85!After the conquest of the Southern powers when the sun stood still, the book of Joshua lists the conquests of the enemies in the North and then begins to explain how the land was distributed among the Israelites.
In the midst of these practical arrangements, we find the lovely story of Caleb... When the twelve spies went to check out the land 45 years previously, ten of the spies were fearful and pessimistic. It was only Joshua and Caleb who believed that God could help them overcome their enemies. Caleb was 40 years old then, he is 85 now.
One would think that Caleb would feel vindicated, but entitled. He could have sat back and said: "I knew God would be give us the land, now please give me a nice farm with a porch and a rocking chair."
But not Caleb! He is ready to claim and act on God's promises. He is filled with fire. He doesn't feel entitled, he is still ready to play his part. He is still vigorous and faith-full and asks Joshua to give him the hill country where the Anakites were. (The Anakites were reputed to be giants - the forefathers of the Goliath).
Now hill country is dangerous even when there aren't giants - whoever has the high ground has the advantage and whoever knows where the caves and gulleys are has the element of surprise. But Caleb is undaunted - he trusts God to give him victory over the enemy.
And so Joshua blesses Caleb who then achieves what he set out to do because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.
Many people in their fifties think their best years are behind them. Caleb at 85 paints a different picture. May we also be faith-full and wholehearted at 45, 55, 65, 75 and 85 and beyond!
Read the passage below to enjoy Caleb's feisty faith.
|Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.' |
10 "Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."
13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. (Joshua14:6-14)