Caleb: One Whose Faith Did Not Shrink
It's easy for a person to reach a point in their life where they just want to coast along--where they are content to rest upon their past works and accomplishments. Perhaps they feel they have done enough or earned a break. Caleb was not such a person. Yesterday, we examined the early life of Caleb, a man scripture records as one who "wholly followed the Lord." We saw how Caleb's faith and trust in the Lord motivated him to stand up for the Lord when the vast majority of the host of Israel had given up hope and allowed their hearts to be discouraged. Caleb's faith held fast--even when the rest of the Israelites would have stoned him. We also saw that it was because of Caleb's faith and obedience that he was allowed to enter the promised land of Canaan when the current generation of Israelites had been sentenced to die in the wilderness. But what became of Caleb when the Israelites entered the promised land? Did Caleb decide to retire and take it easy? Did he just coast along for the rest of his days? Not at all.

In Joshua 14, we find the land of Canaan being distributed among the tribes who would dwell west of the Jordan. Listen to Caleb's request of Joshua in Joshua 14:6-12:

"You know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God. So Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children's forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.' And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said."

What faith! Did you catch how old Caleb was when he made this request? He was 85 years old, and he wanted to claim what was perhaps one of the most fortified areas of Canaan for the tribe of Judah! Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb because "he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel" (Josh. 14:14). In chapter 15, we read of Caleb doing just what he said he would do, driving out the sons of Anak and claiming the land as his tribe's inheritance from the Lord. Caleb's faith and trust in the Lord did not shrink with age; rather, it was strengthened and refined by years of service to the Lord! Friends, it is so easy for us to allow our faith to stagnate and for us to become lethargic after many years of service to the Lord. However, from Caleb's excellent example of faith and obedience, we see that such does not have to and should not be the case.

Dear listeners, "let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (Gal. 6:9). Additionally, let us in "whatever [we] do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord [we] will receive the reward of the inheritance..." (Col. 3:23,24). Caleb's actions in Joshua 14 and 15 were prompted by a mature faith and obedience that stemmed from a genuine belief that the Lord would take care of him and bless him with an inheritance in the promised land. All that Caleb did reflected his faith and obedience; that is why scripture records him as one who "wholly followed the Lord" . We should strive to imitate Caleb in this regard--wholly following the Lord and wholly believing that the Lord will reward those who "diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).