Fight to the Very End: Life of Caleb
We all like to have an example to strive for in our lives. As Christians, the people of the Bible are like windows into our souls, and they can resonate with us. Jesus is our perfect goal, but God also gives us other examples that point to Jesus to encourage us along the way. One of those examples is Caleb. In Gods redemptive plan, the Book of Joshua encompasses the nation of Israel’s taking of the Land of Canaan – the land that God promised to Abraham. It was a promise that was perpetuated to Abraham’s son Isaac, his grandson Jacob, and throughout Jacob’s twelve sons, and their offspring – whom came to be known as the nation of Israel. By chapter 14, the army of Israel, led by Joshua, has taken the land of Canaan (though not completely yet) and the inheritances of the land are being distributed to the 12 tribes of Israel. Gods Word is precious and Joshua 14:6-12 says this:
6 Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. 8 But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God. 9 And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. 12 So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.”
The book of Joshua is a picture of the spiritual warfare we face as Christ-followers as we pursue the hope of an inheritance. God has an inheritance available to us, but we must follow the lead of Jesus in faithful obedience to receive this inheritance. Caleb is someone we should all take example from and here are five reasons why:
You Are Not Obscure Caleb is somewhat of an obscure character in the Old Testament, he isn’t spoken of much. Despite that, he plays such a significant role in Gods redemptive plan, that when he is spoken of, it is highly impactful. You may be at a point in your life where you’ve been around the block a few times, and you may be feeling obscure in the midst of it all, particularly in Gods plan, and you’re trying to figure out where you fit in. But know that you are significant. You are significant at Riverside, significant within the body of Christ, significant within Gods grand plan! God will speak of you one day in the book of life. By faith, you will have a place in this book, and when He does speak of you, what will he say about you?
Be Faithful in the Small Things By the time of Joshua 14, Caleb is a good 85 years old. How did he get to this courageous and blessed place? 45 years prior, Caleb was faithful in the small things. In Numbers 13, as Israel was on the brink of entering into the Promised Land, Moses sent 12 spies into Canaan so they could return with a report of what they saw. 10 of the spies gave an unfaithful, negative report. The other two spies gave a faithful, positive report. Who was one of those spies? Caleb (the other was Joshua). Caleb understood God and had a strong relationship with Him. He knew that no matter the obstacles in Canaan, Israel would take the land not because of anything they could do, but because God was going to be fighting for them. Such a small and seemingly insignificant event when viewed in the grand scheme of Gods redemptive plan will prove to be a pivotal and momentous occasion for both Israel and Caleb. If Caleb went with the crowd and gave a negative report, he wouldn’t have been in this position to claim his inheritance, in fact, he wouldn’t have even made it into the Promised Land at all. Today, being faithful in the small things is a moment-by-moment, life long journey of surrender to Jesus.
Age Well by Gods Standards Aging well by the world’s standards is different than aging well by Gods standards. Looking good and having much is the standard of the world. But what is Gods standard of aging well? When God recognized Caleb’s faith for his positive report, God revealed His standard in Numbers 14:24 –“But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.” Are you wholly following the Lord? There is no greater barometer to live by as we grow older than how we answer this very question. Whether you are 20 years old or 85 years old, at any point in your life the most important indicator to God is how you are following Him. Are you wholly following Jesus, and are you passing down a legacy of courageous faith to your family?
In Humility, Claim Your Inheritance Caleb didn’t have perfect faith, no man ever has (except Jesus). But Caleb has given his very best in his walk with God. He has lived a surrendered life devoted to God. If you believe in your heart that you have fought the good fight of faith for Jesus, and have surrendered to Him, there is nothing wrong with humbly claiming the promise that has been given to you. God appreciates this kind of courageous and faithful boldness. We don’t deserve anything, but because of His grace and mercy, God has provided a way through Jesus for us to receive an eternal inheritance and He wants us to be in a position to claim it by faith. We can never have perfect faith, but it’s the fight in our faith that counts!
Fight for Jesus to the Very End Living for Jesus is a marathon. He is seeking men and women that will go the distance. It’s a marathon of fighting the spiritual battles that arise in our lives to the very end, not surrendering to them. There is a promise awaiting you. Caleb is 85 years old, yet he doesn’t ask to be retired from Israel’s army. Instead he requests to be given a piece of land that still has enemies within so he can keep fighting!
Deep down, I think we all aspire to be like Caleb as we advance in years. We can certainly take a few things from his faith, but the person God really wants us to aspire to be, is Jesus. Jesus aged perfectly, he was perfectly faithful in the small things, he was from Nazareth but he was not obscure, and he fought for his Father to his very last breath. We will never be completely like Jesus in this life, but we can aspire to it and we can't do it without a relationship with the man himself. Jesus wants you to have the inheritance that he has made available to you by way of the cross, and it starts right now, right where you are! It starts in your family, and then it moves out into the church and into the community. It’s fighting your spiritual battles, sharing Christ, and loving others as Christ loves them. You are not obscure, be faithful in the small things, fight for your inheritance, and humbly claim it one day, just like Caleb.