Summary: At 85 years old, Caleb takes on the giants of the promised land.
A Fighting Senior Citizen – Joshua 14:6-15
20 Signs That You’re Getting Old
1. You’re asleep, but others worry that you’re dead.
2. Your back goes out more often than you do.
3. You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.
4. You buy a compass for the dash of your car/truck.
5. You’re proud of your lawn mower.
6. Your arms are almost too short to read the newspaper.
7. You sing along with the elevator music.
8. You would rather go to work than stay home sick.
9. You enjoy hearing about other people’s operations.
10. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
11. People call at 9:00 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"
12. You answer a question with, "Because I said so."
13. The end of your tie doesn’t come anywhere near the top of your pants.
14. You take a metal detector to the beach.
15. You know what the word "equity" means.
16. You can’t remember the last time you laid on the floor to watch television.
17. Your ears are hairier than your head.
18. You get into a heated argument about pension plans.
19. You got cable for The Weather Channel.
20. You’re sitting in a rocker and you can’t get it started.
I have a story to tell you today – a great story about an old man. It is found in Joshua 14:6-15. As you are looking that up in your Bibles to read along, let me review what we have been looking at in the book of Joshua up until today.
The first half of the book of Joshua is full of the stories of God leading His people, the Israelites, into the Promised Land. It started with the miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, and continued as the Israelites fought and claimed the land. Last week we looked at chapter 10 and 11, which summarized the military campaign. Chapter 12 is a simple list of all the kings that the Lord’s army had defeated, and it wraps up the first half of the book. The second half of the book of Joshua focuses on the division of the land, and how it was allocated to the various tribes of Israel. We aren’t going to spend time in those historical details, though there certainly are some good lessons for us in those “archives,” and instead we are going to just pull out a couple of the stories that are tucked in around those records. And the first story is in chapter 14:6-15.
READ Joshua 14:6-15
Understanding the Story:
At first glance, this story doesn’t seem too remarkable – just another leader showing up and asking for his allotment of the land. But if we dig a little bit and understand the background, the uniqueness really starts to shine through.
The story of Caleb begins forty-five years earlier, in the time of Moses. Caleb was one of the original 12 spies sent into the promised land by Moses, the ones who spent 40 days in the promised land spying out the land and its inhabitants, in order to report back to Moses and the people about what they would face when they entered. If you recall that story, the twelve spies returned and reported to all the people: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is the fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” (Num. 13:27b-28a). As a result of this report, the people were terrified and did not believe that God could deliver the land to them safely, and so they rebelled against the Lord and were consequently sent back out into the desert for 40 years until all of the unbelievers died and Joshua took over and brought the new generation into the promised land.
Not all 12 spies agreed with the proposed course of action. 2 of them, Joshua and Caleb, dissented, and tried to encourage the people to have faith and believe in God’s promise. Numbers 13:30 reports, “Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’” But the 10 without faith stirred up the people with horror stories about the land, creating fear and disbelief, and so they rebelled.
There is one other critical detail in the report of the spies that illuminates the story we find in Joshua 14. In reporting on the inhabitants of the land, the spies proclaim to Moses, “We even saw descendants of Anak living there… the people of great size… we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Num. 13:28b, 32-33).