Joshua and God’s people had entered the Promised Land. They had fought wars, defeated kings, taken control of mound cities, destroyed strongholds, and driven out numerous idol worshipers. Finally, there was enough land to begin dividing portions among the tribes of Israel. The tracts included land where battles had been won as well as property still inhabited by other peoples. ALL of the land was part of Israel's promised inheritance. Therefore, even the occupied section spoke of victory. It was ALREADY theirs, given to them by God. Theirs for the taking if they but trusted in Him.
But entire tribes came to Joshua with excuses and complaints. The conversation went a lot like this.
“Uh, Josh? Our tribe’s too big for the land you gave us.”
Joshua stabs a blunt-tipped finger at a crudely drawn map. “Hmm... According to this, it looks like you have plenty of land.” Moving his finger over the surface, pausing on one border city, then another, he plots out the allotment. “You have these cities, this valley, these mountains…”
“But Josh…” The whine sets in. “There are still PEOPLE there!”
Straightening his shoulders, Joshua gives the Israelite delegation an incredulous stare. “The land is YOURS. Anyone else doesn't belong there. Get them off of of what God gave to you!”
Unlike this group of people, Caleb approached Joshua with a strut in his step. Slapping Joshua on the shoulder, he reminisced, “Joshua, my friend. Do you remember when we scouted out this land 45 years ago?”
At Joshua’s nod, he continues. “Remember me telling you I wanted Kirjatharba Mountain and how God promised it to me?”
Again the nod.
“It belonged to the biggest, baddest giant and had fenced cities. That’s why I wanted it. I figured if God said we could have the land, well, I wanted what the mightiest enemy had claimed for himself.” Squaring off, he looked Joshua in the eyes. “I still do.”
Joshua strokes his beard as Caleb continues. “I’m eighty-five years old and just as strong now as I was then. Put my name on that mountain, cause I still plan to take it.”
And he did.
If we look more closely at Caleb, we can see that his victory mentality wasn’t developed overnight. He had been conquering mountains long before they crossed the Jordan River. Here are a few.
-His name meant “dog,” the lowest form of life. Names were indicative of expected character or representative of circumstance. He proved both wrong.
-His father was a Kenizzite. He had the unfair disadvantage of mixed parentage in a culture that limited spiritual growth to those of mixed heritage. Not even Moses’ sons were permitted to grow in leadership responsibility, yet somehow, Caleb was among the trusted who spied out the land in Moses' day. Surely Caleb had arisen above the life station others would have considered a hindrance.
-This same parent issue provided Caleb with another choice. His pagan family were dwellers in the Promised Land. According to Rahab’s testimony, the land of Canaan had received news of Israel’s God. She, as well as other “strangers” chose to convert to the Jewish way of life and serve the living God. Most, however, remained devoted to the idols they worshiped, deciding to continue their relationship with Satan rather than to surrender to the God Whose reputation preceded Him. This also gave Caleb an option. He could forsake the ranks of the people who’d caused him 45 years of heartache and repeatedly circling a mountain and rejoin his family roots, or he could stick with the flawed people of God and hold fast to his promise from God. He clung to God.
It was this whole-hearted service to God that empowered him to make the right decisions, thereby growing his faith until it was mountain-conquering time. His outlook sustained him through difficult days. It strengthened him beyond his years, giving him vitality to attain his vision. It enabled him to provide his daughter with a valiant husband, a parcel of land, and springs of water when other parents couldn’t offer such gifts to their girls. He was victorious. And that victory came from wholly following the Lord.
Following God is the source of overcoming power, the answer for victorious living, the motivation for moving beyond status quo. It is the gateway to triumph and access to divine health and supernatural strength. Following God supplies provision through which generosity abounds and blessing is bestowed upon others. Following God enables the right mindset so that mornings are faced with zeal and challenges are seen as opportunities.
Following God is as rich for us as it was for Caleb. It opens our eyes to more than another sunny morning at the onset of an average day. It helps us realize that the true VICTOR is before us. That His power is at work on our behalf and His presence affords us benefits that surpass upbringing, negative criticism, faint-hearted peer groups...or any other setback that comes our way. Following God gives us the right perspective for our lives, causing us to see that we are living in the place where victory already exists.
Tip/Tidbit: What is your present self-talk? Are you believing the truth about yourself—based on a God-perspective, or are you seeing yourself through negative circumstances, others’ harsh words, or unfavorable situations? Evaluate, then readjust your thinking to put God in control. See yourself as victorious through Him!