Too often we feel we have reached the ending of our usefulness…
The pile is high and growing steadily every day. The irons are red hot and there are more waiting to be heated up. One more call. One more task. One more event.
There are some, and at times I know this is me, that do not know how or when to stop. We keep picking things up, and not setting them down or handing them off. One person describes this as burning the candle at both ends. Double the load. More and more to do. More and more candles to burn.
The name Caleb popped up on my radar recently.
He was one of the 12 spies Moses sent into the promised land. His job was to bring back a report of his findings. “Are the people strong? Or weak? Few? Many? Is the land good? Or bad? Do people live in tents or cities? Is the land rich or poor? Forests, or not? Regardless… Bring back some fruit! Show me what they have!” (Numbers 13:17-20)
What were the results? It was the best land ever! But it was occupied by a strong people living in fortified cities. And there were some giants! Of the 12 spies, 10 were fearful. “We are as grasshoppers in our own sight.” Not the way they were perceived by the inhabitants, rather, the way they saw themselves in light of those giants.
Too many times this is our worst enemy! Our view of our self…
But Caleb calmed everyone down… To Moses he said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” Now. Don’t wait. It’s possible. And we are the people to do it!
You can read about this in Numbers 13-14. It’s amazing when you consider all the facts, the calling of God, and the lack of will of the people. Why do some give up when it’s obvious the element of strength and surprise are on their side? Why do modern Christians give up the fight when it’s obvious that God is on their side?
The people cried for a new leader! Take us back to Egypt. It is better to live there than here! Joshua and Caleb stand up to them and challenges them to let God’s promise be realized. But God grows weary of those who are rejecting his plan. It’s a great story. Moses stands in the gap and God promises that those who rejected him will never see the promised land.
But not Joshua. And not Caleb. They live through the next 40 years as proof of God’s blessings on them for not rejecting God’s plan. They survive while all those who rejected God died off. Then Joshua picks up after Moses and leads the children who are now grown. Promised land! Here we come!
Here’s the thing about Caleb… He’s 85 years old. I imagine him aging out, but not quieting his voice as to the magnificent land that God had given them. Morning to night, can you not hear him telling the youngsters, “There’s a happy land of promise over in the great beyond…!” Oh…let me tell you about the fruit we saw! Huge. Plentiful. Just waiting for us.
For 40 years! Can you imagine challenging the next generation to yearn for that place which caused their parents to die in the wilderness?
Even with all of his faithfulness, there was still one more thing to do.
As the LORD had commanded Moses,
so the children of Israel did; and they divided the land.
Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal.
And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him:
“You know the word which the LORD said to Moses the man of God
concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea.
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 back word to him as it was in my heart.
Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me
made the heart of the people melt,
but I wholly followed the LORD my God.
So Moses swore on that day, saying,
‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance
and your children’s forever,
because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’
And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive,
as He said, these forty-five years,
ever since the LORD spoke this word to Moses
while Israel wandered in the wilderness;
and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old.
As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me;
just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war,
both for going out and for coming in.
Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day;
for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there,
and that the cities were great and fortified.
It may be that the LORD will be with me,
and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.”
And Joshua blessed him,
and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance.
(Joshua 14:5-13 NKJV)
Give me this mountain! Yes! There will be a fight! We will have to deal with the inhabitants and their fortified cities… But, Give Me This Mountain!
Here’s a key. Treat yourself as a child of God even when it seems the entire world is against you. Be prayerful, faith, kind, just. Do not get discouraged due to the passage of years. Faithful daily, faithful yearly. Go through the trials and the desert. The day will come when you will still be able to accomplish that last task that was promised to you at a much earlier age. Remember it? It’s there. You thought the dream was gone. The calling was dead. The fire was no longer burning.
Maybe the most important thing to realize is God’s timing, not yours. The time will come for one last challenge. All your efforts of persevering through troubled years will be rewarded at the right time. Keep preparing… The day will come and the mountain will be yours!