Scripture: Joshua 14:1-15
Observation: Joshua began to give out allotments of land to the Israelite tribes. He meets the request of Caleb, who asks for his plot of land as fulfillment of the promise Moses made to him years before.
Application: I hate waiting. While I like to think of myself as mature in many ways, I’m about as mature as a two-year-old who was just told “no” to having another lollipop when it comes to being patient. I can’t do it. If I want something, I want it on my timeline – and that timeline is usually now. No waiting required.
I would have been a terrible Israelite.
These tribes of Israel waited generations for the promises of God to be fulfilled. In Joshua 14, we read about a man named Caleb who was a professional waiter. When I say “waiter,” I’m not talking about waiting tables at the local Applebee’s; I’m talking about literally waiting years and years (45 years to be exact) for his promise to come true.
Decades before, Moses sent out a group of men to explore the land of Canaan and report back about what was going on there. This was the land that God had promised – which meant that God would find a way to give it to them. However when the men went, they encountered powerful people who already ruled the land – and many of the men began to fear and doubt their ability to take what God had promised them. As they returned and reported back, most of the men began to incite fear in the Israelites, convincing them that they couldn’t face the people in Canaan. Only two men – Joshua and Caleb – acted out of faith and assured the Israelites that they could enter the land.
“For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.” (v. 8)
As a reward for his faithfulness, Moses promised Caleb part of the Promised Land. (v. 9)
His faithfulness helped him stay focused on the fulfillment.
How easy it is to get our eyes off of God’s plan for us when we start to feel fear or doubt or pressure from others to veer away. But when we stay faithful to God, we stay focused on the fulfillment of his promises.
Caleb shows us a picture of how to stay faithful so we can stay focused on fulfillment:
- He obeyed: When Moses sent him to Kadesh-barnea (in Canaan), he went. (v. 7)
- He was honest: When the men saw the enemies who currently occupied Canaan, they began to fear, and they let that fear dictate the report they gave to the Israelites. Caleb was ruled by faithfulness, not by fear; he was truthful about what was happening in Canaan. (v. 7)
- He believed: He continued to believe that the promise would be fulfilled – and that belief informed how he saw his world. He didn’t attribute his health to his own good choices; he acknowledges that the Lord kept him alive and well. (v. 10)
- He knew the Lord was with him: And because the Lord was with him, his victory wasn’t a question mark but rather an exclamation point. (v.10)
In those moments when we need to stay faithful and focused, let us use Caleb as our guide: let’s obey. Let’s be honest – not giving into fear but living in the freedom of the truth. Let’s believe. Let’s remember the Lord is with us – and that’s all we need.
Prayer: God, thank you for this reminder of how to stay faithful to you. I pray for the courage to obey, to be honest, to believe, and to know you are with me – and let everything I say and do flow out of that. I pray for patience and for perseverance. Amen.