Joshua 14:6-15 The vigor to serve the Lord is evidence of anointedness
Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh- barnea. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh- barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully. 9 So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully. ’ 10 Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty- five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty- five years old today. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12 Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken.”
13 So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14 Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully. 15 Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath- arba; for Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land had rest from war.
Caleb, because he followed God wholeheartedly was given the right to choose a portion of Canaan for his inheritance. Instead of picking the choicest portions of Canaan, he requested for land not yet possessed by Israel. For Caleb, the evidence of anointedness is the vigor to serve God by conquering new lands for Israel. In today’s devotion, we see the secret of Caleb’s youthfulness, which is his resolve to follow God fully even in the face of old age and great adversity.
Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.
The time to distribute land for tribes in the Cisjordan had begun starting with Judah. Before the lots were cast, Caleb came forward to claim his portion as promised by Moses. He reminded Joshua, his friend and fellow spy of how two of them stood against the reports of ten other spies who cowered at face of great odds. When Caleb returned from spying out the land, Caleb spoke from his heart and gave an encouraging report contrary to the rest of the ten spies: Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully. In magnifying the greatness of God against a credible enemy, Caleb remained faithful to what God had commanded. Hence, God rewarded Caleb’s act of faith by giving him a portion of land of his choice (Deuteronomy 1:36).
So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance.
Caleb took whatever opportunities given to him to serve God and possess more lands for Israel. He was a man of impeccable courage, of the quintessential, of wholehearted obedience, one whom God anointed with youthfulness: I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Caleb claimed he felt as strong and vigorous (at 85) as he had at 40. What was truly inspiring was Caleb’s request to be given land (at Hebron) which at that time was inhabited by the Anakites. Caleb was ready to take the land that had previously struck fear into the hearts of the 10 spies some 45 years before. For he saw Hebron as the Lord’s unfinished business. With eager eyes and undiminished resolve, He said, “perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken.” As we know it, Caleb successfully drove out the Anakites (see Joshua 15:13-19).
The vigor to serve the Lord is evidence of anointedness.
To be able to participate in the rigors of kingdom building and to serve people is the evidence of anointedness and youthfulness. Every devotion that I sent out, every soul that I encouraged, every chore that I did, are evidences of my anointedness and vigor. There were days that I found myself reeling from fatigue of the daily grind, but when I came around to understand whom I am serving, joy returns and the heaviness disappears.
Caleb was not your typical grandpa. Even at age 85, his spirit was glowing with youthfulness and anointing. He requested to be given land that was not yet possessed so that he could continue to serve God. For Caleb, the evidence of youthfulness and anointedness is the ability to serve God by taking new lands for Israel. In other words, when we stop serving, it is also time our vigor and anointing ends. The psalmist compares a blessed believer with a tree that bears fruit continually and its leaf does not wither,
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalms 1:3
Therefore, let us not look forward to retirement, but many more years of wholehearted service to our Lord and King.
Leaders are those who are able to stay the course in the face of great odds.
The true strength of a leader is revealed in the way he responds in times of adversity. Those who find themselves reeling with fear, who shrink back from the challenges of life and ministry are not yet ready to lead. The 10 tribal leaders that brought back bad reports, who made the heart of the people melt with fear were culpable for the failure of Israel as a whole. Because of their unbelief, they caused the entire generation to perish in the wilderness.
Therefore, it is wise to first discern the tenacity and resilience of a candidate before putting him up for leadership. Only after they are proven as being able to stay the course through uncharted waters can they earn the right to lead. The leader’s words are influential; by their words they control the spiritual climate of the church. In a nutshell, a leader is not just a facilitator of programmes or a communication channel; he is a model of faith for the flock. Thus, in all situations, he must speak not from fear or doubt but from wholehearted faith in God.
Think less, trust more.
We must learn to think less and to trust more. In other words, a believer must learn to live by faith and not by sight (see 2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith, in essence begins with assimilating God’s Word with conviction and obey them. Joshua and Caleb distinguished themselves as men who lived by faith and who followed God’s words fully. They did not give in to the thoughts of defeat even for a moment, but held onto God’s Word in the face of adversity.
Many churchgoers did not find God’s promises weighty enough to entrust themselves fully to Him. Hence, they resort to their own devices clouding their minds with endless possibilities and probabilities. It is not surprising many were suffering from various degrees of insomnia. They claimed their condition is due to their inability to hear God’s voice clearly. I can safely say: Their only recourse to this endless cycle of futile brooding is to read God’s Word and entrust themselves into His hands one day at a time.
Do you find it difficult to identify with Caleb’s course? Do you feel tired and burned out? The grace of God flows through one who is fully yielded to His will. Having said, participation in church ministry does not necessary infer a yielded life. God sees our dedication and work, but more importantly, He seeks out one with a pure heart. Perhaps, it is also time to seek God for our life calling and do our part in the church’s ministries and outreach programme. There is no better day to commit ourselves to His course than today. A man without kingdom vision will most definitely fall prey to the cares and exigencies of life.
Dear Lord, I desire to serve you with every ounce of my strength and vigor. Sustain my spirit so that I may follow you wholeheartedly. In the face of adversity, remind me of your promises and cause me to do your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.