Thought for the Month- February 2018
CHARACTER STUDY - CALEB
Character studies seem to have been of particular interest and help to me over the many years of my Christian life, highlighting weaknesses and even failures but thankfully providing challenges and encouragements. Could I therefore share with you as we progress into 2018 my gleanings from this lovely character.
Caleb’s name means “Wholehearted” and since we find many direct references as to how he expressed this in the sections of Scripture where he is faced with difficulties and challenges he never wavered in his loyalty to the command and promise given by God to spy out the land. The first reference to Caleb is in Numbers ch.13 where identified as a ruler/head of Judah he is now responsible to go forward with the 11 others selected to spy out the land. Later in v30, where, what must be considered a true reflection of his character, we are told “And Caleb stilled/calmed the people before Moses”. While the background to this verse is well known and aptly expressed in the children’s chorus “twelve men went to spy in Caanan, ten were bad two were good” it was a challenge to me to consider both the attitude and the odds Joshua and Caleb faced along with the death threats. It is difficult to read these verses and not feel the weight of the challenge faced in the many circumstances of life we may have to face.
The sequel to the confrontation with the ten spies and the subsequent defeat of the majority, we can move to the conquest of Caanan and the division of the land. Moses has died and Joshua has been identified as Israel’s new leader. It always intrigued me that there never was any complaint or resistance on the part of Caleb to the leadership passing him by and given to his friend and companion Joshua. We move now to the task undertaken by Joshua to apportion the land to the different tribes.
In the conversation between Joshua and Caleb in respect of the portion to be allotted to Caleb we learn some remarkable things. We learn on his own admission he is now 85 years of age, suggesting without accuracy that Caleb had left Egypt when he was late thirties and now 40 years in the wilderness and allowing another 5 years he now stands before Joshua. I have been somewhat fascinated by the statement/request Caleb makes “Give me this Mountain” perhaps we can look at this in the future DV.