Let us consider a man with extraordinary faith. Faith that enabled him to claim a mountain, and continue killing giants. Perhaps we will be encouraged by his faith, and God may open our eyes to what He wants to do in our life.
The Conquest of Canaan continues in Joshua 10:28. Here we find the battle continuing that was begun on the longest day in earth’s history. The day the God made the sun stand still. The Southern Conquest continues. Then in Joshua 11 we find that the Northern Conquest takes place when some kings think they can take Joshua and his men out. Even though they have superior forces and weapons, they are no match for the God of Jehovah. In Joshua 11: 6 God gives special instructions to Joshua. He tells him to hough the horses. The Hebrew word is עָקַר (ʿāqar). Modern translators use the word “hamstrung”.
What does it mean to hough a horse?
Houghing the horses is done by cutting the sinews and arteries of their hinder legs, so that they not only become hopelessly lame, but bleed to death. The reasons for this special command were that the Lord designed to lead the Israelites to trust in Him, not in military resources (Ps 20:7); to show that in the land of promise there was no use of horses; and, finally, to discourage their travelling as they were to be an agricultural, not a trading, people.—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Why did God give this strange command? After all, the Jews could benefit from having horses. They would make them stronger and more effective fighters. Joshua was destroying the enemy and the enemies devices for war, but they were to rely on GOD for their Victory, not their own abilities. Furthermore, God had called the Jews to possess Canaan, to enjoy the bounty of her soil. He wanted them to settle down, not continue traveling, which horses would have encouraged. Horses would have also encourage trade, and open the Jews to the influences of the world, influences that God was having them destroy. Horses could also fall into enemy hands. No, God had specific reasons for hamstringing the horses. God wanted them to obey and not question His instructions. God wanted them to rely wholly upon Him. This is the lesson from Caleb. Caleb is in stark contrast to the Jews who perished in the wilderness. They were hamstrung because of their unbelief, because of the influence of Egypt. Caleb represented man in the FULLNESS of God’s Strength, man unhindered by the world, by Satan, because Caleb WHOLLY FOLLOWED GOD!
So the subject of being Hamstrung applies to our own walk with Christ. God wants us to know the strength of following Him, a strength and vitality that Caleb experienced throughout his life. While the rest of the Jewish men were dying in the wilderness, Caleb remained strong and vibrant. He is a picture of what Christ promises to all those who follow Him. He promised an Abundant Life. Instead of walking victoriously, and hamstringing our enemies, we are often hamstrung by the accusations of Satan.
SATAN IS OUR ACCUSER
Satan is an Accuser in this age of grace. His work is to accuse the brethren, to cause defeat and discouragement to loom over our lives. He does not want us to see and know and revel in the power of God to bring victory! When the accusations of Satan become so large that we are defeated, we are allowing our failures and transgressions to become GIANTS that block our seeing Him who is invisible. Satan’s accusations cause us to focus on our failures and inadequacies rather than on the AWESOME POWER OF ALMIGHTY GOD! We must not allow Satan to Hamstring us!
The greatest day in the history of the world is described in Revelation 12:10: “the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” 1 John 3:8 assures us that Jesus Christ came for this purpose: “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus rendered Satan POWERLESS. He hamstrung Satan. There is no reason a born again Christian should listen to Satan’s accusations, or be defeated by his wiles. Satan has been rendered powerless. We must learn to focus upon the POWER of GOD in EVERY situation we face.
Joshua 12 lists the conquests of Moses and Joshua. Joshua 13 – Joshua Is Getting Old, Time to Divide the Land. Joshua 14 – Time for Caleb to Collect
Notice especially Joshua 14:6-15
What Kind of Man Was Caleb?
Numbers 14:24 (KJV) But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
How do you recognize someone with “another spirit”? The Hebrew pictures an “excellent spirit or wind”. It has the meaning of BREATH. Caleb was a breath of fresh air, that cool gentle breeze in the midst of a scorching desert. One who has “another spirit” is one whose spirit is in touch with God, regardless of the heat of the situation you face. One who has another spirit is like the mighty tree whose leaves do not wilt no matter how severe the heat and drought become. You know someone has another spirit:
- When your spirit is in touch with God!
- When you see and believe God is
- When God’s Spirit within you is influencing your 5 other senses-sight, touch, smell, hearing, seeing.
