In our series on “How Big Is Your But” we’ve looked at the story of the 12 spies giving their report of the promised land to the the people of Israel. 10 saw the giants and fortified cities and saw themselves as grasshoppers.
Two used the word “and” more than the word “but”. These two were Joshua and Caleb.
Joshua loved the Lord’s Presence
The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. Exodus 33:11 (New International Version)
Caleb followed God Wholeheartedly
Caleb had a “different spirit” in him.
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Numbers 14:24 (New International Version)
And I don’t think this spirit wasn’t just what God saw up to this point. I don’t think if Caleb didn’t grumble at the Red Sea or grumble when the water was bitter or grumble when they needed bread or grumbled when they wanted meat that that was all God saw when He made the judgment of Caleb.
Let’s jump ahead 45 years. Caleb had walked in the desert for 40 of those years. Every one he loved and everything that held him back had died off. He suffered the consequences for the disobedience of the community. Check out what he says to Joshua when it’s time to allot the land:
“Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. Joshua 14:10-14 (New International Version)
- Joshua and Caleb used the word “and” instead of “but.”
- Their focus was not on the Giants but on their God.
- Their hearts were not divided between the past and the promise.
- They trusted God when it just didn’t make sense to those who feared.
We’ll draw out how you can live this way as well.
Do you know a “Caleb” in your life? Tell us about him or her. We need stories of great faith…but that’s another topic.