Caleb is one of the heroes of biblical history. He is not mentioned much, but what we know of him challenges us to live fully surrendered to God. The secret of his life and influence is wrapped up in one phrase, repeated three times in Joshua 14:
“Nevertheless, my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully.’
“Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.
“Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken.”
So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the LORD God of Israel fully (vv. 8-20 NASB).
You remember the story, as Moses sent twelve spies into the promised land. Caleb and Joshua were the only two who brought God’s faith-filled report back to the Israelites.
Following fully meant standing in faith, even when an entire nation stood in doubt and opposition. It meant going against the crowd. It meant believing. It meant spiritual conviction, regardless of the outcome. It meant the prospect of ridicule and loss of relationship with lesser men.
If Caleb had wavered in doubt, like the other ten spies, we would never know his name.
Other men such as Stephen, Peter, Paul, Huss, Luther, Whitefield, Count Von Zinzendorf, Edwards, Evan Roberts, Jim Elliott, and thousands of unnamed believers (who will lead us in heaven) followed Caleb in spiritual convictions.
His life fueled the faith of every courageous man and woman who followed. We are spurred on by his convictions and the results of a life of courage.
When you hear Caleb now, at 85 years old with full physical and spiritual vigor, you realize that this man lived with no remorse because of one spiritual decision made at one critical time. And he was rewarded by God for his faith, just as men like this always are.
To the end, he still followed fully, ready to take on a mountain filled with giants. His faith had done nothing but grow through the years … and he finished well.
We are all faced with such moments—moments when we decide if we will believe God or run in humanistic fear. But we must remember that these are the moments that make men of God. For those who “follow the Lord fully,” their lives will be filled with confidence, their usefulness is assured, and their future is rewarded.
God, make me a man like Caleb! Help me to stand even when others doubt, and move by “every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Let me see giants as mere “bread” when You are with me. Give me spiritual courage and conviction. Help me to see that one full-faith decision made at a critical time can shape my life and determine my destiny. And help me finish strong!