Summary: This passage centers on a man called Caleb. Caleb was a part of Israel when they departed from Egypt. He was there when God divided the waters of the Red Sea. For your information - Israel crossing the Red Sea is a picture of Salvation. Free from bondage
Text: Joshua 14:6-15 (NASB)
Introduction: This passage centers on a man called Caleb. Caleb was a part of Israel when they departed from Egypt. He was there when God divided the waters of the Red Sea. For your information - Israel crossing the Red Sea is a picture of Salvation. Free from bondage and free from Pharaoh. As we observe Israel as they journey through the wilderness we can clearly see that there is much more to salvation than just being set free. God had a land flowing with milk and honey prepared for them. It would be a land of giants and a land of battles, but it was theirs if they wanted it.
Now, as you know - Israel chose to wander in the wilderness for forty years. In addition, here is another great picture of the Christian life. God saves us, and promises us that we can have a life of victory and intense spiritual joy, but rather than claim what is rightfully ours - things like peace, joy, fellowship, power, and the glory of God, we choose to live in a spiritual wilderness, defeated and depressed.
This morning I want to tell you that many Christians are guilty of spiritual window-shopping. Now nothing is wrong with window-shopping! Many folks like to do it. Men normally do not like it.
A man once said to his wife - "Why do you call it shopping? You never buy anything." She replied - Well, why do you call it fishing? You never catch anything!"
As Christians, we need to do more than window-shop with God’s promises. We need to appropriate them. This morning I want us to see what it was that enabled this 85-year-old man to possess that which God had promised him. Caleb is a type of the Christian who is willing to pay the price, fight the battles and win the victory that God has waiting for him. In these verses, we are shown how we too can claim our part of Canaan and walk in victory every day of our lives! Allow me to speak to you for a little while about Caleb: The Gray-haired Conqueror.
I. Caleb’s commitment. (Vs. 8, 9, 14)
A. The first key to Caleb’s success was that God had all of Caleb that there was!
1. Notice the repeated phrase that Caleb “followed the Lord God fully.”
2. This statement is made about Caleb six times in the Old Testament.
a) This phrase means, “To close the gap.”
b) It is a phrase that is often used by hunters to refer to their closing the gap between themselves and their prey.
c) Here in our text, it refers to Caleb being committed to keeping the distance between him and the Lord to an absolute minimum.
d) We, like Caleb, should be dedicated to fully and wholly following the Lord.
e) (Illustration) When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure that success of his military venture. Ordering his men to halt on the edge of the Cliffs of Dover, he commanded them to look down at the water below. To their amazement, they saw every ship in which they had crossed the channel engulfed in flames. Caesar had deliberately cut off any possibility of retreat! Now that his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do but to advance and conquer! And that is exactly what they did. Too many Christians have left themselves some sort of an escape hatch back into the old life of sin. We need to burn every bridge that leads back to the old life and set our minds to the task of conquering our Canaan.
f) Matthew 16:24 says, (NASB) “24Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (AMP) “24Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].”
g) When Jesus used this picture of his followers taking up their crosses to follow him, the disciples knew what he meant.
h) Crucifixion was a common Roman method of execution, and condemned criminals had to carry their crosses through the streets to the execution site.
i) Following Jesus, therefore, meant a true commitment, the risk of death, and no turning back.
B. Half-hearted Christians are faint-hearted Christians and they never learn to conquer the giants in their lives.
1. (Illustration) The story is told of a man who rode in his car as it was being towed to be repaired. When they arrived at the repair shop, the tow truck driver told him, "I didn’t think I was going to make it up that big hill." The man replied, "I didn’t either. That’s why I kept the brakes on so we wouldn’t roll backwards." To live without total dedication to Jesus Christ is the same as trying to go forward and to hold back at the same time.