Through forty-five years of wilderness wandering, Caleb believed God and clung to His promise. God had promised Caleb that he would enter the Promised Land. But in the meantime, he had to put up with all the whining, griping, and complaining of his fellow Israelites.
Caleb was there when they complained about the manna God had provided and cried out for meat like they had in Egypt. He was there when they rebelled against Moses. And he had to put up with all of it.
Yet Caleb believed that God was going to keep His promise. He was able to fully follow the Lord and finish well because he took God at His word.
And after years of waiting and resisting the temptation to follow the crowd, Caleb was ready to receive his award. At eighty-five years old, he said, “I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then” (Joshua 14:11 NLT).
Some of the young guys of Israel probably laughed at this point. What was this eighty-five-year-old man going to be doing? But Caleb was still strong. Though his outward man was perishing, his inward man had been renewed day by day (see 2 Corinthians 4:16).
He had maintained a first-love relationship with God, and as a result, he maintained his first strength. We see the practical results of this inner strength demonstrated in Joshua 15: “So Caleb was given the town of Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), which had been named after Anak’s ancestor. Caleb drove out the three groups of Anakites—the descendants of Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai, the sons of Anak” (verses 13–14 NLT).
Here, we discover that of all the people who received an inheritance in the land, only Caleb completely drove out the enemy. And he faced some of the most formidable foes in the entire land.
Caleb had specifically asked for Hebron. This was no garden spot. It was a rugged, treacherous area with a powerful enemy stronghold guarded by the strongest men. This was no easy duty for Caleb.
Being an older guy, he could have asked for a nice, comfortable plot of land where there were no enemies to drive out. But he asked for one of the toughest assignments. And then he drove out his enemies.
Maybe, just maybe, there was another motive for Caleb’s wanting Hebron. The Bible tells us that in Hebron, God spoke with Abraham face to face and gave him the promise of the land in the first place.
The very name Hebron is descriptive, meaning “fellowship, love, and communion.” This was the place that Caleb longed for—and ultimately received. While others longed for Egypt, Caleb longed for Hebron. While others looked back, Caleb looked forward. While others wanted to please themselves, Caleb wanted to please God. He stood on the promises of God.
We need to do the same. We need to remember that God will keep His promises.
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