Caleb looked at the same things the other 10 spies looked at, yet he ran everything through his “GOD SENSE”. Sure, those giants were huge. Sure the walls were high and thick, but Caleb wasn’t controlled by his physical senses. He was controlled by his God-Sense. He knew God would give them the victory. Caleb had another spirit, an excellent spirit, and it controlled his life, gave him a fountain of youth, gave him a faith that was remarkable. If you are in the majority, as were the 604,998 other men (between ages of 20 & 60) that day, you will look at problems with only your five senses, and you will have three reactions:
Defeat & Discouragement
Numbers 14:1-The people wailed and wept.
Oh no, mudpreacher, I don’t do that. No, but perhaps you show it in another way. Instead of openly showing your defeat and discouragement, you internalize it. You give up on believing God. You give up on having any enthusiasm for God. Your resolve is diminished, your shoulders become stooped over a bit more, your work for the Lord becomes less and less.
Another way is you limit what you will do for the Lord. Serving others, being a friend, helping people, you are all into that. But doing anything that is outside your comfort zone, even asking friends if they know for certain they will live with God in eternity, no, that is too difficult. You end up doing just enough to be considered a good Christian, but Satan has taken the joy of your salvation away. He has you in that mediocre walk, that walk that does not impact the giants and problems that you will face.
Numbers 14:2-the people murmured
Spirit is breath. The words you speak reveal the spirit of your heart. Words of encouragement, words of joy, words of praise, words of hope, trust, these are the BREATH of another spirit. Words of complaint, murmuring, disgust, impatients, negative these reflect a wrong spirit, a self-sense spirit.
Fail to Believe God
Numbers 14:9 Only rebel not, neither fear
What most people don’t understand, is that failure to believe what God has said is actually rebellion against God. Fearing the enemy when He has told you that you will have victory is slapping God in the face and saying I don’t believe you. You are allowing your flesh, your senses to override what God’s Word says. Ignorance of God’s Word is just as much rebellion as out and out disobedience.
You are in rebellion to God if you ever find yourself saying:
- I know I should but…
- He knows my heart…
- He made me this way so…
- I’m not hurting anyone…
- I need my sleep…
- Just this one time won’t hurt…
Anytime you offer up an excuse for not doing what His Word is telling you to do is REBELLION. Anytime you offer up an excuse for doing something contrary to what His Word is telling you is REBELLION.
CALEB FOLLOWED THE LORD FULLY
God doesn’t enjoy halfway Christians. He delighted in Caleb because he followed the Lord “fully”, “wholly”. The phrase is actually two Hebrew words: ʾaḥar – the hind part, behind,and mālâ, to be filled up. God used mālâ to describe the earth when it was filled up with violence (Gen 6:13) Elijah used it to tell the widow women to fill up the vessels with oil. 2 Kings 4:6
Caleb was filled up with the hind part of God. He kept so close! He had another spirit! He was always going “I’m on your Six, Boss!” (as Tony DiNozzo tells his N.C.I.S. boss, Leroy Jethro Gibbs). To be filled with the Spirit of God means you are so dependent upon Him he can’t shake you! You are in his rear view mirror all the time! Like you’ve jumped on his back and nothing can shake you off!
Caleb was a Man of EXTRAORDINARY Faith
- Carrying Faith
- Climbing Faith
- Conquering Faith
I. CARRYING Faith
Joshua 14:10-11 (KJV) And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
There are certain memories that you always have. Caleb would always remember those grapes. He would always remember the sweetness of the juice, the way they exploded in his mouth, juice running down his beard. He was so excited to taste the bounties of the promised land. For two years they had been eating manna and quail. Now this! He wanted it so badly. He wanted this land. Joshua and Caleb just had to show the people, so they cut down a cluster of grapes so large it took both of them to carry. They just knew the people would get excited about this wonderful land God wanted to give them. He could hardly believe his ears as the people listened to the descriptions of the giants and the walled cities. Can’t you see these grapes! Can’t you see that God is with us. Instead, the people decided to listen to the 10 rather than the 2. They let their fears, their apathy, their unbelief rule their wills. They decided not to go into the land.
Caleb had Carrying Faith. Faith that could carry his soul the next 45 years. Faith that could carry his family. Faith that could keep his spirit on the back of God, even though all those around him were complaining, murmuring, ignoring the power of God. Caleb had another spirit in Him, That spirit gave him faith that carried him through any discouraging situation. During those forty years I suppose that there were many chances for Caleb to become discouraged, to think he would never see the Promised Land again. After all, his friends were dropping like flies. The complaining continued, the manna continued. I can imagine everyday would say to Caleb, “Oh, brother Caleb, isn’t it terrible out here in this wilderness! It is so hot — it’s 118 degrees today!” But Caleb was a man of another spirit. He had another focus. He had GOD SENSE controlling his vision! Caleb would say, “I really hadn’t noticed. I guess it is pretty warm, but I was thinking about those grapes of Eschol that I saw. And I was thinking about the city of Hebron. Our father Abraham liked that place, and I like it. That’s where I am going.”
