What do you see yourself doing at 85 years old? The vast majority of people who even make it to 85 have retired and are in their convalescent stage. Few are relocating to a new place to live. Fewer are active in employment. None are fighting military battles and going to war with the enemy on a foreign land. But there is one exception to this normal process of aging. He is a great man of courage, faith, and dependence on God and he is the subject of our discussion. His name is Caleb.
Who was Caleb?
He is first mentioned in Numbers 13:6 as the chosen representative of the tribe of Judah called to spy out the land of Canaan along with 11 other spies. He was called God’s servant (Numbers 14:24). Like Moses and Joshua, Caleb was also a servant of God. The Apostle Paul was quick to mention that he was a servant of Christ. James, the half-brother of Christ, also called himself a servant in James 1:1. When the Master is God, being a servant is a privilege. It’s who the master is that gives value and prestige to his servants. As servants of Christ, we are in positions of honor. We must then live like it!
What set Caleb apart from others?
He had another spirit in him that was different from the rest of the Israelites according to Numbers 14:24. What was that spirit? How would you describe it? It was a spirit of utter dependence upon the Lord. It was his absolute confidence that God could do anything and that nothing was too hard for Him. Didn’t God say that of himself in Jer. 32:27? “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” We would call Caleb’s confidence “childlike faith!”
Caleb was also known for wholly and fully following the Lord in all that God required of him (Numb 14:24, Numb 32:12, Deut. 1:36, Josh 14:8). In one of the chapters of Ray Stedman’s book, Authentic Christianity, he is commenting on 2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be to God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ…” and he says that there are three characteristics of the “New Covenant” type of person: unquenchably optimistic (that is Caleb), and unvaryingly successful (that is Caleb), and having unforgettable impact upon others (again, that is Caleb). Caleb was all three of these because he wholly followed the Lord. He said “we can” when everyone else said, “we can’t.” He conquered the Land he was told to fight for and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Caleb’s great faith
He obeyed the Lord in every area of life and Numbers 13:30 gives a brief description of how his obedience proved his faith. Caleb provides three ways all believers should display unconditional obedience. He includes action statements that put his faith into action.
1. Without delay: “go up at once”
Exercising true faith means we will do something when told to it and not hesitate or procrastinate. We teach our kids to obey sweetly, completely, and immediately. God expects the same of us. Caleb didn’t look at the size of the obstacle, he looked at the power and majesty of his great God.
2. With determination: “possess it”
When I saw my wife for the first time in college, I had a great determination to get to know her. She was a beautiful prize worth pursuing. After getting to know her, I was determined to keep her so I passionately (not casually) pursued her. Why? It was a worthwhile venture. She was worth having and a desirable pursuit. It’s the same with Caleb and conquering the land. It was desirable because God called him to do it so he did it with great determination. Anything God calls us to do for Him should be done with this level of passion.
3. Without defeat “overcome it”
There was no stutter in Caleb’s voice. No fear, no second guessing about what their assets were versus their liabilities. He had more than enough resource to overcome the enemy because he had God on his side. What are you facing right now that Caleb’s example can help you with? Paul said, “if God before us who can be against us?”
Caleb was old but accomplished much in his twilight years. If he can do it, what can you do for the Lord in your life stage? Place your little faith in the care of our great God and watch Him work through you!Article by Lamar Eifert Associate Pastor | Valley Forge Baptist