“Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.”
After successfully leading military campaigns throughout Canaan, Joshua distributes the land to each of the tribes. It became their responsibility to establish the land as their own. Time and time again, we read how the tribes failed to take possession of all of the land for one reason or another. When we come to Caleb, we find that although he was an elderly man, he occupied the possession that had been allotted to him. I notice four ingredients that led to his success.
First, we read he “. . . wholly followed the Lord . . .” That means he lived in complete submission to the will and Word of God. Way back in the wilderness, Israel was commanded to enter Canaan and take the Land. Most of the people were willing to follow the Lord when it was easy or comfortable. Caleb was willing to follow no matter what. As a result, his following led to complete surrender of his own life, as well as an attempt to influence others to follow the Lord.
Second, we read he clung to the promises of God. Forty five years earlier, Moses had promised Caleb a certain portion of the land. After forty years in the wilderness, five years of battle within the land, and all the struggles associated with those years, Caleb still trusted in the promise. We would think, perhaps those promises timed out with age, but Caleb continued to cling to what he had been promised.
Third, we read something interesting about his strength. He claimed he was as strong at eighty-five as he had been at forty. I know some folks who are in their seventies and eighties who remain in pretty good shape. That being said, they are no match for their forty year old self. In a foot race, wrestling match, or a push up contest, I am sure my twenty year old self could beat my present self. Caleb is not claiming to have found the fountain of youth, and never weakened like normal humans. Instead, he is stating the fact that at eighty-five, and at forty, his strength was not in himself but in the Lord. If we rely upon the Spirit of God, we will not weaken as time goes by.
Finally, we read of Caleb’s great faith. After describing the mountain that had been promised him, and the inhabitants being the strongest within the land, Caleb declares, “It MAY be that the Lord will be with me and I will be able to drive them out.” It may be? That is a striking statement to me. If I were to go up a mountain, which is notoriously difficult to take in battle, and attack fortified cities, inhabited by giants, I think I would want something a little more than a maybe. Caleb walked in faith. He found the promises of God to be true, as he walked daily in them. We will never know what God wants to do through us until we step out in faith to serve Him.