Caleb, even in the wilderness, could think of the future. He had a great hope. It kept him young. Those forty years in the wilderness killed off the rest of the crowd, but they didn’t do a thing to him but make him healthy. They grew old, and he grew young. The giants in the Promised Land made the others tremble — they thought of themselves as grasshoppers. But Caleb thought of God. There was freedom from fear in the heart of this man. As Martin Luther said, “One with God is a majority.” God was bigger than the giants.
Look at John 15:7-12
If you are lacking in carrying faith, perhaps you are not centering your life upon the right things. Jesus said to abide in Him, and you will have fruit and joy and love. But the basis for that abiding is obedience, obedience to his commands. What are you disobeying Jesus Christ in? Is your love for Him full? Is your Joy in Him full? Then you are disobeying Christ, and you will not have faith to carry you through the storms of life. Instead of feasting on the monster fruit of God, you are starving on Gerber’s processed baby food. How is your Love for God, How is your Enthusiasm for God, How is your Spirit for God? Are you Following Him WHOLLY! Do You Have Carrying Faith? Are your Carrying anyone Closer to God!
II. CLIMBING Faith
Joshua 14:12 (KJV) Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day…
Caleb is now eighty-five years old, and yet he can say that he is as strong as the day Moses sent him into Canaan as a spy! What he was really saying is that he was still able to tackle any problem same as when he was a young man. His power from God had not diminished, in fact, if anything, he had grown stronger! Most people when they get older, look forward to retiring. They don’t want the stairs anymore, the two stories. They want everything on one level. They want to live in the valley. They don’t want anything too difficult.
When Caleb stepped forward to claim any land he wanted, he chose Hebron. He chose the Hebron mountain area, about 3500 feet above sea level. Why? Because he wasn’t through climbing in his life. He had not accomplished all his goals. He was still pressing upward for the prize of the high calling in Jesus Christ.
Caleb reminds me of Adoniram Judson, the missionary who spent twelve years in Burma without a convert. The board that sent him out didn’t sense the situation nor what a tremendous missionary they had in Judson; so they wrote him a very diplomatic letter, suggesting that he should come home. They asked him what the prospects in Burma were for the future. His reply was, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” His confidence in God was the reason he could stay in the wilderness of Burma all those years. Although he suffered a great deal and it took a long time for revival to break out, it finally did. His time was well spent. Today, in Burma, there are Christians thriving becasue of the work of Adoniram Judson. In 2013 they will have a huge 200th anniversary celebration.
Are you enjoying all the spiritual blessings that God has for you today? You say, “I have lots of trouble.” I know that Christians have many troubles in the course of their lives. My heart goes out to them. But I always think of the testimony of a wise old saint who said his favorite Bible verse was, “It came to pass.” When puzzled people asked him what he meant by that, he replied, “When I get into trouble and problems pile up, I turn to my verse and know my troubles have not come to stay; they have come to pass.” We can complain all day long, but that will only hamstring our walk. We need to focus on God, His Hope for us, His Future for us! These things will pass! Our Victory is Promised!
Caleb for forty years followed fully the Lord his God. Everyone else around him was dropping dead, was complaining, getting bit by snakes, getting swallowed by the earth, but old Caleb kept on following fully his Lord. He was thinking about going mountain climbing. He was still pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus!
In this life you are either running a winning race or you are falling down in the wilderness.
1 Corinthians 10:1-11 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
There are five reasons why we are overcome in the wilderness: we lust after evil things, we have idols before God, we commit fornication, we tempt Christ (fail to Honor Him), we murmur. These all could have infected the spirit of Caleb. These all could have overcome him in his walk toward the blessing of God, but NO, Caleb had ANOTHER SPIRIT, He Had God Sense, He focused on Him who is INVISIBLE, but ALL POWERFUL!
Caleb kept on drinking from the Rock. He kept on thinking about those grapes. He kept on thinking about his land. He looked forward to climbing. After all, He was on the Boss’s Six!
- Do you still have goals for Christ?
- Are you still climbing towards him,
- Or are you coasting, getting by, just doing what you have to.
