Summary: Little dreams lead to little service, but big dreams can lead to big service, so ask yourself, "How big are our dreams? And what are we going to do about them?" (PowerPoint available - #124)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #124.)
A. Do you remember hearing about the 12 spies who Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land, & who then came back with their discouraging report? As you may recall, 10 of them gave a negative report, & 2 gave a positive one.
The 2 who gave the positive report were Joshua & Caleb. This morning I want to follow in Paul Harvey's footsteps & look at "The rest of the story." And you will find the rest of Caleb's story in the 14th chapter of Joshua.
As the story unfolds, you need to realize that 45 years have passed since the spies entered the Promised Land & came back with that discouraging majority report which caused the people to refuse to obey God's command to go in & take the land.
So because of their disobedience, God told them that they would have to wait for 40 years, one year for every day the spies were in the land, until every man of Israel who had voted to disobey God had died in the wilderness.
B. And God kept his word. For 40 years they wandered, & God provided for them. But at the end of those 40 years only Moses, Joshua, & Caleb were left of the older generation of men.
So when God told them again that it was time to go in & take the Promised Land, this younger generation was ready to do it.
Yes, the giants, the Anakites, that had so frightened their fathers were still there. But this time they obeyed God, & the walls of Jericho came down. They followed God's leading, & He gave them victory after victory, & within 5 years the Promised Land was theirs.
No, they hadn't conquered it all. There were areas still occupied by their enemies. But they had conquered most of it, enough to be able to divide the land up into large regions where each of the 12 tribes could settle & begin establishing their own homes & cities & fields.
Of course, that meant that some tribes still had to contend with enemies in their own region. But with God's help, they were convinced that they could do it. God had truly given them a land flowing with milk & honey!
C. Now, it is at this point, as the 12 tribes are dividing up the land, that we come upon the 2nd part of the story of Caleb's life, as recorded in the 14th chapter of the Book of Joshua.
So follow along with me now in Joshua 14:6-12 as I read what Caleb is saying to Joshua, beginning in the middle of the verse, "You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you & me. I was 40 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 & 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 45 years since the time He said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, 85 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 were there & their cities were large & fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as He said" [Joshua 14:6b-12].
Caleb was a dreamer, wasn't he? For 45 years Caleb had been dreaming of this land that God promised to him. So now, 85 years old, he steps up & says, "I want what God has promised me. See that hill country? I want it."
He had dreamed about it, & now it was time for his dream to come true.
ILL. A few years ago a study was made of 200 people that we would call "very successful." It was discovered that all 200 had one common denominator: each had dared to dream big dreams & set goals, & reach out to achieve those goals.
The apostle Paul dared to dream of a world where all mankind would hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. And even though he was persecuted & beaten, shipwrecked & imprisoned, Paul kept on following his dream.