Many people in the Old Testament were filled with faith about what God could do on their behalf, but Caleb is definitely in the top 10 when it comes to faith level. His certainty in God’s word is both challenging and encouraging to me.
God had promised a land “flowing with milk and honey” to the Israelites – that sounds like a pretty good gig, right? What a wonderful place that would be! But, what the people didn’t realize is that the land wasn’t move-in ready, they were going to have to do some work. They would have to drive out the inhabitants before they could stake their claim and make the land their home.
Moses sent a scouting party to check out the area and Caleb was, of course, one of the men picked to go into the promised land. While 10 out of the 12 spies were Debbie Downers who said “nope, it’s impossible”, Caleb’s faith in God came pouring out of his mouth.
“But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:30 (ESV)
Do you notice the immediacy in his words? He didn’t say, let’s hit the gym and beef up, then we can take them. He didn’t call for all the generals to come and create a battle plan. He didn’t even say “let’s pray about it” or call for a prayer and revival service. The equation was simple in his mind:
God said it = it’ll happen.
Though the inhabitants were huge and strong and mighty, he was confident in the Word of the God he loved and served! He didn’t let his surroundings cloud his view of the Lord, he allowed his knowledge of God is impact how he saw his circumstances.
This is something that’s easy to talk about but much harder to live out. Does your perspective on God’s commands change based on your circumstances? When things go wrong, do you begin to doubt God’s word? Or in a difficult season does your obedience level plummet? If you’re in that boat, know that I’m right there next to you. But I am learning to have faith beyond circumstances because God is good and kind and loving.
Caleb was a faith-filled and obedient man who eventually did see the land promised to his people. I would imagine this was a source of mixed emotions for him: he saw the thing God had promised, he saw the fulfillment of God’s word, but probably was overcome by the sting of what could have been. I imagine he looked upon the beautiful land he had scouted in his youth and imagined how different the Israelites’ lives could’ve been had they just had the courage to obey.
I think Caleb’s story reminds us that there can be a sting of disappointment when it comes to obedience, yet I think he would say, if we were to ask him now, that obedience is still worth it.
How’s your faith when it seems like circumstances are stacked against you? Does your faith waiver when others doubt? How can you encourage those around you to be filled with faith today?
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