is where Abraham and Sarah were buried, as were Isaac and Jacob! Years later, David’s kingdom would begin there. Caleb prized that hallowed place! From that time on he wanted Hebron for his own possession.
Coincidentally (if you accept coincidences), Caleb and Joshua were the only ones of that generation who lived long enough to possess God’s promised land. It was said of Caleb that “because he had a different Spirit with him, he has fully followed me [the Lord]” (Numbers 14:24). He never wavered, even to the very end! As you know, you can’t say that about most of your comrades in church! Shoot, even Solomon wavered as he grew older and “he no longer pursued the Lord.” But at 85 years of age, Caleb could declare:
“I am as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me. I am as strong now as I was then, for war, or for anything” (Joshua 14:11)
Bravo! Imagine that! At 85 Caleb waged his greatest battle!
“So now give me this hill country (Hebron) the Lord spoke about on that day. For you heard then that big powerful men were there, with strong cities with high walls. If the Lord will be with me, I will drive them out just as the Lord said” (Joshua 14:12)
Absolutely! Then what?
“So Joshua prayed that God would favor him. And he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his share. Hebron became the land of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day. [Why?] Because he followed the Lord God of Israel with all his heart” (Joshua 14:13-14).
Oh, man! I don’t care what your motivational preacher tells you, it is not enough to have died to sin — to have entered fullness sometime in the past. It doesn’t matter how Holy and pure and dedicated you used to be. We need is to continue our walk of faith and to grow in the Lord to our very end! We need to keep our spiritual power and strength — to not waver, to “wholly follow the Lord” — even in old age! Our faith should be an ever-increasing faith!
Hebron, Caleb’s inheritance, means “a company associated.” Associated with what? The answer is, “with death.” Not only with the death in Jordan to sin, but to also remain committed to a company of people, a community, of fellow believers who are associated with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! You may not realize this, but Abraham has built an altar to sacrifice his son on Hebron, and this was where Caleb and his family lived! Do you understand what I am saying? They lived, continually associated with that altar of living sacrifice!
Caleb’s wholeheartedness for the Lord produced a holy fire for God in his children. While the children of the two and a half tribes living in the middle ground turned away and embraced the world and its idolatry, Caleb’s family grew stronger in the Lord!
How about you? How about you and your family? Joshua said it best:
“. . . even if you don’t want to serve Yahweh, then choose today whom you will serve. Even if you choose other gods . . . my family and I will still serve Yahweh!” (Joshua 24:15)
Go ahead and pray about that:
Wow Father, that’s how I want you to see me! I desire to be wholly devoted to you. I love you, Lord; you are my strength; my rock, my fortress, and my savior. You are my rock, in whom I find protection. You are my shield, the power that saves me, and always my place of safety. I called on you because you are worthy of praise, and you saved me from my enemies (Psalm 18:1-3). Be Gloried, this morning, Lord. Be Glorified.
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