Summary: We pick up our series today with a man who was determined to fight the good fight until he drew he last breath. Caleb was in a fight against his giants to the finish and God was going to enable him to finish well.
“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.” (Joshua 14:6-8)
In Dr. Paul Brand’s book, "In His Image," he writes about his mother. She was seventy-five years old and still walking miles every day, visiting the villages in the southern part of India, teaching the people about Jesus. At seventy-five, she fell & broke her hip. After two days of just lying there in pain, some workers found her & put her on a makeshift cot & loaded her into their jeep & drove one hundred and fifty miles over deep rutted roads to find a doctor who could set the broken bones. But the very bumpy ride damaged her bones so badly that her hip never completely healed. He said, "I visited my mother in her mud-covered hut. At age seventy-five, with a broken hip, unable to stand on her own two legs, I suggested that she retire … She turned around & looked at me & said, `What value is that? If we try to preserve this body just a few more years & it is not being used for God, of what value is that?’" So she kept on working. She kept on riding her donkey to villages until she was ninety-three years old. At age ninety-three she couldn’t stay on her donkey anymore. She kept falling off. But she didn’t stop preaching. Indian men would carry her in hammocks from one village to another. And she continued to tell people about Jesus Christ until she died at age ninety-five.
We pick up our series today with a man who was determined to fight the good fight until he drew he last breath. Caleb was in a fight against his giants to the finish and God was going to enable him to finish well.
I. HE WAS CALLED TO THE PROMISES OF GOD (VV.6-7)
A. The Legacy of Caleb
It may surprise you to find out that Caleb was not an Israelite. He was the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite (v.6). Genesis 36 reveals that Caleb was a descendent of Esau and therefore born into a family that was an avowed enemy of Israel. If that was not bad enough, he had been given a name that no good Jew would ever have. The name Caleb means “dog” in Hebrew. In Semitic culture, dogs were considered unclean. Deuteronomy 23:18 says, “You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the Lord your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God.” However Caleb got the name he did, it would not have endeared him to the people of Israel.
Somewhere in Caleb’s life, however, a great change had been made in his life. At sometime he had joined himself to Israel and embraced the one true God. Though he was a Gentile and an outcast he became a child of the promises of God. In Hebrew culture, if you joined Israel you were adopted into one of its tribes and your family name was added into their genealogy. It was though you had always been a part of God’s family. 1 Chronicles reveals that Caleb was adopted into the tribe of Judah. Judah was the tribe from which one day would be born the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ. It is interesting to note that two other famous Old Testament Gentiles Rahab and Ruth were also adopted into that same tribe of Judah. Caleb was a man whose heart had been changed (v.7). Because his heart was changed, Caleb became a man who trusted in the person and promises of God rather than man. Verse six reveals his dedication to the person and promises of God.
B. The Lessons Caleb Teaches Us
There are many lessons we can learn from Caleb as Christians. We too were outcasts from the people and promises of God before we became believers. “Remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:11-12).