After God delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, He led them with a mighty hand to possess the land of Canaan as an inheritance (Exodus 3:8, 17). When they arrived at the border of Canaan, Moses chose twelve men and sent them to spy out the land. Caleb was one of the twelve from the tribe of Judah.
These men scouted the land and came back with the following report, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there” (Numbers 13:27–28). Caleb and Joshua immediately encouraged the people before Moses saying, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). But instead of being encouraged, the people listened to the negative report of the other ten spies and were afraid of the inhabitants and raised their voices and cried that night forgetting how the Lord delivered them from Egypt. They even complained against Moses and Aaron saying, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt (Joshua 14:4).
At that point, Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them’” (Numbers 14:6–9). But the people refused to believe in God and wanted to stone Caleb and Joshua for their good report (Numbers 14:6–10).
But God said to Moses: “my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly” and gave Caleb the promise that he would own all the land he had seen as a spy (Numbers 14:11–24). Then the Lord pronounced a sentence against those who distrusted: “because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it” (v.22-23). And the Lord added, “Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun” (V. 29-30).
The Lord’s word came to pass. Forty years later, from all the congregation that left Egypt who were at least 20 years old at the Exodus, only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter and inherit the promised land. All the rest perished in the wilderness; their children entered the land.
Caleb was 85 years old when he entered the land and was as strong in the Lord as he was when they left Egypt (Joshua 15:13–14). And according to God’s promise, he took the land of Hebron as his inheritance. Caleb drove out the three Anakites—Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the sons of Anak from Hebron and later he fought against the people in Debir (Joshua 15:13–15). Caleb believed in the Lord and his trust was rewarded, this is how he found favor in God’s eyes. His story stands as a testimony of what the Lord does for His believing children.
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