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Scripture reading – Joshua 14
Dividing the Land by Lot (Joshua 14:1-5)
The tribes on the east side of Jordan were given their inheritance, as Moses had promised (Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua 13). Joshua now addressed the task of assigning the other tribes their inheritance by lot and according to the instructions established in the Book of Numbers (Numbers 34:2-12, 16-29).
We are reminded that Jacob had adopted the sons of Joseph, Manasseh, and Ephraim as his sons (Genesis 48:5). They were tribes of Israel in their own right. The LORD had chosen the tribe of Levi to serve as priests. Therefore, the Levites would receive no inheritance in the land, except cities and “their suburbs [lands around the cities] for their cattle and their substance” (14:4).
Caleb’s Claim (Joshua 14:6-12)
However, before the lots were cast and the lands were divided by tribes, an inspirational event occurred.
Caleb, Joshua’s fellow spy and warrior (they were the only men twenty years and older to come out of Egypt and enter the Promised Land), came before Joshua. Accompanied by representatives of the tribe of Judah (14:6) who came as his witnesses, Caleb reminded Joshua that Moses had promised him an inheritance in Canaan (14:6-7).
Caleb compelled Joshua and said, “Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea” (14:6).
Caleb had been forty years old when he searched out the Promised Land. He had brought back a report of all that was in his heart (14:7). While the other spies discouraged the people with their faithless report, Caleb, like Joshua, determined to trust and “wholly followed the Lord” (14:8). Tragically, Israel believed the unfaithful spies, and refused to trust the LORD and enter Canaan (14:8a).
For his faith and faithfulness, Moses had declared to Caleb, “Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God” (14:9). Forty-five years had passed. Yet, although he was eighty-five years old, Caleb was determined to claim his inheritance as the LORD promised (14:10).
We have seen that Joshua “was old and stricken in years” (13:1), but such was not the case with Caleb. Though he had been through the hardships of the wilderness and the battles in Canaan, his spirit was determined, and his strength was undiminished. Caleb testified, “I am as 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” (14:11).
What an astonishing declaration. Caleb’s passion, faith, and physical strength had not waned. He was not ready to retire, retreat, or spend his days in a rocking chair. Instead, he was prepared to take by faith what the LORD had promised him for his inheritance.
Caleb asserted, “GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims [who were giants, and by Egyptian records were seven to nine feet tall] were there, and that the cities were great and fenced” (14:12).
What was Caleb’s inspiration? Why would an eighty-five-year-old man claim what others had feared and fled? Caleb revealed the source of his passion and faith, saying, “If so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said” (14:12).
The fire of a warrior still burned in Caleb’s soul. Though chronologically old, he was ready to claim his inheritance and go to war, knowing the LORD was with him!
How did Joshua respond to the faith of his old friend?
“Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance” (Joshua 14:13)
Questions to ponder:
1) How were the lands assigned to the tribes? (Joshua 14:2)
2) Besides the sons of Jacob, whose children received land in Canaan? (Joshua 14:4)
3) How old was Caleb when Moses sent him to spy on the enemies in Canaan? (Joshua 14:7)
4) Apart from God preserving his strength, what gave Caleb confidence to drive the Anakims out of his mountain? (Joshua 14:12)
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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