In Caleb’s Heart

Monday, May 8, 2017

Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart (Joshua 14:7 KJV).

What was really in Caleb’s heart?

Anyone familiar with Scripture knows of the 12 spies whom Moses sent to scout the Promised Land. The most well-known reconnoiterers were Joshua (Oshea/Jehoshua) and Caleb—the only two with favorable reports. See Numbers chapter 13 for details. Notice the highlights: “[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. [31] But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.”

Originally, God had told Moses in verse 2: “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel….” Here, and other places, God promised to give Israel the land of Canaan. There was no question that Israel could defeat the gigantic inhabitants: God would give them the victory. Alas, 10 spies discouraged Israel—“Those living in Canaan are just too big for us to overcome!” (In other words, they caused Israel to doubt God’s promise!)

As chapter 14 goes on to say, Israel spent the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness, until that evil, unbelieving generation of Jews died off. All those aged 20 and over perished, never entering the Promised Land (verse 29)—the two exceptions were Joshua and Caleb (verse 30). God comments in verse 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.”

Today’s Scripture is Caleb speaking, now age 85 (verse 10). What was in Caleb’s heart? Why, compare Scripture with Scripture! It was faith in God’s promise that He would give Israel the Promised Land. Caleb indeed went in, fought for, and received his inheritance in the land he knew God had given him and Israel (verses 11-15)! “…Thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God” (verse 9).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Was an apostle merely one who had seen Christ’s resurrection?