“Caleb, Man of Courage and Humility”

One can come to the service, intensely aware of all your sin, hardness of heart, and desperately thirsty for God. Then this song, “just as I am”, is very appropriate. If that’s how you came to the service then your thirst will be quenched.

Joshua 14

6 Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea. 7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God. 9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God.

10 And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. 12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.

13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. 14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel. 15 And the name of Hebron before was Kirjatharba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.

Caleb didn’t give a positive report because he wanted to impress anyone but he spoke from his heart; he spoke as it was deep in his heart.

Caleb was most probably not of Israeli decent. He was a Kenizzite. Kenaz was one of the sons of Esau. So it appears that he was a descendent of Esau and they were the enemies of the Israelites. So he must have known what it means to break ranks with his people in order to become a child of the nation of God.

Every person who wants to follow God has to know this mystery and secret. You must know what it means to turn your back on your own people who do not follow God wholeheartedly. If you and I want to follow God we must go through this process to turn our backs on our closest relatives who are friends with the world. Just imagine how his people must have looked down on him as a traitor. Don’t be surprised if those who love the world do the same with you if you want to follow the Lord wholeheartedly. That’s maybe also why he could break ranks with the ten spies, for he spoke from his heart and conviction and weren’t persuaded by the peer pressure of those who didn’t love and trust God with all of their heart.

Caleb was like Ruth and Rahab the harlot who hid the spies of Israel, and became part of God’s people, though not of Israeli descent.

Caleb was also willing to wait until all the children of Israel had received their inheritance before he asked for his portion. The only portion of land left was Hebron, which nobody wanted, where the giants were who had chariots of iron. He fought with all the others until all had received their portion and then he went and asked for the most difficult land.

He was brave, humble and wise. He was an amazing man.

Just read the way he said it, “if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.” Some would call this unbelief. No, it wasn’t unbelief, but he was intensely aware of his reliance upon the Lord in everything. Caleb spoke in faith after he stood back for everyone else to receive their land. After all their wanderings in the wilderness he still trusted in hope that it would be even as God had said.

For forty years they wandered in the wilderness and they didn’t receive the promise. It was easy to doubt but not so with Caleb.

Their sin caused them to wander in the wilderness. Sin keeps back God’s promises from going into fulfilment in your life. And so it also burdens you to make it more difficult to believe.

You and I have bigger giants in our lives to overcome than the Anakims. Greed and selfishness are huge giants in the life of each child of God. Do you claim the promises of God in a selfish way or a selfless way?

The love of ease and comfort is another giant. Some Christians want to fight their battles when and where it suits them. They blame everyone else for why they cannot overcome. Your biggest battles in the Christian life will come at a time you can least afford it. That’s where you must overcome.

There’s also the giant of lust, where another person of the opposite sex can appear so attractive. You might feel you’ve never met such a perfect person in your life. But if you don’t overcome this giant it will hold you back in your spiritual life so that you won’t reach the promised land.

Then there’s the giant of pride. It’s the biggest reason people are easily hurt. It’s also one of the biggest reasons Christians don’t make progress spiritually.

Sin is a terrible thing in a Christian’s life.

There are times when we have to wait and it test our faith. Patience is an integral part of faith. Caleb kept the faith through patience all that time in the wilderness. When we wait we are tempted to become despondent.

In a Russian church where they lived under communist rule, they asked the government for a piece of land. They gave them a piece of land in a swamp. But the Christians weren’t upset. They were happy.

When they investigated they found that the swamp was only 1m deep, and below was solid rock; that’s why the swamp formed for the water couldn’t drain into the ground. They led the water away with furrows and built on top of the rock.

They also asked the government for bricks and the government told them they could use the bricks of an old army barracks. As they cleaned the bricks one by one they found a bottle with a letter inside. It was a letter signed by thirty Christians who had to break down their church in Poland to build the army barracks and their prayer was that one day God would grant the same bricks to be used to build a church again! God is faithful.

Caleb fought with all his heart so that the others could receive their land with the possibility that he would be killed and never receive his own. He did not have selfish ambition. Selfish ambition paralyses our work for God.

There are certain things in life for which there is no law but your attitude will determine what you do. If your attitude is right towards God and your brethren then God will guide you by His spirit what to do.

Listen to Caleb’s thankful answer when he speaks about God keeping him for the forty years in the wilderness. He had no sharp words of bitterness that he had to wander forty years in the wilderness because of the sin of the others!

Once you forget where you come from and from what you were saved it’s the beginning of the end. Remember what Jesus did to save you and me!