“…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.” (Joshua 14:12, NKJV, added emphasis)
So, who is this guy Caleb? And what was there about him that we who serve in law enforcement can related to?
Caleb, in the original Hebrew, means “wholehearted” and “faithful”. The context of Scripture teaches that he was a warrior who wholeheartedly (“all in”) and faithfully followed after God and encouraged those around him to do the same. Like Christ, he came from Judah. And like Christ, he was a lion of Judah.
The biblical (meaning it is true) story of Caleb, a wholehearted, faithful man of God, begins in the book of Numbers. After being delivered from bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were led by God to the border of the “promised land” of Canaan (Genesis 12:7) — a land “flowing with milk and honey” that God had promised they would inherit (Exodus 3:8, 17). God, through Moses, chose twelve men, one from each tribe, to scout the land before entering. Among them was Caleb, representing the tribe of Judah. The twelve men spied out the land for forty days and then came back to Moses. They reported that the land was indeed fruitful, but its inhabitants were the mighty and fearful descendants of Anak (the Anakim — giants). Terrified by the size and strength of the Canaanites, ten of the spies warned Moses not to enter Canaan (Numbers 13:23–33).
But two–Caleb and Joshua–held fast. While the others turned out to be sheep, Caleb and Joshua were sheepdogs — warriors of God. They were, in fact, not unlike Isaiah in answering God’s call many years later (“Here am I, send me” — Isaiah 6:8). Caleb and Joshua both had a saving faith in the power and ability of the God of Israel. Yes, the wicked and lawless inhabitants of Canaan were a force to be reckoned with, but God was on their side. Caleb and Joshua believed God; they believed in His power and His promises. Unlike their colleagues who whined and cowered in fear (more sheep than sheepdog), Caleb and Joshua longed to GO — to get in the fight and be in alignment with God’s calling and will for their lives. In short, they had a Romans 8:31 “If God be for us, who can be against us” kind of faith and zeal for the things of God. And even after an incredibly grueling and frustrating wait of forty years during which God continued to train them (think of a police academy and field training that goes on for four decades), they were still more than ready to get in the fight.
From the very beginning Caleb was an “all in” man of faith. Because he believed and trusted in God, he did not die with the other spies. Joshua would go on to replace Moses, leading the people into the Promised Land. Caleb supported him, acting very much as Joshua’s Lieutenant.
Finally, once established in the land God has promised them, and now 85 years “young”, Caleb approached Joshua about his piece of the promised land that he had spied out so many years before — a mountain. What we call in Colorado the “high country” (although some have a different take on that term — lol).
Teaching on this, Calvary Chapel Monterey (CA) Pastor Nate Holdridge taught on three of Caleb’s attributes–his FAITH, his STRENGTH, and his LOVE–that I’ll expound upon here:
“Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, ‘You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. 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 him word again as it was in my heart. But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying, “Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God’” (Joshua 14:6-9).
We first note the faith of Caleb. The original faith from 40 years earlier still pulsed through his body. With intensity, he reminded Joshua of Moses’ promise to him. According to Moses, and in keeping with his name, Caleb “wholly followed the LORD,” a phrase oft-repeated about Caleb. He was a devoted man. His faith was still alive. He still believed. He still wanted to “go”.
Caleb’s faith was astounding. It was a faith that grew. It was a faith that had been tested. It was a faith that was alive. My prayer is that Caleb’s faith will be our faith today.
“And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming” (Joshua 14:10-11).
Secondly, we note the strength of Caleb. The claim he made was incredible. After years of fighting, we find Caleb at 85 years old. But you must fight against all images of all 85-year-old men you’ve ever met. Caleb was not like them. Caleb was just as strong then as he was at 40. I do not think he was self-deceived. I think God had powerfully worked in his life.
While so many others died, Caleb thrived. His joints and muscles and bones all radiated God’s glory, for he was still as strong as the day he spied out that land originally. He could and did take on the “bad guys” without failing.
Caleb’s strength was astounding. It was a strength that remained, a strength that grew. Does this not remind us of the inward strength we long to feel increase within us? Do we not want to be 85 years old with an internal power that is more than we had in our youth? Though the outward man perishes (I am very much feeling my age), the Spirit can make the inner man renewed day by day. Again, my prayer is that God will empower us to “serve and protect” (even if we’ve moved on to retirement) just as He did for Caleb, until He comes to take us home (heaven, for those who know Christ as Lord and Savior).
“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.” And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. And the name of Hebron formerly was Kirjath Arba (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim). Then the land had rest from war. (Joshua 14:12-14).
Finally, we note Caleb’s love. He loved “his” mountain, he loved God and he loved God’s people. Others in the book of Joshua would faint at the sight of the mountains; they were occupied by powerful, lawless and evil forces with heavy weaponry. The hill country was hard to overcome, hard to defeat; but Caleb wanted to take it. To him, it was the best opportunity. He was a mountain man, and he couldn’t wait for Joshua to release him upon it.
But it seemed there was more to Hebron than the difficulty of the terrain. Sure, Caleb looked forward to defeating the “criminal” (evil, wicked, lawless) Anakim (giants) there, but there was more going on here. Hebron was historical. Abraham had built an altar there after Lot’s departure. Abraham and Isaac and Jacob all sojourned there. It seemed to have been a place of fellowship with God. Caleb wanted the mountain, but more so, Caleb wanted God. He wholly followed God. He loved His Lord. And so should we.
Caleb’s love was astounding and paints a picture of Christ’s astounding love for us. It was and is a love and devotion rarely found. Hebron means “association” or “league”; may we crave an association with God as Caleb did. Let us be in league with Him. Let us become a people whose hearts are captured by the mountain. Mount Calvary opened up Mount Hebron to us. The blood made way for friendship with God. May this love develop within us as it did with Caleb.
Caleb was an outrageous, “all in” warrior (sheepdog, police officer) man of God, and a far cry from the norms of his day. Caleb was bold, full of faith and in love with God. He did not war for war’s sake (and neither should we), but for God. He wanted to see God’s kingdom advance and His people protected. The likeness of Christ was found in Him, for Jesus wanted His “mountain” as well — for US. Our Lord set His face towards His cross set on the mountain of Calvary. He did not grow complacent or satisfied. He was willing to be obedient to the Father. He battled for more. He battled for us. To save us, redeem us and (when our time comes) to take us Home to our “mountain” in heaven (and I’m praying for a mountain to oversee in His Millennial Kingdom to come).
No, our “Captain” is not calling us to be nailed to the cross as He was, but most certainly to pick up our cross and follow hard after Him as Caleb did:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) Friends, God has called you and I be His modern-day Caleb's. To be 'all in' for Him in our faith and service. But like Caleb, we can only do that if we truly know Him as Lord and Savior. Click To Tweet
Friends, God has called you and I be His modern-day Caleb’s. To be “all in” for Him in our faith and service. But like Caleb, we can only do that if we truly know Him as Lord and Savior. If you’ve yet to surrender in faith and say “yes” in repentance and faith to Christ as Lord and Savior.