Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Love This Guy!

Ever read the story of Caleb? It's a great story. Here's the end of his story.

Caleb was one of twelve guys whom Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land before the Israelites invaded it. And he was one of two of those twelve that returned with a favorable report about the Israelites' chances of taking the land (Joshua being the other). The other ten guys said that there was no way they would be able to take the land that God had promised them because it was filled with giants, and that the people of Israel were essentially doomed to a lifetime of wilderness-wandering. As a result of their unbelief, the current generation of Israelites were forbidden to ever enter the Promised land, EXCEPT for Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who believed that God would be with the people and they could successfully take the land. In fact, the prospect of giants in the land didn't seem to shake either Caleb or Joshua one bit. Why not? Because they knew God would be with them.

So the people of Israel were doomed to wander the wilderness until the unbelieving generation died off. Unfortunately for Joshua and Caleb, this meant forty years of waiting to enter the Promised Land. But the day finally comes and the Israelites invade the land that God had promised to them, and they begin to take it.

After a five to seven year military campaign, a good portion of the Promised Land is now under Israelite control, and the people begin divvying up the land and start to make Israel their permanent home. About this time, an 85 year old Caleb approaches Joshua and asks him for a chunk of land on which he can make his home. Before Israel had entered the land, Moses had promised Caleb that he would inherit the land that he had originally spied out - the land filled with giants. So Caleb has essentially come to collect - he wants the land that was promised to him by Moses, and Joshua blesses him and gives it to him.

But there's a catch: the land that is promised to Caleb is still filled with giants, even after the Israelite invasion. Not everybody has been cleared out, and there is still a significant giant population in Hebron, the land where Caleb was headed. But that doesn't shake this spit-fire of an old man. He says, "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. So now give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said."

Wow! Think of the faith of this guy. He's been waiting for 45 years for God to make good on his promise, and that day has finally come. 45 years of trusting God to be faithful! And there are still giants in the land that need to be taken care of. What does this 85 year old man say? "No problem. Bring 'em on. If God's with me, I'll take care of them. I'm still as fit today as ever I was. I can come and go, and I can still handle myself in a scrape."

This is a man of remarkable faith. He believed God to be faithful; he believed God to help him; he actively believed God even at the ripe old age of 85. What a cool story.

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