Caleb: A man who wholly followed the Lord
Numbers 13:26-14:9 & Joshua 14:6-12
by Cooper Abrams
1. Israel had not made a complete break from Egypt. Egypt in the Bible is used as a symbol of the world or worldliness. Israel had be delivered for Egypt, but they still retained in their minds much worldly thinking. Today some believers because of a lack of obedience to the Lord also hold on to much worldly thinking.
God had brought Israel out of four hundred years of being in Egypt a place that God never intended them to be. In the later years a new dynasty of Pharaohs came to power who knew not Joseph. They enslaved the Hebrews and made them build the treasure cites of Rearmost. They cried to God for deliverance. God sent them Moses who led them from Egypt. God promised them the land of Canaan over 500 years earlier. God had taken them through the parted waters of the Red Sea and then to Mt. Sinai where God gave them the Law. Now they had traveled east and north to a small place called Kadesh-Barnea.
Kadesh-Barnea for Israel was the place of decision? It was more than taking the land God had promised them. It a place to make the decision to follow and trust God or not. It was a decision to trust God and obey His word or to trust their own wisdom and understanding.
God told Moses to send into the land one man from each of the tribes of Israel. Deut. 1:20-22, explains that God told them to immediately go and possess the land, but they wanted to first send in spies to look over the area so they could come back and plan their strategy. God was gracious although He had told them to go immediately and take the land. He let them send in the spies who were in the land for forty days.
Of the twelve men who spied out Canaan, Joshua and Caleb were the two who brought back a good report. Only they had faith in God.
Others with the same background, Egypt, Passover, Red Sea Crossing, Mt. Sinai had seen God supply their needs. However they did not truly believe God and with eyes of unbelief -(carnal) saw the task as impossible.
Joshua and Caleb through Eyes of Faith saw no reason to delay but to immediately go and take the land.
It should be noted that BOTH REPORTS WERE TRUE!
*Two men by faith trusted God and based on their trust on His promises and saw the land as theirs.
*Ten men trusted in themselves and knew they could not defeat the Canaanites.
They were both right! -Two men saw God as their deliverer, 10 men believed that man must deliver him self.
*Two men were willing to let God use them,
*Ten men opposed God's will and hindered others.
*Two men rejoiced in what God was to give to them
*Ten men murmured, denied God, and Num. 14:10, says they wanted also to kill Joshua and Caleb because they wanted to follow the Lord.
2. Caleb was no fool, he saw the giants. He was with Joshua, Israel's military general. They knew it would be a fight. Yet, he knew that God would fight for them.
a. Num. 13:30..Caleb replied "..let us go at once and possess it.
b. Num. 14:8-9, they stated the Canaanite defense was departed, because the Lord is with us!
c. Many say they believe the Bible and would fight if you denied or said miracles of God were not true. Many today will claim to have great faith in the Lord. .......Yet, today they can't seem to relate their faith into their lives. They say they want to serve God and have the blessing of doing God's will....yet the run hot one minute and cold the next.
-They always have always good reasons why they can't trust God in a particular matter. Their report -"Its great, boy its great to trust the Lord, . . . BUT!" V27-28
-They lived confused lives, tossed to and fro, up one day and down the next.
3. God is the same today as then, the same principals apply as they did in the past.
4. God has given us and an excellent example of a man who despite all the difficulties and discouragements was a man who wholly followed the Lord.
I. CALEB, WAS A MAN WHO WHOLLY FOLLOWED THE LORD. Josh. 14:14.
A. CALEB, had the same circumstances as the others
1. Born in Egypt a slave.
2. He saw the miracles God used to get the Pharaoh to get them go.
3. He saw the Red Sea parted.
4. In Egypt, he too had longed for deliverance and suffered under the cruelness of the Egyptians.
5. Could I ask a simple question? How many of you here in the congregation think that it is impossible to serve the Lord? I would like you raise you hands...but do not raise them if you not honestly believe that a believer can not only desire to wholly serve the Lord but can actually do it.
6. If you raised your hand or did not raise you hand I have another question. Are you living wholly for the Lord? (No hands please) Last question. . . why not? What is your excuse? Be honest with yourself. . .why are you not living wholly for the Lord?
If it is impossible to wholly serve the Lord. . .then is God lying about Caleb? Was Caleb different from you and I? If you think so . . .what is the difference.
B. It was the Minority who believed the message of Moses was from God and they followed him, trusting God. I have heard those that say these men in the Bible were extraordinary men not like us today. . .because they had such a great faith.
I do not understand their reasoning and one thing points to their being absolutely wrong. Why do they say that men are different today and we cannot have men of great faith like Caleb....yet we have the faithless today just like in Caleb's day? Why can we have faithless and disobedient men just like those of Caleb's day. . .and not be able to have men of faith who wholly followed the Lord? That I believe is a double standard.
Sadly today in our modern "Christian" thinking it is the majority that rules. Yet, in the Bible I am hard pressed to show you few examples of the majority being right.
The example I find are those in the Book of Acts where the local congregation in Jerusalem and later in Antioch prayed fasted and sought God's will....they have unity because they were as a group truly seeking God's will.
And the examples in Rev. 2:8-11, where the Lord Jesus commended the congregation at Smyrna, who were hard working believers who were being severely persecuted for their faith in Christ and in the assembly at Philadelphia who were fighting Satan tooth and nail yet kept the word of God and had a B evangelistic out reach.
