Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Judges 13, 14, 15 Caleb's Account

apportionments to the tribes of Israel, with t...Image via Wikipedia
Nestled between the accounts of battles and of land allotments, rests Caleb’s request.  In Numbers 13, Caleb is listed as one of the original twelve spies that Moses sent out to explore the land of Canaan.  While ten of the spies concentrated on the obstacles facing Israel, both Caleb and Joshua focused entirely on who God was and on what He promised the nation.  As the eighty-five year old Caleb recounted that incident, he stated that he was forty years old when Moses sent him out to spy the land and that he brought back a report according to his convictions.  In the KJV, the same passage reads, “I brought him word as it was in mine heart.” (Joshua 14:7)

No matter what difficulty may have lurked around him, Caleb clung tenaciously to God’s promise.  He didn’t falter or waffle in his belief in the absolute importance or significance of God’s promise.  Because Caleb focused entirely on God’s will for Israel, on God’s promise to Israel, God blessed him with the strength and vigor he needed to fulfill God’s vision for him.  God, through Moses, promised the hill country of Hebron to Caleb. And, as Caleb spoke to Joshua, who just completed a successful five year campaign subduing most of the land of Canaan, he was requesting permission to engage in yet another battle.
In response, Joshua blessed Caleb who then successfully took the land.

Even though Caleb and Joshua wandered with Israel through the desert as they waited for their peers to die, they kept a burning love for God’s vision for Israel alive in their hearts.
As they loved what God loved, they received from God the spiritual strength, physical strength, and mental strength to do God’s will.

The Book of Joshua could be construed as a disturbing blitzkrieg against seemingly peaceful inhabitants of Canaan.  These passages are troubling unless viewed from the standpoint of an absolutely holy God.  Because both Caleb and Joshua closely identified themselves with God and with God’s zeal for His Commandments, they were probably better able to discern the world around them through spiritual eyes.  Maybe, when they looked at the people of Canaan they saw the incarnate evil which God commanded them to eradicate.

 God has always waged a war against sin and against entire societies steeped in sin.  While God prefers for people to repent and to receive His forgiveness, He will not force man to accept His Forgiveness, His Sovereign Will, His Wisdom, His Commandments, His Love.  Living outside of God’s Will allows an enmity to exist between men and God.  Unfortunately for people who choose to reject God’s Commands, God effects judgment.  As Israel marched through the land of Canaan, it was God who went before Joshua and his army, assuring Israel speedy victories.  One of the most startling revelations in Joshua 14 is that all of those battles were completed in the space of five years.
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