Watch out. If you are not climbing, you will get overthrown.
Caleb followed God fully. This is why Caleb chose Hebron.
Hebron means fellowship, it means fullness, and it means fruitfulness. So Caleb was saying, “Joshua, I want that mountain that represents fellowship with God; I want to walk with God. I want that mountain that represents fullness; I want everything that God has for my life. I know there are some giants left, but that is no problem when I am on the back of God!
Have you heard of the man who was mountain-climbing in the American Rockies, along a very rugged track. Suddenly he slipped, falling over a cliff. He grabbed the roots of a tree and hung there. When he got his breath back he looked down and saw an enormous drop. If he fell, he’d certainly be killed. Looking up, the cliff top was so far above him he couldn’t climb back. In desperation, although he knew he was alone, he cried out ‘Is anyone up there?’ He was startled to hear a booming voice say ‘Yes!’ ‘Can you help me?’ ‘Yes’ came the response. ‘What must I do?’ The voice answered ‘Let go!’. There was a long pause, then finally the man called out ‘Is anybody else up there?’
Someday we will be rewarded. We will not be rewarded according to the great amount of work done for God, nor according to our prominence and popularity. The important thing will be — did we wholly follow the Lord?
Oh, that God’s people would learn today that the most important thing in this life is to wholly follow the Lord! Caleb, man of God that he was, took Hebron. There were giants there, but he said, “That’s the place I want. That’s the very best spot!” Oh, that you and I might keep climbing toward the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
III. Conquering Faith
Why did a man 85 years old pick a place like Hebron? It was mountainous, it was rocky, it was controlled by not just one giant, but by his three giant sons. But that was why he wanted Hebron. He wanted to PROVE the POWER of GOD! “Bring them on,” says Caleb. “They’re no match for the LORD!” Forty-five years before he had promised, “Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us” (Numbers 14:9). Now he had a chance to prove it as leader of “the men of Judah”. The giants represent the enemies of Conquest, and Caleb is ready for them
Fear looks at the problems, faith claims the opportunities. Caleb had GOD SENSE! Sure the giants are big, their strength superhuman, their reputation terrifying. We may be like grasshoppers, but there is none mightier than EL GIBBOR! Faith filters every giant through the Power of God! There is no trick to Conquering Faith. If you believe Jesus saved you by His blood and He lives in your life, then you have experienced conquering faith.
In Luke 17 Jesus says we should forgive someone who sins against us seven times in one day! The disciples ask – reasonably enough we might think – for more faith to do this. Jesus brushes off the request, saying, in effect, ‘What you need isn’t more faith, but using the faith you already have! Your problem isn’t faith or the lack of it, but obedience!’
To grow stronger, you don’t need a muscle transplant, but to exercise the muscles you have! Trust and obey says the old hymn – and it’s still true. They think of possibilities. Just as Augustine wrote the biography of sin in four words: a thought, a form, a fascination, a fall, so faith begins with your thoughts of faith. We need to exercise our GOD SENSE and see His Power. We need to believe His PROMISES! We must unite our FAITH with the VISION of GOD ALMIGHTY! We must BREATH ANOTHER SPIRIT through our lives: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Phil.4:13). “I am more than a Conqueror through Him who loves me!” (Rom 8:37)
See What Caleb Did at 85: “From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites — Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai — descendants of Anak” (Joshua 15:14).
Why does the Scripture give their names? Because their names were well known; the giants were what legends are made of. You only name great opponents, and these giants were great enemies with great reputations to match. But Caleb fearlessly drove them out. Doubtless the story was told again and again around the campfires, “Do you remember when Caleb….”
Just How Big were the sons of ANAK?
Caleb said in Numbers: “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us:
- Caleb said, these giants won’t be the means of our defeat but of our growth. We’re gonna eat their lunch! He bellied up to the table and said, please pass the Anakim, Breakfast of Champions!
- Why did your momma make you eat your spinach? Because it was good for you. “But I don’t want to!” But you should, it will make you strong. God says, eat your Anakim!
- We need heroes. We need to know those who have gone before and have conquered the giants of life.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith….” (Hebrews 12:1-2a, KJV)
You can view life as a stumbling block or a stepping stone.
Dr. Paul Brand, (Pioneering physician in the field of leprosy), was raised in India. His parents were missionaries there. In his book, “In His Image,” he writes about his mother.
