“Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God.”
Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite is surely one of the most admirable men in all the Bible. He and Joshua were among the 12 spies that Moses had sent into the Promised Land. Whereas the other 10 spies were frightened and intimidated by the powerful inhabitants of the land, Joshua and Caleb stood fearless and strong in their faith (Numbers 13-14). “Rebel not ye against the LORD,” they instructed their fellow Israelites, “neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not” (Numbers 14:9). Unfortunately, these two men of God were unable to convince their countrymen to trust fully in God to grant them victory. Instead, the nation as a whole listened to the other spies, who insisted they were unable to defeat the Canaanite giants (Numbers 13:31-33). The confrontation became so intense that the unbelieving Israelites threatened to stone God’s faithful servants (Numbers 14:10). God was angry with this faithlessness and rebellion, and He sentenced the nation to wander 40 years in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33-34). At the end of four long decades, Caleb approached Joshua, who had become Moses’ successor, and requested that he be allowed to take his portion of the Promised Land. Though giants remained in the land, the 85-year old Caleb was still confident he could conquer them by God’s grace (Joshua 14:9-12). In several important ways, Caleb reminds us of Christ the Lord. Both men told their countrymen the truth without reservation and without being influenced by popular opinion (John 8:40). For their trouble, both men were met with hostility and were nearly stoned by their fellow Israelites (John 8:59; 10:31). Whereas Caleb’s wholehearted faith and obedience secured an earthly territory for his posterity, Christ’s wholehearted obedience secured a heavenly country for those who love and trust Him (John 14:1-3; Hebrews 11:13-16). In both cases, the descendants of these men, whether physical (those of Caleb) or spiritual (those of Jesus), were blessed with an inheritance just because of their progenitor’s selfless obedience to God. We note that both men patiently endured punishments they did not deserve. Faithful Caleb was under the same sentence as the rebellious Israelites who refused to trust the Lord. In accordance with God’s wise and good plan, the Lord Jesus was wounded and bruised; he too was numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:5, 12). May the Lord help us to follow these stellar examples of godly patience, courage, and consistency, knowing that of the Lord we too shall receive the reward of inheritance (Colossians 3:24).
God bless you,