Summary: Joshua and Caleb are great examples of commitment.
We've looked at the example of Noah and Abraham, as we considered the importance of faith and obedience. Now, we're going to look at Joshua and Caleb, who give us a portrait of commitment.
You're familiar with the term "oxymoron" aren't you? An oxymoron is defined as "a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction." Examples are: Dark light; Guest host; Science fiction; Living dead; Evil hero; and Stupid professor.
"Certain characteristics are so inherent to Christianity that to neglect them is to become a walking oxymoron. A Christian without commitment is such an oxymoron." - Chuck Colson
For a person to claim to be a Christian and yet not be committed to following Christ daily, is a walking contradiction. A believer who is not living out a commitment to Christ isn't living as God has designed them to live. They are destined to live without purpose or passion; to wander through life aimlessly and end up not being part of anything of eternal significance.
But that's not God's plan for His children. That's why He works in our lives to call us to leave our comfort zone and live in the character zone. He often does this in the same way He did in the lives of the children of Israel: bringing us to a defining moment, a moment of decision.
We read here about such a moment. Moses sent 12 spies into the land promised by God, to bring back a report. They did so; and when they did, the decision facing the people was a defining moment. Would they believe God or not? Would they obey God or not? Would they remain committed to following God or not? (Read 13:26-14:4; 6-9).
What a contrast between the commitment of Joshua and Caleb and the lack of commitment on the part of the rest of the people! What caused the lack of commitment on the part of the people? Two things:
1. They had a vision problem - 13:31-33
They couldn't look beyond the obstacles to see their opportunities. They had a vision problem.
"Great opportunities often come disguised as hard work." - Anonymous
Many fail to make the most of opportunities God places before them, because they are fixated more on the work of overcoming obstacles than on reward to be gained and possibilities to be fulfilled by doing so.
Yes, stepping out in faith and obedience to claim the land of Canaan would involve fighting battles, even battles against giants, but the
opportunity for reward awaiting them would've been worth the effort!
“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.” - Dr. Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
Joshua and Caleb were ready and willing to step out in faith and obedience to the call of God because they looked past the obstacles in their way and instead saw the opportunities before them, opportunities to be stretched and blessed by God! But unlike Joshua and Caleb, the people had a lack of commitment because they had a vision problem.
2. They had a memory problem - 14:2-4
They had forgotten that the same God who called them to step out by faith and obedience and claim the land of Canaan was the One who had delivered them from Pharaoh's tyranny; and parted the Red Sea for them to cross over on dry land; and had fed them with manna from heaven; and had supplied them with water from a rock. Surely, He had not done all that to allow them to now experience defeat and death!
Others had forgotten who their God was, but not Joshua and Caleb. They factored their past experience with God into the equation and Caleb declared, "We can certainly do it" (13:30).
"A man of God in the will of God is immortal until His work is done." - Dr. David Jeremiah
"Our heavenly Father is a very experienced One. He knows very well that His children wake up with a good appetite every morning. He sustained 3 million Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years. We do not expect he will send 3 million missionaries to China: but if he did, He would have ample means to sustain them all. Depend on it, God's work done God's way will never lack God's supply." - Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission
"The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!" - 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (The Message)
Joshua and Caleb were ready and willing to step out in faith and obedience to the call of God because they remembered how the Lord had been faithful to them in the past and knew He would remain faithful to them in the present. But unlike Joshua and Caleb, the people had a lack of commitment because they had a memory problem.