Joshua 14:6-14 – Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. 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 him word again as it was in my heart. But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. 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.” Then Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel.
Caleb is definitely one of my favorite people in the Bible. At age 40, Caleb was one of the spies who were sent into the land of Canaan. He, along with Joshua, stood against the other ten spies who spread fear in the hearts of the people of Israel. Caleb was confident that, though the people in the land were large and the cities well fortified, God would keep his word and drive them out, giving the land to Israel.
At the time of this writing, Caleb is now 85 years old. He and Joshua are the only two of their generation to survive the wandering in the wilderness. One might expect that Caleb would be ready to retire and take it easy, but that is not what he does. Caleb goes to Joshua and reminds him that Moses promised him a certain hill country. Caleb wanted to take his people and settle in a place where the original inhabitants of the land had not yet been driven out. Not only were there people in the land, the people were the Anakim, a race of large (perhaps giant) warriors.
Caleb tells Joshua that, though he is 85, he still is as strong for battle today as he was 45 years ago when he spied out the land. Caleb did not opt for a cushy retirement and a rocking chair. Caleb climbed the mountains and took on the giants, fully trusting that God would give him victory. He took the land, and when this book was written, the author simply said that Caleb is still up there, following God.
One more thing is worthy of note in the life of Caleb. Three times in this small section of scripture, it is mentioned that Caleb wholly followed the LORD, His God. Caleb was not someone of half faith. He did not follow God a little. He did not follow God with only a part of his life. His faith was not a mere portion of who he was. Caleb followed God wholly. Without question, that is as good a thing as could ever be said about any man of God.
Lord, I come to you this morning, and I thank you for recording the details about the life of your servant Caleb. I pray that I would be like him, following you wholly. Let me not ever make my faith only a portion of who I am. Let me never follow you with half my heart. Let me follow you wholeheartedly. I also pray that, like Caleb, I will never retire to the comforts of this world when there is work to be done for your kingdom. I was not made for the comforts of this world. I was made to follow you. Please let me follow you all the days of my life. Please give me health, resources, and passion to serve you all my days until you call me home.