At Kadesh Israel caught a terminal case of “the grasshopper complex” from the ten faithless spies. The reports of giants and walled cities blinded them to the greatness of God and deafened them to His promises. What a sad day in Israel’s history! Moses wrote, “we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:33). Because their faith faltered and they were ready to turn back, God was ready to destroy them. Moses interceded and that generation of Israel was spared immediate destruction, but not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Forty years of wilderness wanderings and death awaited them.
How tragic! But in the midst of this tragedy God made a statement about Caleb – a statement worthy of consideration. He said, “But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it” (Numbers 14:24).
Yes, Caleb had “a different spirit in him.” God acknowledged him to be His servant. He followed God completely. He was courageous. He was optimistic. He trusted God. He was the kind of man who, along with Joshua would say, “If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land…do not rebel against the Lord nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread…the Lord is with us…do not fear them” (Numbers 14:6-9).
Move ahead in time! Forty hard years had passed. Caleb endured the wilderness wandering. The land had been conquered and was being divided among the people. It was Caleb’s turn to stand before Joshua, now the leader of Israel. There, together, they stood – the twin towers of fidelity to God. Caleb could have asked for about anything he wanted. He did, but it was not for a quiet valley. He said to Joshua, “Give me this mountain” (Joshua 14:12). It was a mountain still inhabited by giants with fortified cities. He still spurned convenience! He still courted challenge! Yes, he still, after all those years, had “a different spirit in him.”
Caleb never lowered his standards. He refused defeat. He persevered. He was a man of faith – a servant of God! Three times the Bible says, “He wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.” Imbibe his spirit! Go thou and do likewise!
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