Summary: Even when you get old, you are not a throwaway. God shows us through the life of Caleb that there are many things still worth living for.
“I Want That Mountain”
You may have heard the news that Sir Edmund Hilary, the first white man to ever scale to the peak of Mt. Everest, passed away on Friday at the age of 89. He was the one you might recall, when asked why he wanted to climb Mt Everest in 1953, was reputed to have said, “Because its there!” Dr. Elmer Towns, my professor who taught me this week at Liberty Seminary, had an on-going friendship with Edmund for many years. One thing that most people did not know about him was that he had a strong relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ- and he never actually said “Because its there!” He actually said “I did it for the glory of God.” The press of course, not wanting to give credit where credit is due, changed the story. Edmund Hilary had a vision of what God wanted him to do in his life, and to climb that peak, he could scale anything in life that came his way.
Today we are going to go back to the book of Joshua- back where we left off at thanksgiving. AT that time we left Joshua defeating the Amalekites, and even Balaam got trampled in the victory of Israel’s final conquest. We saw that on the day that the sun stood still and how God turned a defeat into a victory at Ai. Before that we saw the walls of Jericho falling down flat and how Joshua lead the children of Israel across the Jordan on dry ground. We even saw how God transformed a prostitute into the great-great-great grandmother of David. Today, in chapter 14, most of the Israelites are taking possession of the land and settling down. There’s a little mopping up resistance by insurgents here and there but basically the Land of Promise is cleared of her enemies. Here we find a senior saint who is taking possession of his territory, along side of his younger comrades at arms- his name is Caleb.
I. We are as strong as our faith will allow ourselves to be. (V.11)
Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re too old- or young, to do what you know God would have you to do. Caleb was 85 years old when he finally got back to Hebron. He had seen this mountain 40 years before, and thought, when I get done killing the giants, that’s where I’m going, stake out my claim, build me a log cabin, plant me a garden, get me a wife, settle down, and have a family. That was the dream Caleb had for the place until the other ten spies he and Joshua had gone with were too afraid of the giants and the people of the land. Caleb had great faith then, but God punished the entire nation and Caleb was not able to get the mountain then. I’m sure he was disappointed. Disappointment is very difficult to deal with. Disappointment is something that may shatter our dreams. Sometimes people get so discouraged with disappointment that they want to give up- that they quit. Their youthful enthusiasm dies. I know some who are so full of faith and enthusiasm- its amazing what a few short years in the ministry will do to it. Its true that people let us down, people discourage us, people disappoint us, but Caleb never let them do that to his faith. Notice he says, “I am 85 years old and I am just as strong now as I was the first time I ever saw this place.” Was he as strong physically at 85? Possibly- but we can’t deny that Caleb had a heart of a man half his age. He was ready to take it all on and conquer a mountain, when most men his age are ready to hit the casket. This was no easy task. The mountains were where the Canaanite resurgents fled after they were defeated. They could have hid up in those hills for months or even years. Caleb didn’t care. Paul says to Timothy in Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. I Tim 4:12 in the same way- don’t let anyone despise you of your age, either. We have a culture that doesn’t value old age or respect. About the only thing they respect is technology and gadgets. My friend, don’t ever let anybody point out your limitations and try to hold you back. Your’e never too old for God to use you. We have some beloved senior saints in this church that are dear to all of us. They are some of the most progressive and remarkable people I know. Why if it weren’t for them doing the work in this church, we wouldn’t have much going on, I tell you that. We have much to learn from them. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t do anything. Caleb was old, but there was a lot of fight in him. He wasn’t going to the rocking chair. Don’t tell yourself that you are too old and set in your ways. What’s more, Caleb’s faith was just as vibrant- even more so. Caleb fought a lot of battles in the journey to the Promised Land. There was much too much to do to sit in a rocking chair.