God then declared that the people would wander in the wilderness for 40 years until everyone in the nation of Israel over the age of 20 had died. But then he makes a startling statement in vs. 24. “But my servant Caleb because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring him into the land into which he went and his descendants shall possess it” Of all the people of the nation of Israel, only Joshua and Caleb were spared.
Now back to Joshua 14. This is why Caleb was able to make such a bold request. God had promised that “mountain” to him 45 years earlier in the wilderness and he was ready to take it. Joshua granted Caleb’s request and according to Judges 1:20, Caleb and his people drove out the Anakim and conquered Hebron and the surrounding hill country that had been promised to him by God so many years earlier.
What contributed to Caleb’s success?
I. He possessed a “different spirit.” (Num. 14:24) Different from what? How?
As you recall, when the 12 spies came back from Canaan, 10 of them said, it’s a great land but we can’t take it. At the same time, two of them, Joshua and Caleb said, “Yes we can.” God has promised it to us and God never backs out on his promises. One of the reasons Caleb was so confident that the land could be conquered was that he had a “different spirit.” What does that mean? The 12 spies had a spirit of fear and trembling. All they saw in the land was GIANTS. All Caleb saw was the beautiful land and the opportunities it represented. Caleb’s different spirit was a spirit of courage based on faith.
It is the same spirit which David had in I Sam 17 when he faced Goliath. For days, Goliath had challenged anyone from the Army of Israel to fight all 9 feet of him. Everyone looked at this GIANT and then looked at themselves and like the 10 spies they were “grasshoppers in our own sight.” The ten spies were afraid because they compared themselves to the GIANTS and KNEW they could not defeat them. AND THEY WERE RIGHT!
Caleb and David saw the giants and compared them to God and KNEW that with God’s help they could defeat them. Caleb’s confidence of victory did not come from “the power of positive thinking” or from some glorified and exaggerated sense of self worth, but from his Faith in God.
Paul may have been thinking of Caleb and David when he told Timothy in II Tim. 1:7 that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control.”
2. Caleb followed God fully (Num. 14:24; Deut 1:36))
In this passage and in the parallel passage in Deut. 1:36 God uses this phrase to declare Caleb’s complete faithfulness to Him. Josh. 14:9 indicates that God’s declaration may have been delivered through Moses. Caleb uses the same phrase in Josh. 14:8 to declare his faithfulness and cite that as a reason why he should be given Hebron and the surrounding hill country. Caleb’s dedication to God was complete, unwavering and unending. Jesus declared in Matt. 17:20 that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. Caleb’s faith did not help him move a mountain but it surely helped him capture one.