“…but I wholly followed the Lord my God” (Joshua 14:8)

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(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God” (Joshua 14:8).

These are the words of Caleb the son of Jephunneh, one of the 2 spies, who brought a good report about the land of Canaan. He is quoting from Moses’s words to him: “… Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God” (there verse 9). Joshua is blessing him: “Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh… because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel (there verse 14).

Caleb was whole in his faith to God. He had a full confidence in God’s faithfulness and His promises. Joshua and Caleb saw in the land the giants and the fortified cities, like the other spies but even though, they didn’t let a doubt to come into their heart and to disrupt their faith. They were in the minority, but full of faith, with courage and firmness and faithfully and fully completed the task assigned to them. They were not affected by what they saw, but trusted God, and knew God will give them the land, as he had promised. They were whole and complete in their belief in God and therefore they entered into the promised land.

This teaching is for us today, because: “… For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Only through whole faith we will be desirable to God, only through whole faith we will enter the Kingdom of God. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). 

Our faith is tested through trials and the test brings us to patient, the patient will bring us to be whole and complete. The Word of God says: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). 

Joshua and Caleb waited patiently and with faith and saw the fulfilment of God’s promise. Out of the 12 spies, only they entered into the promise land, because they knew that He is faithful to His promises: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Heb. 10:23). 

These two spies are a good example for us today. “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct” (Heb. 13:7). They trusted God with a whole heart. However, the ten spies heard and knew the promise of God and understood their mission, but were double minded. They didn’t trust God and reported as to what they saw out of fear and not out of faith. They not only failed in their mission themselves, but also failed the people. “Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt” (Joshua 14:8).

To be “wholly followed the Lord God”, means – to be mature in faith, to believe in God with a whole heart and not with double minded heart. When we ask, for instance, wisdom, with faith and without doubt, we shall get it! But, if we ask out of doubt and without confidence in God, God’s Word says: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea … For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8).

James in His epistle chapter 4:8-10 guides us: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. 

Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up”. Surrender to God is – to be depended on Him fully! It is – to lean on Him in every situation. It is – to ask for His help in a time of need and to believe He will answer our prayers. That means, not trusting ourselves, not in our wisdom and not in our strength. 

Because: “Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord” (Jer. 9:23-24). 

Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, is an example for a king who didn’t trust in his strength, even he had a great army (one million, hundred and sixty thousands soldiers). (2 Chron. 17:14-18).

When three armies (Amon, Moab and Edom) came over him (2 Chron. 20), he is gathering the people of Judah, is calling for a fast and seeking God’s face. He is declaring in chapter 20: 12: “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You. And the result – the LORD is speaking through a prophet and is saying: “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you. (there verse 17). Jehoshaphat didn’t trust in his strength and wisdom, but leaned on God and therefore the LORD gave him the victory over his enemies.

One of our tasks, as believers in the Body of Messiah is – to strengthen and to build the faith of our weak brothers, to encourage and also to convict when needed. All this in Messiah’s love and wisdom. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). 

We will still see and experience difficult events coming upon this world and this season has already started. More times of persecution, false accusations, hatred, and rejection will come, when we will speak the truth…

In these times our faith is tested. “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 peter 4:12-13). By the grace of God we will overcome the tests which will come over us with victory and will be ready to meet our Lord with joy face to face.

In these times, of the end of the end-times, we must lean more than ever upon God’s Word and not upon people’s words, so we will not fail and will not fail others, as did the ten spies.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).

Amen!!!