I'd wager these Old Testament books are some of the least read, and studied, portions of scripture. Yet, I have found so much richness in here.
This time through (I read the Bible from start to finish each year), I was struck anew by an amazing, yet frequently brushed aside (if not ignored) character: Caleb. Though he really only pops up a few times in Scripture, he was quite an amazing guy.
You see, he was one of the original twelve spies to check out the Promised Land (see Numbers 13 for the details). Caleb was the other one, besides Joshua, who have the good report of the land and tried to convince his brethren to go take this wonderful land that God had given them, despite the other ten's discouragement and lack of faith.
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." Numbers 13:30-33And, as you know, the Israelites ignored Caleb's call to conquer, and were required to wander the desert for 40 years. Caleb, however, was blessed for his decision to trust the Lord.
The LORD replied, "I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times- not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Numbers 14:20-24So Caleb would not only be in the exclusive "enter the Promised Land club," But the very land he scouted would belong to his own descendants.
But he had to wait for his inheritance--for more than half of his life!
And during that time, his actions are rarely mentioned in scripture - his name comes up in lists, and notes of his faithfulness - but no other "action" for him - until Joshua chapter 14. And this is what amazes me. I'm just going to let the scripture speak for itself here, I think.
Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.' Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said." Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. Joshua 14:6-14Talk about an enduring faith! Eighty-five years old and ready to battle giants. And we complain about the trials God puts us through, and worry about making it through our own difficulties. And all he had to do is follow the Lord wholeheartedly. Oh, Lord, give me Caleb's faith, endurance, and love for You.
I'm really looking forward to May. I'll be doing some serious reading about Michal (daughter of Saul and wife of David), who will be the subject of my next work in progress. Plus, I'll be getting into the Psalms some, as well as my favorite gospel account - that of John. I LOVE reading my Bible first in the morning. It does AMAZING things for the rest of my day.
Thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to reading what other folks learned this month. Stop by this month's Kettle Club post to join me!