His mother, Evie “Granny” Brand had just lost her husband. Their mission term was up for renewal. A widow, 68, she was seeking another term. She actually took no support from the organization, becasue she lived off an inheritance. But the board said it made no sense to appoint a sixty-eight year old woman to another five year term.
Evie did not see it that way. Years ago, she and her husband Jesse had vowed to reach five mountain ranges with the gospel. Four still had to be reached. Evie felt that God intended for her to fulfill that vow. She saw one last chance. “Please just send me back for one year,” she pleaded. “I promise not to make any more trouble. At the end of one year I will retire.”
Reluctantly the board agreed. Had they known Evie’s secret plan, they would surely have refused. When her year with the mission ended, fellow missionaries gathered to wish her goodbye. Then came the shocker. Evie gleefully informed them that she was retiring from the mission– retiring to take up independent work in the mountains. She would fulfill the promise that she and Jesse had undertaken years before. Protests and warnings fell on deaf ears.
Rejoicing, seventy-year-old Evie began to fulfill Jesse’s dream. Everyone called her “Granny,” now, but she felt young. She traveled from village to village, riding a hill pony, camping, teaching, and dispensing medicine. She rescued abandoned children. The work was hard because her body was thin now. Life became even more difficult when she was dropped by her carriers and whacked her head on a rock. She never completely recovered her balance after that. She took to walking with bamboo canes in her hands. Yet the face that she turned upon the world was full of joy and laughter. “Praise God!” she exclaimed continually.
Despite broken bones and fevers, she labored on. In fifteen years, she almost eradicated Guinea worm from the Kalryan range. (Guinea worms grow several feet long under a person’s skin.) Through her efforts, the five ranges were evangelized, and a mission work planted on each. She added two more ranges. “Extraordinary,” said people. Granny insisted it was all God’s doing.
Whether on her mountains or off, she proclaimed Christ. In a hospital with a broken hip, she scooted on a carpet from room to room and talked to the other patients. She painted landscapes for them. Her bones knit in record time and back she went to the mountains to fight marijuana growers. Her son Paul visited her and found her looking not older but younger. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”
When she was 75 years old, she was still walking miles every day, visiting the villages in the southern part of India, teaching the people about Jesus. One day, at age 75, she was travelling alone & fell & broke her hip. After two days of just lying there in pain, some workers found her & put her on a makeshift cot & loaded her into their jeep & drove 150 miles over deep rutted roads to find a doctor who could set the broken bones.
But the very bumpy ride damaged her bones so badly that her hip never completely healed.
Paul Brand wrote: “I visited my mother in her mud-covered hut several weeks after all of this happened. I watched as she took two bamboo crutches that she had made herself, & moved from one place to another with her feet just dragging behind because she had lost all feeling in them.”
He said, “At age 75, with a broken hip, unable to stand on her own two legs, I thought that I made a pretty intelligent suggestion. I suggested that she retire.” He said, “She turned around & looked at me & said, `What value is that? If we try to preserve this body just a few more years & it is not being used for God, of what value is that?’”
So she kept on working. She kept on riding her donkey to villages until she was 93 years old. At age 93 she couldn’t stay on her donkey anymore. She kept falling off. But she didn’t stop preaching. Indian men would carry her in hammocks from one village to another. And she continued to tell people about Jesus Christ until she died at age 95.
Paul Brand writes, “My most vivid memory of my mother is of her propped up against a stone wall as people are coming to her from their homes, schools, & places of work. I can still see the wrinkles in her face, & her skin so tanned by the weather & the heat. “I saw her speaking to those people. I looked at them & saw the sparkle in their eyes, & the smiles on their faces. And I saw them deeply moved by the message of God’s love, spoken by this old woman. I knew what they saw was not an old woman who had passed her prime, but a beautiful person bringing tidings of love straight from heaven.”
When her son, Paul visited her in the mountains, he found her looking younger. Her smile, brighter than ever, made the difference. “This is how to grow old,” he wrote. “Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love.”
Granny tore some ligaments and had to go to the plains for treatment. Before she could return to her beloved mountains, her speech became jumbled and her memory failed. Seven days later, on this day, December 18th, 1974, she died. The next day her body was taken back to the hills and laid beside Jesse’s while a multitude wept. The woman who had been declared too old for India had carried on for 24 more years, working almost to her day of death.
Are you Wholly Following the Lord God?
We need more Caleb’s. We need Heroes who exercise their God Sense, who can visualize God’s Power, Power to Keep on Carrying, Power to Keep on Climbing, Power to Keep on Conquering!
Would you tell God each and every day “I’m on your six, Boss!”