November 12, 2011

An Uncommon Spirit

“But because My servant Caleb has a different spirit (uncommon spirit) and follows Me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to and his descendants will inherit it.”  Numbers 14:24

God Himself states that Caleb had an "uncommon spirit".

What did He mean?

I think it refers to the persevering faithfulness that Caleb had over many decades. Let's take a look at the life of Caleb, a little known big man of faith (Book of Joshua) to gain insight. 

Faithful in persecution
Caleb lived in Egypt as a slave of Pharaoh for 38 years and was forced into manual labour, consigned to making bricks.  He was forced to make increasing numbers of bricks, without straw, under the lashing whips of the overseers.

Caleb would have heard Moses giving a message of hope to those enslaved as he was. His heart was faithful in believing that God would deliver them and believed that this time was now upon them.

He was also faithful when he was persecuted for his faithful report. When the 12 spies were sent out by Moses it was only Joshua and Caleb that came back with the report that with God’s help they can defeat the giants in the land.  The people threatened to stone them.

Faithful in the journey
Caleb was an eyewitness to many miracles and he heard the cries of the Egyptian parents whose firstborn sons were killed. He walked through the parting of the Red Sea; he collected the daily manna with thanksgiving in his heart and he followed the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud recognizing in them the presence of his God.

When others worshipped the golden calf made by Aaron when Moses was on Mount Sinai, he remained faithful to the God of Israel even though it seemed that God was absent.

Faithful in the midst of doubt
Ten of the spies discouraged Israel from going in and taking possession of Canaan even though God had told them to go.  It was only Joshua and Caleb who spoke for God even though they may personally have struggled with the same doubts.  In the natural they saw the same giants and fortified cities that the others did.  But they did not want to go back to where they had been – in bondage.

They chose to believe that the God who had delivered them from Egypt was able to give them victory against all these odds because He was with them.

Faithful in believing
 “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 descendants will inherit it.”  Numbers 14:24

Oh, I want that “different spirit”, don’t you?  The one that keeps on believing God with all that is within. Caleb kept God’s promises forefront in his heart.  His conviction was sure that God is faithful even after waiting 45 years to receive the fulfillment of God’s promise.

Faithful in possessing
Even though Caleb believed, and received what God had promised it still involved, not only fighting, but proclaiming.

Caleb argues before Joshua that he was the one that should receive the land of Hebron as his inheritance because this is what God had promised 45 years earlier.  He laid claim to the promises of God.

Faithful in the fight
Caleb fought to claim what was promised.  The land of Hebron was occupied by a race of very tall people (giants).  Yet, he knew that God was with him to drive them out.
In Joshua 14:12 he says, “The Lord helping me, I will drive them out.”  

Faithful in resting
Caleb was granted his inheritance and thus the promise was fulfilled. Even though the land was free from war Caleb was faithful in fellowshipping and communing with God.  The name “Hebron” means communion and fellowship with God.

Caleb is an example for us to follow. He wasn't an obvious leader, like Joshua, but he was a faithful follower. He was faithful to what God had promised.  He persevered in faith; trusted God’s promises and was prepared to fight for what God had promised no matter how long it took.

In Isaiah 46:4 God tells us, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” 

Like Caleb, let us trust in God and followed him wholeheartedly all the days of our life.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I sometimes worry about being taken care of in old age so I was glad to learn of the verse from the book of Is. the fact that God will take care of us in our old age and sustain us especially as we see the world's system of finances crumbling away.

Maria Egilsson said...

Thank you for your comments. God is faithful and this wonderful scripture is full of promises.