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SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS THAT CONTRIBUTED TO CALEB’S GREATNESS
Herbert Lockyer said, “Although Caleb was not an Israelite by birth, he was “an Israelite indeed.” He was one of the chief spies sent out by Moses. He was courageous and persevered when the other spies became discouraged. He was invincible in driving out giants completely devoted to God and vigorous in old age. Six times it is recorded of Caleb, “he hath fully followed the Lord.” Caleb fully followed the Lord. He led nothing back. He was no coward. He did not turn back in the day of battle. What an example he was to the rest of the Jews when they went into battle.
Lockyer said, “His consecration was thorough. What magnificent adverbs are used to describe Caleb. He followed faithfully, wholly, and fully. He never lowered his standards, but was perpetually wholehearted.”
“His courage was unfaltering. Giants did not disturb Caleb nor did those dastards who were ready to stone him. Webster says, “dastard” means “a mean, sneaking coward.” These people of whom Caleb speaks were a bunch of low life cowards.
His request was answered. To Caleb, whose life was woven on one piece throughout, reward crowned his faith and faithfulness. Through autumn winds and premonitions of snow, he brought forth fruit in his old age. When we come to the record of Caleb’s personal inheritance in the land of Canaan we find him at eighty years of age asking Joshua, ‘Now therefore give me this mountain.’ Caleb was a man of altitudes. He was not content with the average or the commonplace. He never thought in terms of fences or walled cities. It was the heights for Caleb, and although the mountains he wanted were filled with hostile Anakims, he refused defeat and claimed his inheritance. At long last a worthy recompense came to this noble man for, ‘to patient faith the prize is sure.’”
Now first of all,
HE WAS A THOROUGH BELIEVER
He never once turned back in the battle. He never once used discouraging words concerning taking the land God had given them. God says in Numbers 14:24, “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” What a great promise is confirmed here.
God didn’t say, “I have observed Caleb. His strength is adequate. He is able to take these mountains.” Faith never rests on one’s own ability. Caleb’s faith was in God. He believed God could do anything that He promised to do.
Look around you. Everything you can see was created by God. He is all powerful. If God can speak the worlds into existence, will He have any problems enabling Caleb, His servant, to win the victory against them? Losing the victory against the giants of those mountains wasn’t a thought that Caleb could even entertain. It was completely out of the question. God is honored when one of His servants exercises this kind of faith.
CALEB TOOK HIS STAND FOR GOD AND AGAINST THE UNBELIEVERS
Here are the words Caleb spoke after spying out the land in Numbers 13:30, “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Was this self confidence or confidence in the Lord? It was definitely confidence in the Lord. Ten of the spies who brought back an evil report, were shaking in their boots!
Numbers 13:25 29, “And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.”
Caleb spoke out publicly and assured them. He said, “The is no chance that God will let us lose the battle against these idolatrous giants. You come against them in the name of the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We can’t lose. God is with us. Do you remember who this God is for whom I speak? He is the Almighty God with whom nothing is impossible.
CALEB IS A SEPARATED SAINT
Numbers 14:24, “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.”
Caleb’s stand with the Lord and His Faith in God’s power to deliver these people over into the hands of him and His children.
Does your speech indicate that you have unwavering faith in the God of heaven? First of all, our faith should indicate that we are followers of the Lord. Second, our speech should indicate our faith in Him is without a shadow of a doubt. Faith in God and unbelief cannot exist in the same body. Our speech should reveal that our faith is unbelief. An unwavering faith is a faith that cannot or will not allow doubt to the destroy our confidence in God.
1. Doubt comes when one believes that God will not meet our particular need. Now this most of the time is of the devil. He does not want us to believe because we are encouraged when God meets our needs and we can testify to the faithfulness of God.
2. Doubt comes when we allow our hearts to become hardened; The Lord says in Hebrews 3:12 13, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
3. Doubt comes when we allow ourselves to become doubtful of the Word of God. We still maintain that the Bible is the Word of God theologically but we become doubtful that it is for us in particular. We believe some of it is for today but much of it was for past generations. So we become unbelieving because we believe that much of the promises are not for us. When one does that he has to be an expert in knowing which part is for us and which is not for us. Satan and the flesh is behind all of that.
4. The doubter has to set aside verses like Isaiah 34:16, “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.”
5. The Lord’s own disciples doubted at times and He had to reprove them for it; Matthew 21:21, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” Note the condition, “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou into the sea; it shall be done.” (The bold is mine).
6. None of us feels that our faith is strong enough. So unless one is filled with humility he will never muster the faith that connects with the God of answered prayer. We need to spend some time in fasting and searching the Scriptures to know the will of God in this matter. This is something that strengthens us to believe His promise and thank Him before we see the answer. My faith needs encouragement not unbelief. To thank the Lord for what has just happened, when I have not yet experienced any feeling, is what I call a strong faith. This truth is based upon our Lord’s thanking His Father for raising Lazarus from the dead before He was raised to life again (John 11:41-42).
7. One of my favorite verses in these days when I’m wanting some one to pray for me is Heb 4:14-16. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” The door into the holiest is opened wide to come in to Him as our High Priest any time we desire at any time during the day.
Caleb was a man with another spirit because he had an outstanding faith in God. What a blessing it would be to be around a man like that. Then something very important was said of Caleb,
HE WAS A PROMPT ACTOR
He did not hesitate to be prompt to act on the basis of faith. He said in Numbers 13:30, “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” This is based on faith not human rationalism. I think Caleb had learned the principle of Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” I have been rebuked by this verse many times. I praise the Lord that He leads me to the verses that He personalizes to me. This is where prayer becomes a dialog. Caleb was one who did not wait to act and lose the opportunity of surprise. When one acts immediately upon God’s command, he never goes alone.
HE WAS A CONFIDENT MAN
Caleb said, “We are well able to overcome.” Did he make this statement of confidence based on his self confidence. Or, did he make this statement based on the confidence he had in Israel’s ability to fight? I believe he had confidence in God and was willing to fight and trust God to give the victory. This is something that the rest of the Jews had not even thought of. The short span of time between the victories that God had given the Jews should have shown them something. They should have noticed that God could be trusted. That He was a living God and God wanted them to trust Him in all things. This Caleb did. But the Israelis didn’t. May the Lord bless these words to strengthen our confidence in God by Caleb’s example.