If your life is anything like mine, then you have to deal with traffic. If you live in Denver, then I know you’ve had to deal with this. Thirty minutes, twice a day. To and from work. Get up, do it again. This can seem like wasted time, listening to music or talk radio or getting caught up on the Broncos news of the day. Over the past month, I’ve decided to do something different. I felt a tugging at my heart that I needed more Bible in my life. How was I going to accomplish this, with work and school and kids? Then it struck me: I have the Bible Gateway app on my phone, and it has free audio. So for the past two months, I’ve been listening to the Bible on the way to work, and the Lord has blessed me through it. Almost every week there is a time when I am so struck by what I’ve heard that I start tearing up and crying in my car. It’s been the inspiration for most of my posts. If you’re in need of a blessing, let the Lord speak to your heart through His word. He has promised that His word will not return empty.
I’m currently in the book of Joshua, and what struck me this week was the story of Caleb. Allow me to share about him, if you are unaware. When the Lord first led the children of Israel out of Egypt, they went directly to the Promised Land. Moses instructed them to send spies into the land of Canaan and to report back what they found. What they found terrified most of the men: Walled cities, and men who were giants: “We looked like grasshoppers next to them” Numbers 13:33. Everything seemed to be large, they took one cluster of grapes from a vine and two men had to carry it on a pole between them. The people were terrified, so much so that they wanted to return and be slaves in Egypt. Only two men gave a good report: Joshua and Caleb. When everyone else was scared senseless, Caleb said:
“The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” Numbers 19:8-9
They were the only two who trusted that the Lord could do what He said He would do. Giants? Who cares about giants? We have the Lord God Almighty! Because of the faithlessness of the people, God did not allow them to enter into the land until all the fighting men aged 20 or more had died – and thus began the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Of all the men of that generation, only Caleb and Joshua were allowed to enter into the land of promise – but the story doesn’t end there.
Forty years later, after Israel had begun to possess the land of Canaan, Caleb comes before Joshua, who is now the leader, and says this:
“Remember what the Lord said to Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. So that day Moses solemnly promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’
“Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak (the giants everyone was afraid of) living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.” Joshua 14:7-12.
Caleb is now 85 years old! He’s probably the oldest living man in Israel at that time! Yet, he’s spent his time fighting his way through the Promised Land, and now he requests his portion of the land. What portion does he request? The pleasant valley that’s already been cleared? No! He requests the mountain where the giants live in great walled cities! He asks for the hardest land with the toughest people living in it, and trusts that if the Lord is with him that he will succeed. Would I have made that decision? Probably not. Lord, please give me the courage to trust you and the faith to run at giants full tilt, secure in your strength. May I run and not grow weary, Lord. May we do hard things in your name. May your word break our hearts and turn us to you.