This morning in my devotions I read from Joshua fourteen about Caleb, who at the age of eight-five went to war taking the most difficult portions of the promised land for himself.
10 And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. 11 As yet 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. 12 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. (emphasis added)
Now stop and think about that for a minute…here is an 85-year-old man who is willing to go in and conquer an area of Canaan (something many of the much younger Israelites didn’t accomplish) but he doesn’t just want to do that so he attacks the toughest area that had giants (anakim) and walled cities.
Maybe your like me and after reading this passage ask the question why?
- why does he ask for the most difficult area to conquer?
- Why not leave that area for people who are younger and more powerful?
- What’s wrong with taking one of the smaller portions as an inheritance?
- And why attempt all this at the age of EIGHTY-FIVE???
One answer to these questions is Caleb trusted God to care for his needs in a mighty way. I personally believe though Joshua 14:12 phrases it as a question, there was no doubt in his mind that God would give the victory. If we dig a little deeper however we find another reason why he took on such a huge challenge.
Caleb remembered what happened last time
The last time they were ready to enter the land of Canaan the Jews decided to believe other spies (Numbers 13:25-29) instead of Caleb who had faith God would give the victory (Numbers 13:30-31). Caleb in his heart knew that history would just repeat itself after Joshua their leader died…left to their own strength the Jews would leave much of the land unconquered. So at 85 years old Caleb took it upon himself to show everybody how it’s really done.
The thought of Caleb doing what much younger men wouldn’t (and couldn’t) because they were too scared or weak is incredibly convicting. But it gets worse when we apply it to modern-day life because things still haven’t changed that much.
The very few men take on new challenges, while the other “men” stay where it’s comfortable.
The greatest conviction of all comes however when this truth is applied to my ministry on the island.
Up till now my time on the island has involved the comfortable or easy stuff
- Developing relationships
- Learning the Culture
- Preaching in the local Church
- And ministering to those in need
Lately though the Lord has been focusing my eyes on the larger needs…the ones as big as mountains off in the distance
- Discipleship of Believers so that Christianity is a true relationship with God instead of just actions
- Creating outreach programs that “mentor” children giving them a positive male role model
- Counseling those in need with the Word of God and dealing with their core problem (a life apart from Jesus Christ)
- Planting of Bible preaching Churches on the island
Now there’s nothing wrong with prayer walks or relationship development since they are great first steps. The danger is staying in that area and never moving towards those mountains.
I’m pretty sure Caleb didn’t just stage an all out attack on the mountain region of Canaan (though he may have) instead I see him taking a few steps towards those walled fortresses filled with giants. And with each passing day he prepared himself more for the day of battle. Unfortunately I don’t have all of the answers about how to conquer the spiritual mountains of Barrouaille but that’s okay, because the Lord doesn’t want me to stage an all out attack.
All He wants me to do is take a step towards them.