Twelve more favourite Bible characters – Caleb

2. Caleb

Not long after entering into the wilderness, Caleb was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses into Canaan (one from each of the twelve tribes). Their task, over a period of 40 days, was to explore the land God had promised to Israel, and to make an assessment of the geographical features of the land, the strength and numbers of the population, the agricultural potential (including bringing back samples of the produce), actual performance of the land, and settlement patterns (including where there were strongholds). Moses asked them to be courageous and to bring back reports. All the spies came back and testified that this was indeed a land flowing with milk and honey, but ten advised against trying to possess it because of the giants. Caleb (aged 40) along with Joshua gave contrary counsel and said Israel could and should enter the land because God was with them. Tragically, Israel was persuaded by the argument of the ten and it was not until 45 years later Caleb, who kept the faith throughout and along with Joshua were the only people allowed in to possess the land under Joshua’s leadership. In laying claim to his inheritance, Caleb reminded Joshua of the promise God gave Moses many years prior: “Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers. Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the Lord” Deuteronomy 1:35,36. Moreover, it was the land where those very giants that so frightened off the people were concentrated: “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. And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance” Joshua 14:12,13. What I find attractive about Caleb is he maintained his strong faith all these years, not allowing age or fear to get in the way of claiming his inheritance, holding onto the promise he received and his commitment to the Lord and, unlike many, was whole hearted.  

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