Awhile ago I was listening to a message given by Alistair Begg on Caleb from Joshua 14 called Climbing on Track. When I can, I download the podcasts from Truth for Life. They are free. But they are only around for about a month. Then they are for purchase.
My husband and I were talking about this just the other day. These stories in the Bible – like Caleb, Joseph, Moses, Gideon and so many more are SO encouraging to me. They are such great examples of people who followed God in spite of their circumstances. And in the end we see how God used their circumstances to glorify himself and bring blessings to them.
If you can recall, Caleb and Joshua were two of the 12 men that Moses sent into Canaan to explore the land and see what it was like. Was the land good or bad? Were the inhabitants strong or weak? Ten men came back and reported that the people were strong, the cities were fortified, there were giants in the land, and there was no way the Israelites could take the land.
But Caleb and Joshua reported that the land was good and that the Lord wanted them to take possession of the land. Yes, there were giant men and strong cities. But the Lord was their God and would lead them and protect them. God’s mighty power was greater than these giant men and strong cities.
Numbers 14 goes on to say that the whole Israelite assembly believed the ten men instead of Caleb and Joshua. They doubted that God would lead them and protect them. All they could see were the giants of the land and not the strength of the Lord.
And so, the Lord said that none of the grumblers and complainers, those of this Israelite generation who disobeyed and did not believe, would enter into the land of Canaan. All would die in the desert.
This is what gets to me. Joshua and Caleb believed. Yet they had to wander in the desert for 40 years too. They had to bear the punishment of those who disobeyed and did not believe. If I had been in that situation, I would have thought it was terribly unfair that I had to live in the desert for 40 years too! Yet, Joshua 14 said that Caleb still followed the Lord wholeheartedly through those 40 years. It says that he was 40 when they all were sent away from Canaan to the desert and 85 when he finally received his due inheritance in the land of Canaan. Wow.
How many times do we today have to bear the punishment of someone else’s sin? Is it fair? No. But Caleb didn’t grumble before the Lord for wandering in the desert for 40 more years. Or what about Joseph being sold as a slave by his brothers and thrown in prison because of a lie told by Potipher’s wife? Joseph too, in the end says “What man meant for evil, God meant for good”.
Alistair Begg in his message talks about how many people lose their spiritual fervency as they go through life. They are surrounded by disgruntled people and before they know it, they become like them. How much better it is to be like Caleb and Joseph and all those who in spite of their circumstances chose to be confident in the power of God, committed in following him and triumphant in the end.
This is why Hebrews 12:2 has made such an impact on my life. “Fix our eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus also paid a price for disobedience that wasn’t his. Yet it was for the glory of God that he did it.
Therefore, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess. For he who promised is faithful!” -Hebrews 10:23