Joshua Gives Hebron
6 One day while the Israelites were still camped at Gilgal, Caleb the son of Jephunneh went to talk with Joshua. Caleb belonged to the Kenaz clan, and many other people from the Judah tribe went with Caleb. He told Joshua:
You know that back in Kadesh-Barnea the Lord talked to his prophet Moses about you and me. 7 I was 40 years old at the time Moses sent me from Kadesh-Barnea into Canaan as a spy. When I came back and told him about the land, everything I said was true. 8The other spies said things that made our people afraid, but I completely trusted the Lord God. 9 The same day I came back, Moses told me, “Since you were faithful to the Lord God, I promise that the places where you went as a spy will belong to you and your descendants forever.”
10Joshua, it was 45 years ago that the Lord told Moses to make that promise, and now I am 85. Even though Israel has moved from place to place in the desert, the Lord has kept me alive all this time as he said he would. 11I'm just as strong today as I was then, and I can still fight as well in battle.
12So I'm asking you for the hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You were there. You heard the other spies talk about that part of the hill country and the large, walled towns where the Anakim live. But maybe the Lord will help me take their land, just as he promised.
13Joshua prayed that God would help Caleb, then he gave Hebron to Caleb and his descendants. 14And Hebron still belongs to Caleb's descendants, because he was faithful to the Lord God of Israel.
15Hebron used to be called Arba's Town, because Arba had been one of the greatest of the Anakim.
There was peace in the land.
Finally the wars were coming to an end and Joshua is gradually distributing the land to the various tribes so that they can settle down. A familiar name comes up again in this story – the name of Caleb. Caleb had been with the people of Israel when they left Egypt. He was present when God divided the waters of the Red Sea. He was one of the twelve spies who had been sent out to survey the land and one of the only two who stood with Joshua in their recommendation to press on into the promised land with the profound belief that God was with them. You will remember that the people of Israel chose not to believe in God at that time – there were ‘giants’ in the land that would surely defeat them, they told Moses. As a result they wandered in the wilderness for forty more years (Numbers 13:26-14:9).
Tragically many of us live our faith in much the same way. We make a choice to wander in the wilderness than face off faithfully with our giants. We wander and complain. Ultimately we miss out on the blessings of a faith well lived.
Caleb was made a promise when he chose to live faithfully (Numbers 32:11-12). At the age of 85 he makes that promise a reality. Caleb is a wonderful illustration of a person of faith willing to pay the price, fight the battles and win the victory that God has placed before him. He lives and the blessings of God go with him into the future. He ran the race and he has finished his course of 85 years of faithfulness. God says in his promise of this land, “Well done!”
Dear God, none of us really wants to live this life of discipleship that you have called us to. We do however choose to do so. We confess that we choose to wander in the wildernesses of our own making and complain to you for what we have chosen. Grant us the power to change, the wisdom and faithfulness to live differently in the coming days so that we might share in the blessings of what the faith offers – life and a life well lived. Amen.