Daybreak: Joshua 14:1-15
“Now therefore give me this mountain whereof the Lord spake in that day; . . . if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said.” (Joshua 14:12)
Abraham Lincoln spoke the following words as he was leaving Springfield, Illinois, to begin his first Presidential term:
“Today I leave you. I go to assume a task more difficult than that which devolved [transferred or delegated] upon General Washington. Unless the great God who assisted him shall be with and aid me, I must fail; but if the same Omniscient Mind and Almighty Arm that directed and protected him shall guide and support me, I shall not fail, I shall succeed. Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake us now. To Him I commend you all. Permit me to ask that with equal sincerity and faith you will invoke His wisdom and guidance for me.”
President Lincoln fully understood the awesome task before him: steering a nation divided on the practice of slavery. He felt a divine instruction to bring about justice in place of bondage. His love of liberty was not just for a few, but for every soul under his jurisdiction. Also, his decision to move forward with the charted course was a clear directive, not a matter of committee discussion.
The Israelites were directed to be strong and very courageous, and to go in and possess the land. As they did, God promised He would be with them (chapter 1). In the devotional focus verse above, we see Caleb’s complete confidence in God. At the age of forty, he was promised Mount Hebron as part of his inheritance, because he wholly followed the Lord. Now at eighty-five years of age, he had not forgotten this. Caleb did not care if the Anakims were there or if the cities were great and fenced. What would possess an old man to try to take a mountain? Caleb trusted God! He knew that the Israelites were directed, with God’s promised presence, to be strong and very courageous, and to go in and possess the land. He knew that “one plus God” is a majority, and if the Lord was with Him, he was assured of victory. Since God had directed them to drive out the heathen and inhabit the Promised Land, Caleb’s confidence lay in the power of the Lord and not in his own strength. He trusted God to give him his promised inheritance, no matter what the obstacles were.
Christians have an inheritance promised by God — a home in Heaven for eternity with our Savior. We are encouraged to claim our inheritance, though the wait seems long and obstacles loom large. Let us place our confidence in God and prevail against surrounding darkness, then lay claim to riches and rest in Christ. We, like Caleb, can say, “give me this mountain!” Through faith and patience, we will inherit what God has promised.
After wandering in the wilderness for forty years and witnessing the hand of God at work in the defeat of Jericho, the time had come to “enter in” and divide up the Land of Canaan. Joshua, together with Eleazar, the priest, and a representative from each tribe, determined the inheritance of each tribe by casting lots.
The term inheritance was used more than fifty times in chapters 13 through 21 to refer to the Land of Canaan, the “Promised Land.” The people did not gain the land as spoils of war, nor did they purchase it. God retained ownership, and allowed them to live in the land, but they were not permitted to sell it permanently. Since God was the final authority, there essentially was a landlord/tenant relationship between God and the Israelites in Canaan.
On the west side of the Jordan, Caleb was the first to receive his allotment. Caleb was at least twenty years older than anyone else in the nation of Israel with the exception of Joshua. He had been forty when the judgment was passed limiting entrance into the Promised Land to those twenty years of age and younger, plus the two “good” spies. His age certainly gave him a higher rank among the Children of God. However, the primary reason Caleb was dealt his inheritance first was because of his unshakable belief in God’s promises. Forty-five years prior to this, only he and Joshua, out of the twelve spies, had believed they were able to go in and take the land, and as a result they had been promised an inheritance in Canaan. When it was time to distribute the land, he was ready to claim that promise.
Caleb’s health had not waned during his years in the wilderness. He still had the same strength for war, and physical stamina to labor as he had in the day he was sent as one of the twelve spies. In this passage, Caleb asked for mountains to climb and the greatly-feared giant sons of Anak to conquer. His eagerness to claim his portion was not selfishness, but rather enthusiasm for the work God had given them to do.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The land divided
C. The apportionment of Canaan
1. Introduction (14:1-5)
2. The assignment to Caleb (14:6-15)
a. The request (14:6-12)
b. The provision (14:13-15)
A Closer Look
- Which tribes remained on the east side of Jordan?
- In what ways did God show His faithfulness to Caleb?
- How can you claim the spiritual territory God has waiting for you just as the Israelites claimed the Promised Land?
Take note that God, not Joshua, is the primary individual in this book. He led, guided, protected, and enabled the Children of Israel at every turn on their way to the Promised Land. Similarly, we have His full attention on our journey to our promised land. As long as we trust Him and faithfully follow His leading, we have the assurance of His presence.