Monday, October 7, 2013

Claiming God’s Promise

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who scouted out the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite community: "The land we passed through and explored is an extremely good land. If the LORD is pleased with us, He will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us.  Only don't rebel against the LORD, and don't be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us. Don't be afraid of them!" Numbers 14:6-9

God has a place of victory, peace and power for us, but we must be willing to claim our possession. It isn't for the faint-hearted, but it is for the faith-hearted.  When you’re in the midst of conflict and struggles, it IS hard to see God sometimes. But it’s when we’re faced with the giants of doubt and despair that we most need to focus on God’s presence and His power and His promises.

This week we will be talking about Caleb and his story of claiming God’s promise.  The story of Caleb begins forty-five years before in the time of Moses.  The Children of Israel were wandering in the desert when they sent twelve spies went into the land and most came back with a negative report: ..."And there we saw giants, and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers" (Numbers 13:33)  But Joshua and Caleb had a different report.  They reported the good things they saw and said don't be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us. Don't be afraid of them!"  

God gave a curse and a blessing...
Yet as surely as I live and as the whole earth is filled with the LORD's glory, none of the men who have seen My glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested Me these 10 times and did not obey Me, will ever see the land I swore to give their fathers. None of those who have despised Me will see it. But since My servant Caleb has a different spirit and has followed Me completely, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it.  Numbers 14:21-24  C.

The children of Israel refused to go into the promised land saying they were surely to be defeated by the giants. So they continued to wander…for forty-five more years.

Fast-forward forty-five years. Joshua is dividing up the land to the tribes of Israel and here is Caleb, now 85 years old, having survived the 40 years wandering in the desert, and having fought alongside Joshua as they took the promised land.  He has come to claim the promise of God. 

Forty-five years is a long time to wait to claim the promise God has for you.  Could you hold onto a 45-year-old promise and have the faith at age 85 to claim it?  Caleb wanted to claim a mountain in Hebron that had been promised to him many years before he began all the battles to take the land for his fellow believers.  With the conquest done, he remembered what was promised him, but it was now occupied by giants.  He told General Joshua, “I want that mountain!” 

There was one good fight left in the heart of this aging warrior, but he went at it like a fledging recruit.  That really inspires me!  Think of how Caleb would sit and tell the story of God's promise and have many merely listen respectfully and then roll their eyes at one another.  While the story was interesting, I'm certain they saw it only as an old man's dream.   As years went on, he and Joshua were the only living witnesses.  There were fewer who could validate the story so the story probably seemed more of a fable of sorts in the minds of the listeners.

A key to Caleb’s success was that God had all of Caleb that there was! Note the repeated phrase "followed the LORD my God fully." This is said about Caleb 6 times in the Old Testament.  It is a phrase that means to "close the gap." It is a phrase used by hunters to refer to their closing the gap between themselves and their prey.. It refers to the fact that Caleb was committed to keeping the distance between himself and the Lord at a minimum.

How about you?  Maybe you are experiencing the worst pain of your life and you know there is a mountain waiting for you to claim but you can’t see it for the clouds.  Have you given yourself fully to the Lord?  It is hard when it is difficult to even get out of bed in the morning.  Press on and keep the faith.  Keep the distance between you and the Lord to a minimum.  Follow Him completely and He will bring you into the land flowing with milk and honey.  His word is good and His promises are true.  Claim your promise and faithfully wait on Him.

Scripture to Claim:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, and he heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1

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