Caleb: Loyal and Patient

KEY VERSE: “Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s forever, because thou hest wholly followed the LORD my God.” —Joshua 14:9

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Numbers 13:30-33; 14:24; 32:10-12; Joshua 14:8, 9

THE Lord, in his dealings with the nation of Israel, had given them many evidences of his overruling providences on their behalf. By his mighty power he had delivered them from slavery in Egypt; he had delivered them from the armies of Pharaoh at the Red Sea; he had, by miracles, provided food and water for their sustenance. With all of this evidence before them, the Lord brought the Israelites to Mount Sinai and there he entered into a covenant with them. The essence of the agreement was that if the children of Israel would be obedient to the terms of the covenant, they would be blessed. If they disobeyed they would be punished. One of the promises is recorded in Exodus 19:5,6

Moses was instructed to read the terms of the Law to the people (chapters 20-24), and they said, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do.” On the basis of this agreement, the Law Covenant was inaugurated and the nation of Israel became a covenanted people.

Having made these preparations, the Lord indicated that it was now time for his people to enter into the Promised Land. He spoke to Moses saying, “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.” (Num. 13:2) This was done, and among those selected were Joshua and Caleb.

The spies were in the land for forty days and when they returned they brought samples of the fruitage of the land, including a huge cluster of grapes that required two men to carry; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. It was truly a land of milk and honey as had been promised by the Lord. But the report on the inhabitants of the land reflected lack of faith in the power and overruling providences of God. The report stated, “The people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great; and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.” (Num. 13:28) The name Anak was applied to the progenitor of a tribe of unusually tall men. They were of a race of people called the Anakim who were themselves of extraordinary size who also inhabited the mountain regions of Canaan. Their great stature caused them to be used as a standard of comparison in describing even the giant-like men of Emim and the Rephaim.

It can be seen that the Lord was testing and proving the Israelites to see if they were worthy to enter the land of promise and possess it. All but Joshua and Caleb demonstrated a complete lack of faith in God and his ability to overcome the obstacles that seemed to prevent them from entering the land. Caleb did his best to convince the Israelites that they should trust in the Lord, saying, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” (Num. 13:30) But the men who went up with him said, “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land … is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”—Num. 13:31-33

The Lord was very displeased with the nation of Israel and said, “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice, surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with[in] him and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” (Num. 14:22-24) The Lord was also pleased with Joshua and the same privilege was granted him.

The lesson for us as footstep followers of the Master is that we too have the evidence of the Lord’s overruling providence in our lives and he expects us to exercise faith in his power to help us overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in our Christian life.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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