Numbers 14:24 “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 descendents will inherit it” (NIV).
Observation: Israel was poised on the edge of the Promised Land, and the spies had returned in agreement that the land was remarkably productive. All except Caleb and Joshua expressed fear of the land’s inhabitants. Caleb and Joshua did their best to rouse faith that God would enable them to defeat their enemies, but fear and lack of faith carried the day. God’s judgment was that the Israelites would have to stay in the desert for forty years, one year for each day the spies had spent in the land. However, He singled out Caleb as having a different spirit from the people; Caleb followed God wholeheartedly and God promised he would inherit the land he had explored.
Application: In this chapter faith received the promise of future blessing; fear was condemned to die in the desert. No Israelite who had been twenty or older upon leaving Egypt would survive to enter Canaan. Think of it! A couple million of Caleb’s friends, family, and countrymen would have to die before Caleb could receive his inheritance. Imagine standing at the edge of Houston, Los Angeles, or New York and hearing God say that the sea of humanity stretched before you must die before you can receive what God had promised.
What must have gone through his mind? What would go through mine? Would God’s declaration overwhelm me with grief for their loss? Would doubt creep in that He would really preserve only Joshua and me after a forty-year stench of death? Would I secretly hope that the clock might begin running right away so I could “get mine” as quickly as possible?
The Word doesn’t address Caleb’s thoughts at that moment, but I do see his heart forty-five years later in Joshua 14:7–14. The Israelites had finally entered the land, and Caleb received from Joshua the gift of the Hebron region in fulfillment of God’s promise.
Could I carry God’s promise for forty-five years without faith dimming? How about forty-five days? My prayers are filled with requests only He can fulfill, yet I leave the prayer room disappointed if answers don’t come by 8:30. In my expectation of His answers, I must remember that God operates outside time. If He has promised, He will deliver. My faith really ought to have a longer horizon than a pizza delivery guarantee. I’m the one who has set the clock running, knowing exactly when delivery will come. In measuring His faithfulness by my puny timelines, I pay an awful price, losing the ability to wait in expectant faithfulness.
Prayer: O Lord, make me like Caleb. Forgive me for the times I have grown weary in waiting. I trust Your promises, and ask You to change my perspective as I wait. I choose today to take my eyes off the clock and even off the calendar, to simply wait on You.