Caleb and Joshua were the only two of the 12 spies appointed by Moses to spy out the Promised Land that came back with a faith-filled heart. All the spies saw the good produce of the land, they saw the rich soil, they tasted of its goodness. But the land also had some giants in it. Ten spies focused on the giants. Two spies focused on God and His promise.
When the spies reported back to the Israelite camp, the report of the ten spies inspired fear and anxiety in the people. Though Caleb and Joshua were zealous and tried to remind the people what God had said, their hearts were prone to listen to the voice of fear and doubt rather than faith. Their unbelief caused them to miss their promise. They were left to wander in the wilderness and die there. So sad!
When their generation died off, their children who had been trained for war were allowed to go in and take the land. Caleb and Joshua were the only ones of that old generation that God allowed to go with them. Forty-five years later, Caleb is still remembering the promise of the Lord and ready to go after it. Chapter 14 of Joshua is one of my favorites in the entire Bible. Caleb says to Joshua, “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 word back to him “as it was in my heart. (v7)” Caleb saw the Promised Land and he believed God’s promise. The promise was the “dream” in Caleb’s heart. Unfortunately, God had to push the pause button on seeing the dream come to pass because Caleb’s contemporaries were afraid to pursue the it. Caleb, however, never wavered. Imagine the agony of waiting 40 more years, the unnecessary hardship of life in the desert and the temptation of whining, ‘it’s not fair, God!” Caleb remained faithful, though. He kept the dream alive in his heart and when the day finally came, he was as ready as he had been forty-five years previous.
His faith is amazing. At 85 years old, he boldly declares “I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. NOW, give me this mountain about which the Lord spoke on that day! (v11)” He cries out, Now, give me my promise! Caleb knew how to keep God’s dream in the secret place of his heart. He guarded the dream, he meditated on God’s heart and he knew God’s purposes. Caleb understood that God was allowing him to receive his dream, because ultimately, it was about so much more than that. God’s purpose was building His Kingdom. Caleb was part of something huge, but he only had to do his part! He remained faithful to God, which caused the Kingdom to advance.
Then he says, “perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken (v12).” This was not a question of the Lord being with him, it was a statement of expectation. He was saying, since the Lord is with me, I will drive out the giants. Caleb knew who he was because he knew who the Lord is. He knew it was the Lord’s presence that would make him able to drive out the inhabitants of the land. His focus was not on his own ability but on Almighty God.
We are in a similar situation today. God has made great promises to us, He’s assured us of victory. We are the end-times generation, called to see His Kingdom established in the earth as never before. We are called to prepare to usher in the return of our King Jesus. We have tasted of His glory, we’ve had glimpses of the Promise, but there are still giants in the land. God is allowing us to be tested to reveal what is in our hearts. Will we be a people who focus on our own ability or on our mighty God? Will we continue to doubt even after we have received so great a salvation and seen His glory with our own eyes? Will we whine and complain about our hardships or will we steward the dream faithfully in our hearts? This is so serious! Grumbling and complaining caused a whole generation to lose their inheritance.
Did the Israelites face some hardships in the desert? Of course they did! But God always came through for them. So it is with us. We are all facing hardships, but God is with us. He will see us through to the end if we will not give up. Let us consider our brother, Caleb, and follow his example. He was there among the next generation to teach them how to live by faith. He was there to train their hands for war and encourage their hearts. Remember, they grew up with grumbling parents! They had to learn to think like Caleb and Joshua. If only we can keep our eyes upon Jesus and remember the promise of His coming above all else, then we can say with confidence, ‘we can drive out the giants and receive the dream that God has placed in our hearts.’ We can train our children to live wholeheartedly before the Lord so they will be ready to receive their portion. We will all be blessed when we focus on God’s ultimate purpose, He is advancing His Kingdom! Jesus is coming soon!