Summary: Caleb had a different attitude than the others. This opened the door for him to enter the Promised Land
One of my favorite stories is about a scrawny kid from West Texas who attended a small high school. They didn't have a wrestling program, but he read a book on wrestling and asked one of the assistant football coaches if he would enter him in some of the wrestling matches in that region.
The coach agreed to help the kid. This little guy was neither strong nor skillful, but he had one enduring quality--he refused to give up. He won every single wrestling match because he tenaciously held on to his opponents and wore them down.
By the end of the season, he was undefeated and made it to the state finals for his weight classification. The kid's opponent was a two-time state champ and a bona fide college prospect. As the scrawny kid faced the state champion, the guy made a couple of quick moves, and soon had the West Texas kid on his back and about to get pinned.
The coach knew his athlete was about to lose, and he couldn't bear to watch it, so he turned his head away. Suddenly, the coach heard the roar of the crowd and when he turned around, his kid was on top of the state champ, pinning him. He had won the match!
The little guy bounced across the mat and hugged the coach and said, "Coach, I won! I won!"
The coach said, "Sure, son. But I missed it. I turned away just before you were about to lose. What happened?"
The kid said, "Coach, that guy was good. He had me twisted like a pretzel on that mat. But you know me, coach. I NEVER quit. I refused to give up! So I opened my eyes, and there in front of my face was a big toe. I don't even know if it's against the rules or not, but I bit into that big toe with all my strength...and coach, it's amazing what you can do when you bite your OWN toe!"
(From a sermon by Larry Semore, The Spirit of Expectancy - Part 3 - Caleb, 6/15/2011)
Today as we continue our trek through time we will look at a man who refused to give up even though an entire nation except for one stood against him.
Over 2700 years has passed since we began our journey in the Garden of Eden. We’ve witnessed the fall of man into sin and the destruction of the world by a flood. We traveled with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the land promised them by God. We have seen the draw of Egypt, which represents the world, on these spiritual leaders when their trust in God failed them. Last week we examined the life of Judah, who sold his brother into slavery. We discovered how God’s plan to save Judah’s family was carried out by that kidnapped brother, Joseph.
Last week we stopped with the Jacob’s family, the Israelites, still in Egypt although the famine had been broken for 68 years. About 300 years have passed now when the newest king becomes concerned.
Exodus 1:8-9 “Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. He said to his people, ‘“Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are.’”
So they became slaves to the Egyptians. There is a lesson to be learned here. If you stay in the world long enough you will become a slave to the world. In other words, live a life fulfilling your desires of the flesh and you will become a slave to those desires at the detriment to your spirit.
No matter how much the Israelites were oppressed they continued to multiply. So it was decided to kill all the male children at birth. The midwives feared the God of the Israelites and refused to do so. They told the king that the women were having their babies on their own. Because of this God blessed the midwives and their families.
One child that had escaped this untimely death was named Moses. Let’s step aside for a moment. Almost 40% of the book of Genesis deals with Joseph’s life. And the entire book of Exodus centers on Moses. Yet neither of these spiritual giants is in the lineage of Jesus. The majority of those who share in the honor of being included as a blood relative to Jesus were ordinary people. Many are only mentioned once in the entire Bible. This shows how God loves to do extraordinary things through ordinary people. And one of these people was a man born around the same time as Moses. His name was Caleb.
The Israelites had developed into 12 different tribes. Caleb was from the tribe of Judah because his father had descended from the linage of Jacob’s son Judah. Caleb was one of those being oppressed by slavery. He would have heard of Moses and the showdown with the Pharaoh. He would have witnessed the plagues that came upon the land of Egypt. He was among the thousands that left Egypt to return to the land promised to Jacob. He would have stood and watched the Red Sea part so they could pass through. He was miraculously fed manna from heaven and seen water flow from a rock. He heard the complaints of the Israelites against God in spite of all He had done for them.