Joshua 15:13-19 Motivated by the approval of the God who rewards
Now he gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh a portion among the sons of Judah, according to the command of the Lord to Joshua, namely, Kiriath- arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron). 14 Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the children of Anak. 15 Then he went up from there against the inhabitants of Debir; now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath- sepher. 16 And Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath- sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife.” 17 Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it; so he gave him Achsah his daughter as a wife. 18 It came about that when she came to him, she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. So she alighted from the donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 19 Then she said, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.
Caleb received his well deserved reward and staked his claim on Hebron by driving out the Anakites. He offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to anyone who was able to conquer the land of Debir. Achsah, Caleb’s daughter boldly and forthrightly asked for the springs of water in addition to the land of Negev and her request was promptly granted. Today’s devotion teaches us in all our endeavours to be motivated by the approval of the God who rewards. It also shows us God’s willingness to fulfill our heart’s desires.
Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak
Even though Caleb did not originate from the tribe of Judah (for he was a Kenizzite), he was numbered with the Judahites and given a portion of land among them. Caleb, even in a ripe old age of 85 years continued to live out his calling to possess new lands for Israel. He requested to be given Hebron as inheritance even though it was yet conquered by Israel at that time. Caleb successfully drove out the three sons of Anak: Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, presumed to be prominent rulers of the Anakites. Following the expulsion of the Anakites, he went up against the inhabitants of Debir. Perhaps, realising the need for a credible husband to his daughter, Caleb offered her daughter’s hand in marriage to anyone who could conquer the land of Debir.
Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it; so he gave him Achsah his daughter as a wife.
Othniel, (the nephew of Caleb) successfully captured the land of Debir and obtain Achsah as his wife. When Achsah entered her new family, she incited her husband to ask of her father a field in addition to Debir. This matter had probably reached Caleb’s ears even though she had only spoken to Othniel. As she alighted from her donkey, her father in anticipation of her request, asked “What do you want?” Seeing the opportunity, she forthrightly asked for a marriage gift (Give me a blessing), the springs of water in the vicinity of Negev. And Achsah’s request was granted.
We must in all our endeavours be motivated by the approval of the God who rewards.
When Jacob uttered the prophecies concerning his sons, it contributed to the tribes’ inheritances hundreds of years later. Each tribe’s respective lot was in fact the fruit of the deeds of their forefathers. God rewarded Caleb with lands of his choice because he followed God fully. Caleb in turn gave Othniel his daughter’s hand in marriage as reward for conquering the land of Debir. Reward is a means through which a superior endorses and approves a subordinate. Hence, a system of reward is part of God’s approval process; it is a principle of justice, and righteousness that undergirds the judgments of God. When God approves a man, He rewards Him. Jesus said concerning His second coming,
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” Revelations 22:12 (NASB)
Jesus, at His second coming judges the deeds of every man and renders to them their due reward. With that in mind, Jesus admonished believers to persevere in living righteously in the midst of a decaying generation, “and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.” Revelations 22:11 (NASB).
In working towards God’s approval, believers must first consider the posture and motives of their hearts, and then their works. In fact, people who serve as leaders in the ministry will be judged more severely on issues pertaining to their private lives. Hence, the prophet Jeremiah warned the people against whitewashing their evil motives with religious deeds for God search the hearts,
“But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10 (NLT).
Even as believers serve in diverse ministries with differing levels of commitment, believers must remain united and refrain from comparing. For each must resolved within himself how and in what capacity he should serve, and his reward will come directly from God. The apostle Paul said,
“Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” 1 Corinthians 3:8.
Therefore, believers must be at peace with their own work and not to be affected by another, for God searches all hearts and examine secret motives and give all people their due rewards. There is the believer who is on fire for God and he is burning his weekends to serve the community. There is the pastor who carries out a nine to five profession in the comfort of the city. There is the businessman who gives sacrificially to the work of the gospel. There is the Sunday Christian who is preoccupied with the cares of life. And there is in the field a missionary who spent most of his life serving the poor and the destitute. As there are diverse roles and differing levels of commitment, there will also be diverse glory and corresponding levels of reward. Therefore, let each live as he desires and strives for the approval of God and not of men.
God is able and willing to grant the desires of those who come to Him.
In contrast with Othniel who fought for his reward, Achsah gained her inheritance by virtue of her relationship with her father. She was well aware of her position as daughter of Caleb and she was not about to let that go to waste. She boldly asked for the springs of water in addition to the land of Negev and got what she wanted. Believers by virtue of our relationship with God (as sons) are given the freedom to ask for what we desire.
Many believers supposed asceticism is the lifestyle that pleases God. Asceticism is characterised by abstinence from comfort and riches, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. But God, in the beginning had given to Adam all that he desired in the garden of Eden. God desires his children to live abundantly in fellowship with Him enjoying the things He created for them. Therefore, believers must not be afraid to ask for the things they desire while giving God the prerogative to fulfill them in His time.
If Caleb, being imperfect would give to his daughter what she desired in addition to her inheritance, how much more would our Father in heaven (who is perfect and infinitely richer) give to those who ask Him! Jesus spoke about the Father’s willingness to give earthly things as well as things beyond this world,
Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. Luke 11:11-13
The gift of the Holy Spirit ranks far above what the earth could offer. Earthly things are able to suffice our physical needs, but they cannot add a hint of life to our soul. Perpetual peace, love and joy are gifts beyond what the material world could offer. And it is through the Holy Spirit that man enjoys life without limits, a heavenly existence beyond imagination.
Is God’s approval important to you? Are there gaps between your mindset and God’s? God promised that if believers would live according the vision of the Kingdom, He will grant to us all things without our asking (see Matthew 6:33).
God shows His willingness to bless by answering our prayers and by revealing to us the way. By keeping a prayer journal, we will be able to keep an account of the prayers that we made and give thanks for the ones that God has fulfilled. In doing so, we can recount the goodness of God and give Him glory.
Dear Lord, I thank you for your goodness in my life. Nothing that I do is able to repay what you have done for me on the cross. I ask for nothing accept for the Holy Spirit through which I can experience eternal life and the power to do your will. Imbue within wisdom and power to bring the gospel of salvation to the world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.