FAITH TO ENTER GODS PROMISES

Fully Devoted to God

Joshua 14-16

Jerry A Collins

4/17/05

SCC

 

*               Do you have what it takes to go all the way for God?

*               Are you fully committed to drive sin out of your life?

*               Will you determine to finish the work God gives you?

 

Dr. Paul Brand, died at 89 in 2003, raised in India in missionary family, foremost Dr on leprosy in the world, writes of his mother in book in his image when at 75 serving India for a lifetime already, still walking miles every day, visiting villages, teaching of Christ, she fell and broke her hip. 2 days lying in pain on side of road, some workers found her, makeshift cot for her, placed in jeep 150 mile trip deep rutted roads damaged her bones so severely never completely healed. Dr. Brand visited his mother in mud covered hut much later with 2 bamboo crutches made herself, dragging feet behind her since losing all feeling in them. He suggested she retire. What value is that? If preserve my body few more years and it not be used for God what value is that? So she kept working, riding her donkey to villages until 93 yrs. Since she kept falling off of donkey, she would be propped up against walls and people visiting her would hear gospel from this dear old lady until she died at 95. Joshua 14 records the same kind of dogged devotion to fully follow the Lord in life of Caleb. In every episode of his life, we see a man fully devoted to God. We see that in his decision-making. We hear that in his testimony. We observe that by his long faithfulness to the Lord. We are going to learn what it means to be fully devoted to God as we study this passage.

1. FULLY FOLLOWING GOD IS THE FRUIT OF CONVICTION 14

That is, the unshakeable belief in fully following God without the need for proof or evidence that it is necessary for me to do so! Without that, you will never fully follow God in your life. Calebs example reveals this to be true. It will not happen unless it becomes a conviction.

Caleb had faith in the power of God 1-9

1-5 with record of Moses allotment of land to 2 tribes in chp 13, account turns to distribution of remaining 9 tribes. Twice mentioned that Levi will receive no inheritance as in chp 13 Lord had instructed that tribes to receive territory proportionate to its population with casting of lots determining location and boundaries. Of course, this not a blind chance thing, since Prov 16:33 says every decision by lots is from the Lord. So the people would know that the Lord was proportioning the land. The ensuing inequities of land allotments we know eventually caused some tensions and jealousies amongst the tribes. They should have accepted it as Gods plan and purpose instead. Not as something arbitrary or unfair. God is never unfair in any decision He renders. Our challenge in our walk with God is to believe that He always has my best interest at heart in whatever happens in my life. If not, I will take matters into my own hands and serve what I believe to be my own best interests and get into a lot of trouble on both sides of the grave!

6-9 Just before lots cast, Caleb steps forward in vs 6 to remind Joshua of a promise 45 yrs earlier made to him. Calebs family were not originally part of Israel and outside of the covenant God made with them. So his faith was not hereditary but the fruit of conviction. A conviction he had displayed all of his life. Twice Caleb testifies that I followed the Lord my God fully. It all came to a head on that never to be forgotten day 45 yrs earlier when he and Joshua stood against the other 10 spies and the mob around them. When the spies and the peoples fears threatened rebellion against Moses, these 2 urged the people to trust God instead and go enter the land. Calebs leadership earned him Gods favor and a promise of a special reward (Num 14:24) and now he wants to receive it. While the 10 magnified the problem while minimizing God, Caleb never minimized the problemgiants and fortified citiesbut he magnified the power of God. To him, God was greater than the biggest problem. He did not follow the crowd and never considered compromising to get a majority report. Instead, he followed God fully!

Caleb had faith in the promises of God 10-11

He reminisced about Gods faithfulness to him over many years. (1) Affirmed God kept him alive past 45 yrs as He had promised. (2) That he would someday inherit territory he had so bravely explored near city of Hebron. But 45 yrs a long time to wait for this pledge and a long time for faith to live on a promise (Heb 11)! Yet Caleb did wait thru weary years of wilderness wandering, demanding years of conquest. All along had strong faith in Gods promise that sustained him in difficulty to this very moment! Even at this age he felt the vigor of 40 yrs not 85 vs 11.

Caleb had faith in the presence of God 12-15

His speech now concludes with astounding request. At 85 mite think time for cabin near quiet lake with long porch, garden and swing. But he requested the same piece of real estate that had struck fear into hearts of 10 spies. Caleb was ready for one more tough battle. A foreboding task, not because of pride in own ability but believing God would be with him, he had faith in the presence of God! And he did drive the giants out 15:13-19. So he received this blessing from Joshua and received the land title. This was not just a giant or two but a city of giants or region of giants vs 15 (Arba named as part of the city) showing what the conviction of faith in Gods power, promises and presence can mean with respect to the land yet to be possessed by the tribes! Altho we will never follow God perfectly, we can choose to follow him fully! Making the basic decision in our lives to fully follow Christ. This will not happen in a vacuum but agreeing with Gods Word we are convinced of Gods power, looking to His greatness not our problems, of his promises, looking to His Word not our circumstances, of His presence, looking to His ability not depending upon my own!

2. DONT COMPROMISE BUT CONQUER WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF YOU 15-16

Two events unfold in this chapter: 13-19 Caleb drives out the giants and possesses his inheritance. He offers a challenge to give his daughter in marriage to one who conquers and captures a city. Othniel, Calebs nephew does it. Then his daughter comes later to ask for springs to water their land. (1) Caleb took possession of the land and drove out enemies. He was obedient. (2) He motivated others to do the sameto be obedient. (3) Involved in finding suitable husband for daughter. (4) He helped them get started in their marriage. (5) Available and approachable for daughter to come with request to him. Once again it is family that is seen as the basic unit of society like heads of households in chp 14.

20ff is allotment of land to tribe of Judah who could not drive out the Jebusites in Jerusalem. Contrasted with one person, this tribe compromised and their inheritance has an ominous and foreboding note with it.

Chp 16 Here is the inheritance of tribe of Ephraim. They also were not able to drive our the Canaanites from their territory vs 10. Motivated by materialistic and financial designs, they put the Canaanites under tribute to gain additional wealth. This roved to be a fatal mistake for this arrangement became reversed during judges when Canaanites rebelled and enslaved Israelites. It is all too easy for us to tolerate and excuse some pet sin only to wake up with grim realization that it has taken possession of us and brings defeat. Must never compromise but deal decisively, harshly, completely. (1) Interesting that in every compromise, 2 tribes on east side, Judahs inability and Ephraims compromise brought defeatwhile contrasted with individual who conquered with full conviction Lord wins. God looks for a person. (2) Dont justify friendship with world by saying I do not serve it, it serves me. You cannot make sin serve you. It will always destroy you. Instead devote yourself fully to God!