Sunday, November 18, 2012

In Praise of Caleb

"from the tribe of Judah, Caleb, son of Jephunneh"
Numbers 13:6

I have been inspired by Caleb for years.  I admire his loyalty, his obedience, and most of all, his fearlessness.  Not "courage", although there is something to be said for obedience in spite of fear ~ but his fearlessness.   We never see Moses, or Joshua, or the Lord telling Caleb not to fear, or to be strong and courageous.  Caleb just was.

"Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, 
'We should go up and take possession of the land, 
for we can certainly do it"
Numbers 13:30

Caleb was not scared of the "giants" in the Promised Land when he was 40, and 45 years later, he was not afraid to drive out the Anakim from Hebron, to claim his inheritance.   And I find comfort in that, when I look ahead to what the Lord has called me to, and I sometimes think there's something wrong with me when I'm not afraid, when logic tells me I should be. 

"Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes, and said to the assembly, 'The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.  If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, and He will give it to us... Do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up... 
Do not be afraid of them.' "
Numbers 14:6-7

God knows we're going to be scared, and he does not condemn us for that.  He encourages us over and over.  When I look up His encouragements, I find "Do not be afraid"; "Do not fear"; "fear not"; "be courageous"; or "be of good courage" over and over again. 

"But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit, and follows Me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendents will inherit it"
Numbers 14:24

Stepping out into His will often means feeling scared.  If you do it often enough, that feeling of fear starts to feel normal.  If you've ever been someplace loud, like a concert, you have noticed, when the noise stops, that you are very, very aware of the silence.  I am acutely aware of this lack of fear, and it has sometimes given me cause to doubt what He has asked of me, because I believe that I'm supposed to be scared.    

"Here I am today, eighty-five years old! ... I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then... the Anakim were there and their cities were large and fortified, but the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as He said."
Joshua 14:10-12

It's okay to be scared!  But He reminds me that I have not been given a Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.  And in my Bible, I found a name for this "lack of fear"...

it's called peace.

"Then Joshua blessed Caleb,
and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.  
So Hebron has belonged to Caleb ever since,
because he followed the Lord, 
the God of Israel, wholeheartedly."
Joshua 14:13-14

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