Thought for the Week - 26th FebruaryPastor Gareth Watkins
Joshua 14: 6-14
Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal.
And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him:
“You know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God
concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea.
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 back word to him as it was in my heart.
Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God.
So Moses swore on that day, saying,
‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’
And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said,
these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses
while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now,
here I am this day, eighty-five years old.
As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me;
just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war,
both for going out and for coming in.
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.
Alison wrote last week about Caleb being a man who would not accept the word “but”. He believed what God had showed him, and followed God wholeheartedly. He saw giants in his life, fortified cities, but nevertheless he trusted God and went with God. He was one of those who inherited the Promised Land. His family members prospered after and because of his faithfulness. We sometimes think, does it happen like that? Do the generations after us get blessed or suffer because of our faithfulness? The Bible talks very much of that being the case.
In the verses above, Caleb went to speak to Joshua and all these different matters regarding his situation had come before them as he spoke to him. Caleb was 85 – there’s no retiring in the things of God! God kept him for 45 years after the original call. God had given him strength, and at eighty five, he still had the strength that God wanted for him. God had kept him alive; he’d faced many enemies and battles. He obtained an inheritance and had done everything God had commanded him. His faith was ongoing from the time of Moses to that of Joshua. The leadership changed and yet Caleb’s faith in God remained strong, and he continued in the blessings
If you had to write an epitaph for yourself, would you like to say that your strength was God given? That God had kept you spiritually alive? That God had helped you face the giants? That you had an inheritance from God that was a blessing for your family for generation to generation? Or would you prefer to us the words “but”? But… I haven’t got the education, I have this problem, or I’m not strong enough. Thereby we fall away and our families are never heard of again.
This man followed God with all his heart. The faith in God which he followed wholeheartedly kept him strong, safe and going forward. He was given Hebron as an inheritance because he wholly followed the Lord.
To be like Caleb we have to be people of great faith. He started with a little faith and kept on, until he ended his life as a man of great faith. You could have turned a chariot around on the top of the walls of Jericho, but this man – with his people from the wilderness without armies – had faith in God to break those walls down. This man was one of the men who said “if God has told me, then I will go”. His years in this example made no difference. His natural strength made no difference to him. Why? Because it was God’s path that he was following!
There are things that will come against us, but this man is saying that years make no difference to him. He had God’s strength. He is saying that his own life wouldn’t matter to him, because it was God’s plan that he was following. He’s saying that the giants he faced wouldn’t matter to him, because it’s God’s path that he was following.
It has to be the same for us. If giants come into our life – the things we can’t get past – that’s something that God Himself will have to do for us, because we can’t continue our walk unless God takes the giant out of the way. That’s when it becomes our faith that wins the battles. God has to go before us, because we can’t do it in a natural way. We can’t change our school, community or home. But as you walk on in faith with God, you can establish a Christian home, you can change your working environment, and you can change your community.
God will fight the battles and the giants will break. And we will have what God has planned for us. Our faith will take us through all manner of things, and our inheritance will follow afterwards. Our inheritance will be there for our children and their children after that. Caleb’s inheritance was left for his loved ones, not by his own actions but because of his faith and his trust in God. He followed God’s voice. If we’re going to follow God’s voice, then we need increasing faith.
In the Bible there are other men with incredible faith. Look at John, who wrote Revelation while in a salt mine! In 2017, we can say the exactly same as Caleb – we can expect all these things for ourselves and our generations if we’re like Caleb and wholly following the Lord God of Israel.
When you follow on in faith, you find that when people turn against God, they turn against the leadership. Caleb saw that. As he followed on in faith, others started saying “but, there are giants”, “we’re not going to follow that path” etc. What happened to them? They died in the wilderness. They had a problem with God, and started to moan and complain to Joshua and Moses.
We read in Proverbs 18:21:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Caleb saw everything that was given by God and exactly that which was in front of him. He wasn’t a stupid man – he was given a position by God to follow on in such a way. Other people started to complain and use the word “but”. I believe that Caleb saw what was given by God, while the others spoke spiritual and physical death into their lives. As they kept speaking against God, things started to happen to them inwardly and those things outworked themselves in spiritual and physical death.
What is our inheritance? Our inheritance becomes ours because of the cross of Christ. Christ became a curse for each one of us that we might inherit the inheritance of Abraham. Caleb saw his inheritance. We can see our inheritance by the blessing of Christ in our families and our lives. We become part of the blessing of Abraham because of the blood and the curse that Christ became for us. Christ died and was punished by God that we could become part of everything that God had set up for the whole of the human race, starting with Abraham. If we are part of that inheritance, we see the outworking of God in our lives and our church now in 2017.
We are part of God’s creative plan and purpose. The inheritance that becomes ours is because of what God has put in place. Caleb, in his own right, could never have inherited the things he did. You and I could never inherit the things we potentially have available for us, without Christ.
The greatest thing you can give your children is an inheritance in Christ. That inheritance that will go to them, will go to their generations. Go forward, just like Caleb, into and inhabit the places that God sets before us. Knowing the Doctrine about Christ is not enough. What is enough is following Christ in everything you’re supposed to do and everywhere you’re supposed to go. That’s the important part! In the following of Christ, are all the blessings and inheritances and following on in faith.
Ask yourself if you’re going on in your faith. There is a plan and a place for each of us in God’s kingdom!