Learning from Caleb

Typically when you look at character stories in the Bible, there is quite often a mixture of good and bad, but in the case of Caleb, we see a man who remained faithful to God and provides a wonderful example for us to follow. Caleb is a man of faith and is mentioned elsewhere in Scripture as one who wholly followed the Lord: (Numbers 14:24; 32:12; Deuteronomy 1:36; Joshua 14:8-9, 14).

Caleb’s story begins with the Rebellion at Kadesh-Barnea (Numbers 13:26-33). Israel had been out of Egypt about two years when it arrived at the entrance to Canaan where, instead of taking God at His Word and proceeding to possess their inheritance, they instead asked for a report from twelve spies. And instead of accepting the good report from Caleb and Joshua, Israel choose instead to accept the bad report of the other ten spies and allowed fear to overcome their faith.

While the ten spies despised the land (Numbers 14:36), Caleb and Joshua delighted in the land. The majority were walking by sight and only saw insurmountable obstacles to overcome; the minority were walking by faith and put their trust in God to deliver on His promises. The difference: only Caleb and Joshua survived the generation that died in the wilderness and only these two from that generation were allowed to enter the Promised Land and receive their inheritance. The attitudes and behaviors of the ten and of the two preview behaviors Paul would write about many years later (see Romans 8:5).

What is so ironic is when it comes to Caleb receiving his inheritance (Joshua 14:6-15), is that the very people and land the other ten spies said they could not conquer, becomes the place of choice for Caleb: Hebron. What we can learn from this is when we have unbelief, when our faith is lacking, we see only giants in front of us. But when we put our faith in trust in God, nothing is impossible (Philippians 4:13).

Caleb is an excellent reminder of how to live a life in complete trust in God. When we have unwavering faith we bring glory to the Lord and make His glory known to others. Even when circumstances seem overwhelming, He promises to be with us (Romans 8:31; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 4:19).

Caleb never wavered or gave in to the majority around him. There is no record of him compromising his beliefs for the sake of fitting in. Have we lived a similar life or have there been moments in your life where it was more important to go with the crowd than to stand up for your beliefs? We are called to be holy (set apart) for His purposes and not to be “of the world”. Caleb did not give in to the majority report but stood his ground through faith in God’s Promise (2 Corinthians 1:17; 1 John 2:15-16; Romans 12:2).

Caleb remained focused on God’s promise to him (Numbers 14:24). We, too, have been given the promise of eternal life through our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us strive to keep our focus on Him instead of the trappings of this world (John 14:1-2; John 15:9-11; Romans 8:28; Hebrews 13:5; but also remember John 16:33).

So we see in Caleb a walk of faith many of us should be able to duplicate, for it all begins with a simple, yet concrete, faith in the Almighty.

Pray for God to give you a faith like Caleb’s.