Summary: Caleb serves as a lesson for us to never release God’s promises; never retire from serving God; and never retreat from the enemy! If you will follow God with your whole heart and depend on his strength alone, you will still be able to thrive at age 85.
This is the final message in the series from Joshua entitled “Making the Leap from Good to Great!” The title is based on the excellent book by Jim Collins called Good to Great. Our thesis has been that there is a level of Christian living that can be described as “good.” It is living with the knowledge that your sins are forgiven and you will go to heaven when you die. This good life can be compared to the Israelites, who wandered in the wilderness for forty years; a Christian who has settled for the comfort zone of the wilderness experiences boredom and dissatisfaction. But we’ve learned there is another level of Christian living represented by entering into the Promised Land. It’s a land of adventure, warfare, and victory. And every Christian has the opportunity to make the leap from good (monotony) to great (victory).
In this lesson we’re going to learn about an 85-year-old man named Caleb who made the leap from good to great. The title of the message is “How to Thrive at Age 85” and it applies to anyone who hasn’t reached that age, too!
You’re getting old if you can remember when:
1. Soft drinks only came in bottles and you could get a deposit back.
2. Gasoline was 26 cents per gallon and ethyl was high at 30 cents.
3. Nobody owned a purebred dog.
4. Coffee shops had tableside juke boxes.
5. Telephone numbers had a word prefix.
6. Refrigerators were still called “the icebox.”
7. Coke bottles had names of cities on the bottom.
8. Letter jackets and sweaters were only for athletes.
9. You not only didn’t wear a seat belt, but you slept on the rear hat rack!
10. When the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show!
Someone said that old age is when you’ve got it all together; you just can’t remember where you put it. Let’s read about Caleb–he had it all together and he knew where it was at!
Joshua 14:6-13. “Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, ‘You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’ Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites [giants] were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, will drive them out just as he said.’ Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.”
Last week we studied Achan, who is a bad example to avoid. We learned the hard truth that sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go; it will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay; and it will cost you more than you ever wanted to pay. In this lesson Caleb serves as a good example of three important spiritual qualities:
1. CALEB’S EXAMPLE OF PERSISTENCE
Caleb had been promised a piece of property forty five years earlier. Since that promise, he spent forty years wandering in the wilderness with a bunch of dissatisfied, unfaithful, whining people. Then under Joshua’s leadership, Caleb spent the past five years fighting as a soldier against the Canaanite kingdoms. Even after 45 years, he still held onto God’s promise. He said, “I remember God’s promise to me, now give me this hill country!” He never let go of that promise–that’s what the Bible calls persistence.
Application: When God gives you a promise—you should never release it!
Here’s the application for us: When God gives you a promise–you should never release it! Has God given you a promise? No, he has given you hundreds and thousands of promises right here in His Word. According to the author, Herbert Lockyer, there are 7,457 of God’s promises in the Bible. (All the Promises in the Bible)