Who is your favourite person in the Bible, our Lord aside? The Bible is full of many fine and strange people, it can be impossible to choose. But, when pressed to pick, mine is Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite.
At 40 years of age, Caleb was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land God promised Israel. On their return, the spies reported the land was good and the people strong. They specifically named a feared people, the descendants of Anak. The Anakim had an impressive pedigree, descendants of the Nephilim, “god-like” offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” (Genesis 6:4). These people were giants. Through fear, ten spies concluded Israel could not conquer this land. Against the ten Caleb declared to the people, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). Without hesitation, Caleb could see Israel had more than enough to complete this impossible challenge. The people of Israel would not believe it and consequently, under God’s judgement, they were exiled to wander in the desert for 40 years.
45 years later Caleb stood once more in God’s land of promise. The intervening years filled with bickering, battles, wandering, until a whole generation of Israelites had passed away. We could forgive Caleb if he had become a bitter, frustrated man. This is what he said to the Israelite leader Joshua as he set out to claim his family land:
“So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:10-12, NIV)
Caleb wanted those giants! He could not wait to get to the hill country and tackle what Israel thought impossible. There was no diminishment with age. He knew the Lord’s promise, he trusted in the Lord’s help, he was still “well able to overcome it”. Caleb’s confidence in God to tackle the impossible is inspirational!
I see in Global interaction a Caleb ‘spirit’. We go to some of the most challenging parts of the globe and labor to reach the least reached. I see in our Baptist Care a Caleb ‘spirit’. We work with the most vulnerable in our state so their lives will be transformed. Does our church have a Caleb ‘spirit’? What great giants might God have for us? Personally, can you see a Caleb ‘spirit’ in you?