1. Today in our modern churches some simply are only along for the ride. They don't get involve much. They follow the heritage of the Jews who God delivered from Egypt. Sure they wanted to get out of Egypt, but as soon as trouble came they cried "it would have been better to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness." Ex. 14:11-14
Moses then told them plainly, fear not, God will fight for you,
2. Rom. 9:6, says "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel"
3. Caleb, believed God. All of the Children of Israel were physically delivered from Egypt, but Caleb was also Spiritually delivered!
a. The majority of Israel left Egypt with their hearts unchanged.
b. Num 14:2, They had really not been spiritually delivered. They saw with carnal eyes, eyes blinded to reality of things. They actually longed to be back in slavery and oppression in Egypt!
c. It is impossible for the carnal heart, to try and trust God. Blinded eyes to God`s presence, grope around in the dark, frighten, afraid, bumping into things.
C. Caleb, had let God deliver him!
1. With eye's that had the scales removed, in the brilliant light of God's presence, he clearly saw things as they were.
2. When God had revealed himself through the miracles in the desert, he had believed in God.
3. He had taken part in the Passover, and had realized, the blood of the lamb, sprinkle on the door post was God's sign and promise of coming of the great Deliverer.
4. Caleb also knew the promises and unconditional covenant that God had made to Abraham and had confirmed Isaac, and Jacob.
D. Now Caleb delivered from bondage let go of the past. He looked to the future trusting it God.
1. He did not desire to return to slavery in Egypt! He had tasted freedom and the blessings of God ....he could not return.
2. He was not burdened by God's commands given at Mt. Sinai. Because he believed God...God's laws perfectly fit his life.
3. Today, many see God's instructions for life, commandments, statues, and principals as a burden. They hang on to the past sins and it enslaves them!
a. Many fail to see that God gives one a new spirit new heart, new desires, goals and life. God give the very best one can have.
b. They fail to see how empty life is not obeying the Lord, and how God brings purpose and fulfillment.
4. Some are plagued by old sins and failures
a. They carry the weight of their sins, not seeing God, lifts the burdens.
b. Many can't really forgive themselves, and can't see that God, completely forgives.
c. Listening to the false, hellish teachings of works for salvation, many in truth see the situation as hopeless, not worth the effort.
d. But God's preacher the same as did Moses points men, women, boys and girls to the Lord and says to the sinner, "Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the lord" Ex. 14:12.
II. CALEB NOW DEMONSTRATES HIS FAITH GOD.
A. Canaan was a land of giants.
1. Yet, seen thru the eye of faith, Caleb saw them tumbling down.
2. He, saw God, in all His power as fighting for him.
3. The faithless and unbelievers called him a fool, wanted to kill him for his faith, and yet who really was the fool.
You let a Christian today try to step out by faith and serve the Lord and you can rest assured that he will be criticized. The never-do-well spiritually crowd will always be ready to offer a word of discouragement.
It is not the persecution of the world, nor the world that is hindering the work of God today....it is faithless church members who claim to have something they show little evidence of having.
4. Canaan Land and all the blessings of God, lay there for taking, and yet they simply refused God's free offer and gift.
B. In Joshua 14:12, after having to wander in the desert for 40 years, with all those who refused to trust God now dead, Caleb, a man who trusted God, again wants God's promise and God's best.
1. Josh. 14:8,14 states he wholly followed the Lord.
2. Josh 14:10, he says God kept him alive, and he was still as B as he was forty years back when he trusted God.
C. Then in V12, still claiming God's blessings, he cries "Give me this mountain!"
1. V14, Says, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb...because he wholly followed the Lord.
2. Caleb's circumstances were no different from anyone else of the Children of Israel in these circumstances.
Yet, he was different, he was a man who just believed God, and walked trusting Him.
3. He let God, save him, and direct his life. Claiming the mountain involved a fight. God did not just drop it out of the sky into his lap. There was risk and danger in taking the promise of God.
4. Caleb, at 85, he vigorously, attacks and defeats the Anakims, and takes the mountain. The mountain was actually a beautiful valley. It was where the huge cluster of grapes was brought from. Hebron was were Abraham and Sarah, Isaac/Rebekah, Jacob/Leah are buried there.
5. Caleb's faith was wearing working clothes.
James 2:18, "show me thy faith without works, and I will shew you my faith by my works." talk is cheap! The real show of faith was not saying he had faith, but rather in going ahead putting ones all on the line, trusting God.
1. Would there be even one or two today, who would by simple faith, place themselves in God's hands, and let God save them?
2. Is there a Christian, who sees that he or she has not been really trusting the Lord to direct all their life, and would simply come, kneel here at the front and surrender your all to the Lord to let God use you.
3. Maybe the Lord, has been dealing with someone about this matter of living by faith. You would want to come and ask me to pray with you about it. Maybe the first step of faith, is asking for someone to spare the matter with you in prayer.
Can you honest in the sight of God give any excuse or valid reason that each of us are not wholly following the Lord?
Then this is may be your Kadesh-Barnea. What will you do with Jesus? Will you go forward by faith. Are you willing to claim the mountain and being willing to endure the struggles of living for the Lord and then reap the reward and blessings of God?