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?

A New Standard of Power #5

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers (Jeremiah 16:14,15 KJV).

If you think God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt was spectacular, just wait until you see what He has in store in prophecy!

Originally, God brought Israel out of Egypt so she would be His people: He would be their God and they would do His will in His land, the Promised Land. Yet, they were not interested. They wanted to do what they wanted. They preferred sin! Once they entered the Promised Land, they waxed worse and worse, until finally, God had enough of their idolatry. He ultimately evicted Israel, but not forever.

For over 2,500 years now, the Jews have been scattered worldwide, living in and among the Gentile nations. Nationally, they have no Promised Land to own, no Davidic government to protect them, no earthly blessings to enjoy, no forgiveness of sins, nothing. All those centuries ago, they broke JEHOVAH God’s laws and commandments. They refused to turn back. In accordance with the final round of chastisement (Leviticus chapter 26), God permitted the Gentiles to come in and violently remove the Jews from Canaan.

Verses 44 and 45 of Leviticus chapter 26 are God’s promise to Israel: “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.”

No matter that fifth course of judgment, Israel’s dispersion and Gentile captivity, God would not destroy Israel. He would bring her back (today’s Scripture)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did Hosea 6:2 predict our Dispensation of Grace?

A New Standard of Power #4

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers (Jeremiah 16:14,15 KJV).

If you think God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt was spectacular, just wait until you see what He has in store in prophecy!

Just before Israel was expelled from the Promised Land, just before she entered captivity among the Gentiles (nations), the LORD voiced a controversy against her in Micah 6:3,4: “O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” God wanted ungrateful Israel to speak up as to why she had abandoned Him in favor of worthless, lifeless idols. “What, O what, Israel, have I done to you that you want nothing to do with Me?! Did I not deliver you from Egypt, from bondage?!” (You can sense God’s broken heart.)

Israel had reached her sin limit. She had broken the Covenant of Law for centuries. Pagan idols polluted God’s land through and through. And so, with Israel refusing to reform and return to JEHOVAH God, the fifth course of judgment fell. Just as Leviticus 26:27-43 said, God let Gentile armies come in and take Israel captive again. He drove Israel so forcefully from that land of Canaan. “And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste” (verse 33). Historically, the Jews were gradually removed between 722 and 586 B.C., scattered worldwide. The Assyrians and Babylonians took them as prisoners of war. Israel was—and still is today—in bondage again.

Today’s Scripture says JEHOVAH God has a mighty deliverance planned for Israel. It will dwarf her release from Egypt!

A New Standard of Power #3

Monday, April 25, 2016

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers (Jeremiah 16:14,15 KJV).

If you think God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt was spectacular, just wait until you see what He has in store in prophecy!

For centuries, Egypt held helpless Israel captive. However, JEHOVAH God would save them. It would be His power, not their efforts. As Exodus indicates, He poured out 10 mighty judgments on Egypt and her gods. Then, He destroyed Egypt’s armies with the Red Sea. Israel had simply let her God defeat Egypt by Himself.

With Aaron’s help, only a few weeks after leaving Egypt, Israel made and worshipped a golden calf idol: “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt(Exodus 32:4,8). Israel forgot that JEHOVAH, the living God, had delivered her. Instead, they credited the work of their hands as their deliverer. Insanity! They had forgotten JEHOVAH their Deliverer once there at Mount Sinai. Forty years later, they were warned not to forget JEHOVAH God again (Deuteronomy 6:12; Deuteronomy 8:14).

Just before Joshua’s death, Israel said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed” (Joshua 24:16,17).

Centuries later, under evil King Jeroboam, Israel made two golden calves, saying again, “Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt(1 Kings 12:28). Israel had again forgotten the LORD God their Deliverer. Soon, His wrath would fall on them, and they would be forced out of His land, scattered worldwide!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Once Christians fall into gross sin, will God ever use them again?

The Living God #3

Thursday, March 3, 2016

For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? (Deuteronomy 5:26 KJV).

Exactly why is the God of the Bible called “the living God?”

The Jews, sons of Abraham but also (sinful) sons of Adam, had been barred from entering the Promised Land because of their unbelief (see Numbers chapters 13 and 14; cf. Hebrews 3:7-19). Refusing to take God at His Word, Israel doubted He would surely drive out their enemies. They doubted they would dwell safely in Canaan. So, once that generation had died off in the wilderness, at the end of 40 years, Moses addressed Israel’s new generations in Deuteronomy (see today’s Scripture). He reminded them just how strict God is under the current Covenant of Law. Not long after today’s Scripture, Moses died, making Joshua God’s leader for Israel. We come to the second instance of “the living God.”

Reading Joshua 3:10: “And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.” Israel is where she was with Moses 40 years earlier, before the wilderness wanderings. Joshua reaffirmed that Israel had “the living God” on her side. There was great power to give them victory. While Israel under Joshua’s command had some notable military triumphs, Israel once again doubted God’s Word to her and was never faithful in remaining separate from her pagan neighbors.

The next two instances of “the living God” concern little boy David’s victorious fight with Goliath: “And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?….Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God (1 Samuel 17:26,36). There is power with “the living God!”

Aged, But Strong, in the LORD

Thursday, February 5, 2015

“…I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in” (Joshua 14:10,11 KJV).

How could Caleb, despite his old age, be so bold?

Recall Israel’s rebellion entering the Promised Land with Moses (Numbers chapters 13 and 14). For 40 days, 12 Jewish spies scouted its landscapes. Ten spies reported back to Moses with a very negative report: “We cannot overcome the giants in the land.” They contradicted JEHOVAH’S promise to give them victory over all Gentile inhabitants. However, two spies—Joshua and Caleb—believed God’s Word.

Numbers chapter 14 continues: “[6] And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh… rent their clothes: [7] And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. [8] If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. [9] Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” Israel still refused to enter Canaan, and thus wandered in the desert for 40 years!

Fast-forward to today’s Scripture. Caleb is now 85 years old… and still ready to fight the Gentiles to possess the land that God has given him! The verse following today’s Scripture reveals Caleb, despite agedness, is confident that the LORD will give him victory! “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.”

Like Caleb, a wise man will rely on his Almighty LORD, not his weakly flesh!

Singing for the Devil

Thursday, January 22, 2015

“And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear” (Exodus 32:17,18 KJV).

Moses and Joshua are coming down from Mount Sinai after receiving JEHOVAH’S Ten Commandments, and what a “praise and worship” session Israel is seen to have!

It is common to hear of people attending church services at a particular location simply because they “love” the “praise and worship” team. When they talk to you about “church time,” they rarely evaluate the sermon’s theology. What mattered is, “Church was awesome today because a visitor came and showed us some new dance moves!!!” (A social media posting I saw.) Or, “I do not like that preacher’s doctrine but I watch his television program because he is a terrific musician and singer!” (What someone told me recently.) Dear friends, we should be mindful not to expose ourselves to such spiritual dangers, that which appears or sounds good but is actually injurious to our spiritual health.

“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount” (verse 19). “And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies: ),…” (verse 25). The Levites, instructed by Moses, killed 3,000 naked Jewish revelers (verses 26-28)!

Singing and dancing about spiritual matters is not always good. Remember, the same vain religious system that infiltrated ancient Israel has also infected the Body of Christ. Dancing around worthless idols, singing about vain denominational traditions, and so on, it is not pleasing to our Lord Jesus Christ. Beloved, let us strive for a pure local church, one that upholds God’s Word rightly divided, and let us cast off a local church that upholds the flesh! 🙂