Wednesday, January 8, 2020

About Caleb (Ordinary Heroes of the Bible Series)

Caleb

Our pastor recently took us through a short series about ordinary heroes of the Bible.  We studied about how God uses ordinary people to accomplish His will.  Our first lesson was about a man named Caleb.

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled "Caleb."  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.


Our Scripture texts for learning about Caleb are Numbers 13, Joshua 14, and 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.

God chooses to use ordinary people like you and me every day to accomplish His purposes.  Let God use you in a powerful way.  Stop thinking that you, for whatever reason, cannot be used by God.  God is not done with you.  He wants to use you.
But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it. - Numbers 14:24
Caleb had a different kind of spirit.  He didn't come from a prominent family.  God used Caleb because he FULLY followed the Lord.  Caleb didn't half-heartedly follow the Lord.  He fully followed whole-heartedly.  

Caleb was part of a crowd of  two million Israelites whom God delivered out of Egypt.  God told Moses that because of the unfaithfulness of the entire older generation, that not one of them would enter the Promised Land except for Caleb and Joshua.
"Except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed the Lord fully." - Deuteronomy 1:36
In Numbers 13:28, Moses' spies or scouts reported back about the land of Hebron (Canaan).  The spies felt that the people of Canaan were too large and too powerful for them.  Caleb spoke up and said, "We can do this."
Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.” 
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” - Numbers 13:28-30
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In Numbers 14:2, the people were crying in discouragement.  They even wanted to return to Egypt! 
All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! - Numbers 14:2
The next several verses gives us Joshua's and Caleb's response to the people who were grumbling.
Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them." - Numbers 14:6-9
Then, the grumbling people wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb to death!  They pushed the limit.  God became fed up with the grumbling, whining crowd.  They had crushed the vision.  God wanted to smite the people but Moses asked God to not smite the people for the sake of God's own name and reputation among the people.
The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.”

But Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for by Your strength You brought up this people from their midst, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, O Lord, are in the midst of this people, for You, O Lord, are seen eye to eye, while Your cloud stands over them; and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if You slay this people as one man, then the nations who have heard of Your fame will say, ‘Because the Lord could not bring this people into the land which He promised them by oath, therefore He slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ But now, I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as You have declared, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.’ - Numbers 14:10-18

Now skip ahead 45 years.  Joshua finally gave the land of Hebron (Canaan) over to Caleb, an ordinary hero.

What can we learn from Caleb?


1.  God will honor faithfulness.  

Caleb was a behind-the-scenes ordinary man, but he was faithful.  Many people forgot about Caleb but God did not forget about him.  45 years later, Caleb received his inheritance.  God keeps His promises.
But just as it is written, "Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, and which has not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9

There were probably plenty of times when Caleb felt discouraged, but he remained faithful to God and God rewarded Celeb.  

2.  God has more in store for you.

We have a tendency to dwell in the past.  The past is a blessing but we can't live there.  God has a "next" for us.  If we are living and breathing, then there is more that God wants to do with us.  We can look back at what we have done in the past but our focus needs to be on what we are doing now.
When your memories are greater than your dreams, your days are numbered. - Unknown

Whatever you may have done in your past, there is always room to grow.

3.  God must be wholly followed. 
Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I respond to it. - Chuck Swindoll  


Don't let the valleys make you bitter.  Let them make you better. 
Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. - Deuteronomy 7:9

Remember that God loves to use ordinary people.
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. - 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

For the Kids:  Here's a coloring page depicting Joshua and Caleb and the grumbling Israelites.  Simply right-click and save to your computer and then print it out from your own home printer.
Joshua and Caleb Coloring Page for Kids



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Ordinary Heroes of the Bible - Caleb

Find all posts in the Ordinary Heroes of the Bible Series here.

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