Summary: There were two obstacles to the dream home Caleb claimed. One was the giants that already lived there... and the other was his age. What was it that allowed him to overcome the obstacles and claim God’s promise?
OPEN: (A poem by Edgar A. Guest)
"Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied "maybe it couldn’t",
but he would be one who wouldn’t say so till he tried.
So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin on his face.
If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing that couldn’t be done - and he did it.
Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you’ll never do that; at least no one ever has done it"
But he took off his coat and he took of his hat, and the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin, without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing that couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out - one by one - the dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin
Just take off your coat and go to it.
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing that "cannot be done," and you’ll do it."
APPLY: Dwight D. Eisenhower once said:
"Every tomorrow has 2 handles. We can take hold of tomorrow with the handle of anxiety or with the handle of faith."
Today we’re looking at the unusual story of Caleb.
He was an old man who took hold of his tomorrows with the handle of faith. He was an OLD man with a BOLD dream.
Years before the incident we’re reading about here in Joshua, the book of Numbers tells of the time when Israel first arrived at the borders of Canaan. God had led the people of Israel out of their slavery in the land of Egypt and across the Red Sea. They’d just been to the Mountain of God and had received the 10 Commandments, and now… just a few days later… they’re at the edge of the Promised Land.
A land God told them would be flowing with milk and honey.
A land God promised to give to them for their new home.
Moses then sends 12 spies into the land to scout it out in preparation for conquering it. But 10 of the spies are not happy with what they’ve seen:
"We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are." And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." (Numbers 13:31b-33)
Now, there’s an old adage about people seeing a glass as half full or half empty and apparently, 10 of the spies saw the glass ½ empty. They saw only the dangers before them.
But not Caleb and Joshua.
They saw the beauty, the riches, and they saw milk and honey by the gallon.
BUT above all else, they saw God.
When you were kids you may have heard the following in a children’s song (ham it up)
“Twelve men went to spy on Canaan
10 (10 finger up) were bad (2 thumbs down) and two (index fingers up) were good (2 thumbs up)
What do you think that they saw in Canaan?
Ten were bad and two were good.
Some saw giants big and tall (Dramatically flex muscles)
Some saw grapes with clusters fall (bring arms down with fingers fluttering)
Some saw God was in it all (point up)
Ten were bad and two were good!"
At the report of the 10 bad spies
– talking about a mighty people they couldn’t conquer
– and impregnable fortresses they couldn’t bring down
– and giants that made them feel like grasshoppers…
the people became afraid.
They didn’t want to go into Canaan
But Caleb stood up before the whole assembly and told them:
"The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them." Numbers 14:7b-9
In essence, Caleb was telling the people –
“Yeah, the Canaanites are strong, but God’s stronger.
Yes, the Canaanites are big, but God is bigger.
We’re gonna chew them up and spit them out because they can’t beat God.