I will presenting this lesson on June 3, 2013 at the Southern Illinois Preacher’s Retreat at Little Egypt Christian Youth Camp, at Dahlgren, IL
Text: Joshua 14:6-14
The title of our message today is a statement or demand that a man named Caleb made to Joshua. It was made during the conquest of the “Promised Land,” the land of Canaan. Most modern translations translate Caleb’s statement in this manner: “give me the hill country.”
Before we get into the exposition and application of the passage in Joshua 14, we must get the background of the passage and the events in our text.
We go back 45 years to see what’s going on. We have the narrative of the “Exodus.” Numbers 10 and following recount the departure from Mt. Sinai and the events that transpired. The people are at the border of the “promised land.”
Moses follows the command of God to send 12 spies, one from each of the 12 tribes to go and check out the land and report back to him. The tribe of Ephraim chose Joshua, the son of Nun; the tribe of Judah chose Caleb, son of Jephunneh. No doubt they were picked because they were the strongest, bravest, and most reliable.
Moses gave them instructions and they spied out the land for 40 days and then returned to give their report. (Number 13:17-33) The report started off really well but 10 of the spies said that they could not conquer the land, even though God had promised it to them
Caleb and Joshua told Moses and the people, that with God’s help, they could conquer the land but the people believed the report of the 10 spies. Because of that every man 20 or over died in the 38 yrs. of wilderness wanderings and did not get to enter the “Promised Land.”
As we said, the bright lights in this story were Joshua and Caleb. In Joshua 14:24 we read these words: “But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.”
Now we fast forward 45 years. A new generation of people, under Joshua’s leadership has engaged the enemy in battle and won many decisive victories and it is time to divide the land and give each tribe their inheritance. Now we have an 85 year old man stepping up to claim his inheritance. He is a picture of a child of God who is not satisfied with the ordinary, but wants all that God can give him.
What contributed to the success of Caleb? How did he show his faith and put it into action? What are some of the characteristics and traits that Caleb possessed that we ought to emulate in our walk for the Lord Jesus?
Exposition of the Passage.
Caleb Was Committed. Joshua 14:8, 9, 14
- God had all of Caleb.
- He “wholly followed the Lord.” – This is said of Caleb at least 5 times in the Old Testament.
- Caleb’s faith did not help him move any mountains, but it did help him capture one.
Caleb Was Confident of His Own Faith. (Joshua 14:10-11)
- Caleb knew that his strength and vitality was a gift from God. And gave God the credit.
- Caleb knew that he would have to use His God-given strength and go out and fight for his inheritance.
- Someone said, “Caleb’s faith wore work clothes.”
Caleb Was Patiently Persistent.
- God had made a promise to Caleb 45 years ago.
- Caleb believed it and expected God to keep His Word.
Application for Us.
What does it mean to follow the Lord fully or wholly as Caleb did? How might we follow Christ fully today?
- We must seek to follow the Lord at all times.
- We must follow Jesus all our days.
James DeForest Murch wrote a song back in the 1930’s. It is called “I’ll put Jesus First in My Life.” The chorus reads as follows:
“In ALL that I Say, In ALL that I do,
Throughout the world of toil and strife,
By Day and by night, through trust in His might,
I’ll put Jesus First in My Life.”
- We Must Follow Jesus With All Our Heart.
- We must believe God’s promises completely.
- We must do more than “window-shop with God’s promises.”
Illustration: “A fellow said to his wife, ‘Why do you call it shopping? You never buy anything.’ She replied, ‘Well, why do you call it fishing? You never catch anything!’”
As believers, we need to be like Caleb and claim God’s promises to the fullest. He said that He wanted us to have an “abundant life.”
Every inch, every ounce, every nerve, every fiber of Caleb belonged to God—can we say the same?
- We must follow the Lord with undivided attention.
- We must seek Him and His kingdom first.
- We must not love the world (1 John 2:15-17)
- We must show that we have “changed kingdoms.”
- We must show that we have been “rescued from the domain of darkness” (Col. 1:12-14)
We Must Follow The Lord Despite the Hazards or Dangers
- Caleb faced giants in the land (Num. 13:33).
- Caleb faced the wrath of his brethren (Num. 14:10)
- He took a mountain from giants in his old age (Jos. 14:10-12)
What of us today?
- We must not follow only when convenient.
- We must not only follow when it is popular.
As the preacher is told to “Preach the Word in season and out of season…” All Christians must follow Him completely.
We must be fully equipped for service to our Lord! In II Tim. 3:15-16, we are told that the Lord will equip us for service if we will let Him. He has given us all we need “pertaining to life and godliness,” so we can “take it to the bank” that He will be with us. We have the promise that the Word of God is given that we may be complete in the Lord. We must keep our eyes on Jesus at all times (Heb. 12:1-4), knowing that He will be with us “for the duration,” yea, for all of time.
We must take up the “Whole Armor of God.”
- We must let the example of Caleb inspire us to follow the Lord fully.
- We must follow Him all the days of our lives.
- We must follow Him with all our hearts and minds.
- We must follow Him despite all the dangers.
If we do, we will have a full, useful and abundant life in the Lord.
Don’t forget—Caleb and Joshua were the only 2 (out of 603,550 men) who survived the wilderness wanderings and entered the Promised Land. Their brethren did not because the Lord said, “they have not wholly followed me.”
How are “we” following the Lord? Like Caleb? Or like those who died in the wilderness?