During our last “Men’s Bible Study” we discussed the life of Caleb – tribal leader of Judah, recon scout for the Promised Land, warrior and conqueror of the high ground. If you are unfamiliar with his story, look it up in Numbers 13-14 and Joshua 14-15. For those who don’t want to look it up, here is a brief summary:
- Caleb is chosen from among his tribe to serve on a team of 12 to spy out the land of Canaan;
- After investigation, Caleb and the others return with their report; 10 state that the land in fertile but the inhabitants are too powerful to defeat, but Caleb and Joshua trust that God is greater than the ‘giants’ living in the land;
- The people, because of their lack of faith in God, wander in the wilderness until that entire generation dies;
- After forty years, with Joshua now in command, the Israelites conquer the land of Canaan;
- Caleb, now 85 years old, sets his sights on the toughest region to conquer (the high hills) and with the strength given by God defeats the Anakites and takes possession of the land.
Being the Pastor of a small church, there are many aspects of Caleb’s biography that resonate with me. First, we are not given the details of why his extended family chose him as a representative, but whatever he did in the home and community impacted those around him to see him as a godly leader. Second, it is encouraging to see ‘heroes of the faith’ who do not succumb to the noise of the majority and speak the truth through the perspective of faith – yes, there are giants in the land, but our God is still greater. Third, it does the heart good to see that throughout forty years of challenge and discouragement he maintains a clear focus upon God. Finally, my spirit is lifted in knowing that there is no expiration date on faith – Caleb was engaging in battles for God and seeing victory even as an octogenarian.
Caleb is a model of faithfulness to every generation. Young people can follow his example and serve God faithfully in the home and community, showing themselves to be worthy of greater responsibility. Those in middle age can face the challenges of life with faith, being willing to speak the truth of God in trying circumstances and willing to endure hardship knowing God is in control. Those in their senior years can claim the promises of God and faithfully face the foes which are in the ‘high country’, knowing that God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine even beyond our eighties.
Be like Caleb, starting today. The days of bondage in Egypt are behind you, so live victoriously. There are giants ahead, too big for our strength alone but never too great for God, so live victoriously. The days of promise loom on the horizon secured through the character of God, so live victoriously. The challenges before us are manageable no matter our age because God is with us, so live victoriously. If we all follow Caleb’s example perhaps we’ll meet up and have fellowship one day in the ‘high country’.