The people are ready for the land to be divided. They approach Joshua to begin this task. Caleb has a special request first.
The first thing I noticed is the age difference between Joshua and Caleb. Caleb reminds Joshua that he was 40 years old when Moses sent out the 12 spies. At that time Joshua could have been no more than 21. He was probably 19 when they left Egypt. They were busy building the Tabernacle for about nine months. So it should have taken no more than a year and a half to get to the spot. That makes Caleb around 20 years older than Joshua. Caleb is the oldest man in camp but he is not the head man.
Caleb respects Joshua as Moses’ successor. He has also held fast to a promise made by Moses and endorsed by God. Because of Caleb’s faithfulness he was told HE could choose where he wanted his lands to be. And because of the blessings of God that continued with him to that day, he chose not to take the easy route.
There was still work to be done in the land and Caleb wanted to be a part of it. He asked Joshua for a city that had previously been conquered but had become a home for the Anakim. Joshua and company had taken this city after the battle of the five kings at Gibeon. Caleb wanted to claim Hebron once again; for his own this time.
Caleb wasn’t asking Joshua to marshal the forces and drive the new inhabitants out. He was asking for permission to claim this territory and drive them out himself. He was still strong and healthy. He was ready to continue the command of the Lord; to take the whole land and remove all the inhabitants who dwelt there.
Caleb was the first one to come to Joshua to make a land request. The two and a half tribes on the eastern side of the Jordan had made their request to Moses. Caleb didn’t come alone either. He brought the whole tribe of Judah with him. They were all ready to finally have a home in the land God promised them. And they were willing to work for it.
I’m wondering if Joshua was waiting for Caleb to make the first move. Caleb was the oldest living Israelite at that time. He and Joshua were the last of the generation who left Egypt as adults. Did this give Caleb special rights in the camp and in the eyes of the Lord?
More than age was Caleb’s faithfulness. Even when nearly the whole camp turned away from God, Caleb was faithful. Caleb brought a favorable report after spying out the land. He stood up to the people when they were ready to turn tail and run back to Egypt. I would lay bank on Caleb NOT bowing down to the golden calf, griping about meat and water, and not getting tangled up with Baal worship in Moab. Caleb clung to the promises of the Lord no matter what. He would follow wherever God told him to go. I can imagine him as one on the front line of every battle and the first to give glory to God for the victory. I KNOW he wasn’t perfect because NO MAN IS but the Holy Spirit doesn’t share any of them with us.
I would like to have a life like Caleb’s. I’ve probably blown it enough by now that I’m not even close, but from this day forward I want to be able to say I “have wholly followed the Lord my God” (verse 9b). I want to go where He sends me, do what He calls me to do, and follow His will in my life. Step 1 in that path is: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul with all your mind and with all your strength” (Luke 10:27a). Step 2 on this path is: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27b). When these are in their right place and in their right order I will be walking in God’s ways; and so will you.
Father God, thank You for the faithfulness of Caleb. Thank You that he didn’t sit down and rest on his past accomplishments. He knew there was still work to do. He knew You had given him the strength to do it and he was ready to move deeper into Your promises. I wonder what would have become of Israel without him. He wasn’t one of the major leaders but he served from where he was. He walked faithfully in Your commands and was ready to defend You to his dying breath. He put feet to his faith. I have no doubt that he also was ready to give an answer for his faith any time a question was raised.
Thank You for Your faithfulness to Caleb too. Thank You for letting him see Your promise fulfilled. “And the land had rest from war” (verse 15b). This didn’t happen the day he came to Joshua because even Caleb knew there was still work to be done. But it did happen and Caleb got to see it.
Thank You that I am in a quieter time in my life too. No major battles going on. Little issues here and there but quiet most of the time. I’m enjoying that peacefulness. A time of refreshing so I will be ready to stand firm when I’m called to the front lines once again. Please don’t let it be too soon!