“I can’t believe this!”
“Well believe it.”
“How could they do this? Didn’t they see the miracles?”
“Yeah, they saw all the same things we did, but…”
“But what…how could they honestly think God would bring us this far just to have us crushed like grasshoppers?”
“Look Caleb, there’s nothing we can do about it now, God has spoken.”
“You’re right Josh, but we were so-o-o close! Remember how sweet those grapes were?”
“Yeah, I can taste them now. Everything was exactly like God said it would be – a land flowing with milk and honey.”
“Come on my friend, let’s get to bed, tomorrow’s going to be a l-o-n-g day…”
Have you ever wondered about Joshua and Caleb’s conversation when they learned that the disbelief of the ten spies would sentence them to forty years in the wilderness? Imagine their reward for believing God and stepping out in faith, a forty year hike!
It doesn’t seem fair.
I have often wondered what Joshua and Caleb thought that night when Moses announced God’s verdict to the Israelites. I am sure they were heart broken. Bitter tears probably soaked their sleeping mats that night as they lay on the cold desert floor. They may have even wrestled with anger, resentment and bitterness toward the others. It was probably a very long sleepless night.
Who was there to comfort and encourage them?
These questions and more are on my personal list when I get to Glory.
The Bible doesn’t give us all the details, but it does give us a clue…
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 (NIV)
What I find interesting is what is doesn’t say. It did not say Joshua and Caleb had a different spirit, it says Caleb did. Apparently Caleb has something even Joshua had not fully realized. Caleb had learned to follow God “wholeheartedly.” He chased after God with complete abandonment. Nothing was going to come between Caleb and his God. That confident trust in God, gave Caleb the inner strength to continue on in faith those next forty-five years.
Imagine how hard it must have been some days. He had to listen to the whining, the bickering and the complaining. He had to help bury everyone over the age of 20. He had to witness the continued disbelief, sin and judgment of God. Despite everything he persevered. He believed the promises and trusted God.
What an amazing man!
All of us have been in situations where our faith is tested beyond all reasonable limits. We rarely face literal giants. In those moments I’ve always wondered am I more like Caleb or the ten spies? Will I listen to the desperate cry of my spirit that yells, “Trust God! Believe Him! He’s really in control!” Or will I simply give up without a fight.
Not giving up is inner strength. You choose to follow wholeheartedly after God. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t easy. You don’t get an adrenaline rush…well maybe a bottomless pit in your belly…but nothing like fireworks. You simply do. You simply choose to take God at His Word.
It sounds simple. I think for Caleb it was. In his mind, there was no other option.
Caleb probably went to thousands of funerals over the next forty years. He saw it all. Then one day he stood before his old friend Joshua, full of grit and spit, eagerly waiting permission to take his hill! No one was standing in his way now. He was claiming his territory.
Caleb’s confident assurance not only saved him, but his descendants. The Bible tells us that when Caleb finally conquered Hebron, the land rested from war! Imagine Caleb’s celebration as he pitched his tent that night! Tears of joy and elation probably soaked his pillow clean through.
Every day we have the opportunity to “take a hill.” When we stand, drawing from our inner strength, doing what is right, we like Caleb display a different spirit. Instead of the singing the “Trembling Ten’s Terror Tune” we can shout out the “Caleb’s Conquering Chorus!”
…ready to sing?
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