Numbers 14:1-9; Joshua 14:6-15
If I ever become a pastor, then the first sermon series I’d like to do would be “Unsung Heroes.” There are some men and women of faith in Scripture who provide lessons and good examples for us, but they aren’t as famous as Moses, David, Noah, etc. If they’re mentioned in God’s word, however, then there’s a reason.
The first one I’d like to examine would be Caleb. He was first mentioned last chapter when Moses chose him along with eleven others to spy out the land of Canaan and report back on what they found. On some issues, the report was unanimous: They all agreed that the land was extremely fertile and would be a great location to settle as far as geography was concerned. They also agreed that the current residents were very formidable. However, ten saw only the size of the natives, and said they’re too big for us. Caleb and Joshua, however, compared them to the size of the God of Israel, and found the Canaanites hopelessly outclassed. These two, along with Moses and Aaron, stood against the opinion of the entire nation, and risked being stoned to death for their stance. There is no record of any hesitation in their statement: "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land.. . and will give it to us. . .Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them." The Lord declared that out of this generation that left Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb would enter; not even Moses would have this privilege. Of course, they would also have to wait forty years for this, but again we see sin affecting not only the sinners but bystanders as well.
Along with his courage and faith in the face of fear and peer pressure, Caleb also displayed a virtue I’d like to emulate someday. He showed a complete lack of what I would call the “retirement attitude.” At age eighty-five, he showed a willingness, no, an eagerness to claim his inheritance. He had no desire for easy-to-conquer valleys; instead, he wanted the “hill country” of Hebron, where the Anakites and their large cities were located. His attitude reflects a friend of Paul Harvey’s: The radio news broadcaster once remarked that a friend of his said he would retire “on the day I find that word in my Bible.” Way too many Christians have apparently decided that since they’re in their senior years and have retired from the workplace, God doesn’t have much else for them here, and they’re basically waiting for death and Heaven. My wife’s grandmother spent every day in her later years praying for all her children and grandchildren, and she continued this until her Lord called her into glory. Caleb’s spirit lives on in some believers, and his example stands as an encouragement and a challenge to all of us, whether eighty-five or eight.
Father, all my days are numbered, and only you know how much longer I have to work before I have to hand everything back to you. Help me make the most of every moment you give me.