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Pastor Trey Rhodes,
You might wonder why I believe in heaven in an age like this. One of the Russian cosmonauts came back and said, "Some people say God lives out there. I looked around, and I didn’t see any God out there." Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth, says he looked in the wrong place. If he’d stepped outside the space ship without his space suit, he would have seen God very quickly.
-- Leighton Ford
Background: Caleb stands out in the Bible as a great hero of faith. Six times we are told that he “wholly followed the Lord” (Num. 14:24; 32:12; Deut. 1:36; Joshua 14:8-9, 14). Caleb was “an overcomer” (1 John 2:13-14 and 5:4), a man who surrendered wholly to the Lord and fully obeyed His Word. We may trace his spiritual history in four stages.
1. HEROIC FAITH IS BORN IN THE FIRE (JOSHUA 14:7A)
Explanation: CALEB THE SUFFERER -Since Caleb was forty years old at Kadesh-barnea (Josh. 14:7), he had to have been born in Egypt.
1 Chron. 2:18 makes Caleb the son of Hezron, a descendant of Pharez (1 Chron. 2:5); and this would put him in the ancestry of Christ (Matt. 1:3). In either case, Caleb was redeemed by the blood of the Passover lamb, delivered from Egypt, and given the prospects of a great inheritance in Canaan. He would have had no inheritance under Joshua had he not first experienced redemption under Moses.
Caleb was born in Egypt while the Jews were enduring great suffering.
Application: If you’re suffering, then take heart, God wants to build a great faith in you. Here’s how you can release Him to do it:
1) Accept whatever happens to you as God’s will for you;
2) Thank Him for what He’s about to teach you and do in the midst of the trouble (God didn’t work until the Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego were in the fire);
3) Determine to do God’s will no matter the opposition (Never doubt in the dark what God revealed to you in the light)
4) Do the will of the Father. John 5:19- "The Son can only do what He sees His Father doing."
2. HEROIC FAITH IS STRENGTHENED BY THE OBSTACLES (JOSHUA 14:7B-8)
Explanation: CALEB THE DEFENDER Caleb and Joshua were among those spies, which shows the position of confidence they held in the nation. When the report was given, only Caleb and Joshua defended Moses and encouraged the nation to enter Canaan. The ten spies despised the land (14:36), while Caleb and Joshua delighted in the land. The nation wanted to go back; the two men of faith wanted to go ahead. The majority was walking by sight; the minority was walking by faith. The rebellious nation saw only the obstacles, the problems; the believing leaders saw the opportunities, the prospects. What was the result? The ten spies and the unbelieving generation died in the wilderness! But Caleb and Joshua lived to enter and enjoy the Promised Land. “To be carnally minded is death” (Rom. 8:6). It took courage for Caleb to stand against the whole nation, but God honored him for it.
Application: This is when you realize that it is too big for you. You have no choice but to let God take over.
3. HEROIC FAITH IS MOTIVATED BY FULFILLING GOD’S WILL (JOSH. 14:9-12; 15:13-15)
Explanation: CALEB THE WANDERER Caleb did not die in the wilderness, but he still had to suffer with the unbelieving nation during their nearly forty years of wandering. Think of what this godly, believing man had to endure!
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