This week we’re going to look at some men of the Bible, in particular some of the more obscure, lesser known – those who probably wouldn’t show up on everybody’s “A” list of great men of the Bible. Remembering, of course, that it is necessary to call them great men of faith, since it was their faith that made them great, not them.
One of my favorites that fills this bill is Caleb, one of only two men who had first spied out the Promised Land who actually went in forty years later. The rest died off with a whole generation of grumblers and disbelievers who always seemed to think the life they left behind in captivity in Egypt was better than the one they had on the other side of the Red Sea.
Indeed, it wasn’t that great of a life, but whose fault was that? They could have been in the Promised Land in eleven days if they had listened to Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve spies who came back with a report of a land flowing with milk and honey. The other ten reported a bountiful land as well, but a land also inhabited by giants “in whose sight we are as grasshoppers.”
So the people listened to the ten instead of the two, and cowered in fear, refusing to go in. Very well, said God, you won’t go in, but your children will. And so for forty years they wandered and grumbled and died. They got the life they chose.
Thus, Joshua and Caleb were the only two members of the entire nation who crossed the Red Sea out of Egypt that lived to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
Once they had established a foothold in the new land, and it came time to divide up the land into territories assigned to the twelve tribes of Israel, Caleb stepped up with this ringing statement: “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 were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:10-12)
And who were the Anakites? They were the giants. Caleb is in essence saying, Give me the giants. I may be a grasshopper in their sight, but it makes no difference because I have the Lord with me, and the Lord promised me this land when we were here forty years ago, so I want the giants!
Eighty-five years old and taking on giants. Don’t you like this guy? Don’t you want to be like him? You can be, and indeed, you are, because like Caleb, your strength is in the Lord. That’s why Caleb can say at eighty-five that he is just as strong as he was when he was forty-five, because his strength is in the Lord, not in himself, and the Lord hasn’t changed, neither has His word.
Caleb chose the territory that scared off the others. He chose the very enemy that had kept them in the wilderness for so long. He’d been thinking about this for forty years. There was no stopping him now.
We’ve all got giants. I do, and I know you do, too. Go for it. Go after those Anakites in your life, because He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world. If Caleb can do it; so can you, and so can I.
From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites-Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of Anak. (Joshua 15:14)