Posts Tagged ‘Canaan’


As we look at all we have “Because of the Cross”, we need to remember three Principles of the Cross:

1. The Cross is the Wisdom & Power of God.

  • The Cross reveals the Heart of God, His delight in mercy, justice and righteousness.
  • At the Cross we partake of the unfailing love of God, the justice of being made right with God, and the Righteousness that is in Christ whereby we have victory over sin, over Satan and over death.

2. The Cross is opposed to the wisdom and power of man.

  • The cross requires humility. The cross strips man of all rights and powers. The Cross reveals the foolishness of man’s attempts at standing and self-righteousness.
  • Man says to love yourself first, seek for yourself first. Instead of submitting to God’s love, We are our own person, we are OK as we are, we can do as we please as long as we don’t hurt anyone. Instead of submitting to God’s Justice, Man emphasizes your own accomplishments, your own standing, your own right to live as you see fit. Instead of depending upon God for our righteousness, Man emphasizes works, riches, possessions as justification for the way he lives.

3. The Cross represents the Perfect Blood Sacrifice required by God

  • God declared that life is in the blood. The only way for sinful man to enjoy life with Holy God is through a blood sacrifice for our sins. The Cross is that perfect blood sacrifice.

We have seen the Principle of the Cross with Adam and Eve, and how Cain quickly established Man’s wisdom in opposition to the Cross. That Opposition grew until we read:

 Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

So God called Noah to build an ark. God saved His creation by a worldwide flood, and the earth was transformed, and Noah and his family went forth to re-populate the earth. This new world was established with the Principle of the Cross, for Noah took of the clean animals and sacrificed them to God.

Kingdom of Man Rears its Sinful Head (NIMROD)

In the Dispensation of Noah it did not take long for the wisdom and power of man to rear its ugly head in opposition to the Cross. Mighty men came along, led by Nimrod, the mighty hunter of men, and directly opposed God. They built a Tower that was reaching to the heavens, so they could worship themselves and insure a place of refuge should God ever decide to flood the earth again.

God confounded the wisdom and power of man, and the languages of the earth were born, and the kingdom of man became fragmented.

In the face of God’s wisdom and power, man corrupted the Principle of the Cross, and began to sacrifice to gods of their own making. They worshipped ‘idols’ and engaged in religious worship in opposition to the Creator God Jehovah. They offered sacrifices as He demanded, but with hearts devoted to the kingdom of man. They created god’s of their own design, god’s whom they could worship as they chose. The altar of sacrifice had been corrupted by man to honor the god’s of their making, instead of the Making God!

It was among these idol worshippers in the “Ur of the Chaldees” that Jewish tradition has a young man named Abram working in his father’s idol merchant shop. This young man was about to receive a special call for Creator God. This is the beginning of the Patriarch Dispensation.

The Calling of Abram

Genesis 12:1-9 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran (best meaning ‘to tarry’). And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar (mizbeah) to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

We know Ur of the Chaldees was a ‘hotbed’ of idolatry for two reasons:

1. Abraham’s father, Terah according to Joshua 24:2, worshiped idols. Jewish tradition refers to Terah as an idol maker. Ur was an idolatrous city worshiping many different Gods such as the god of fire, moon, sun and stars. Sin was the name of the chief idol deity of Ur. Ningal, was the wife of the moon-god, Sin, and was worshiped as a mother God in many other cities. Ur was a evil and sinful city as can be seen in the worship practices of the moon-goddess, Ningal.[1]

Joshua 24:2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.

2. Ur ‏אור‎, which means flame or fire of the Chaldeans, from the worship practiced there. Scholars say the people of this area were worshippers of fire, and there is evidence of fire sacrifices to various gods.[2]

Abram rejected the many god’s of his father’s, and followed the call of the one and only True God. Abram’s journey to Canaan was marked by humility resulting in the altar of sacrifice. At the Oak of Moreh God appeared to Abram and told Him, “To your offspring I will give this land.”

So which is it: Plains, encampments, oaks or terebinths? Different translations have served to obscure the great truth of this passage.

Plains and encampments, I think, can be dismissed immediately. They do not fit other passages using this expression. They cannot possibly be the correct translation of elonei mamre. That leaves oaks and terebinths. I’ll take oaks.

Here’s why. In the first place, while “oaks” is the oldest translation we have of elonei, “terebinths” is the most recent. The Septuagint rendition may represent a genuine tradition passed down from the time the book of Genesis was composed. Moreover, terebinths, whose small leaves indeed smell a bit like turpentine when crushed, may have an impressive-sounding name, but they are not very impressive in appearance. The terebinth is an evergreen shrub that rarely grows to more than 7 or 8 feet and is found all over Israel. The common Palestinian oak, on the other hand, develops into a tall, stately tree. A whole forest or grove of such trees, now seen in only a few places but less rare in Abraham’s time, is an impressive sight indeed. Certainly these could be a landmark worthy of mention in God’s Word.

Would the Bible have bothered to point out that Abraham was sitting by some perfectly ordinary shrubs? In my thinking, the mighty Oak wins this match against the insignificant terebinth.[3].

Evidently there was a significant tree in a grove of trees at Moreh near Shechem. The Hebrew moreh is derived from the verb yarah, “to teach,” “to direct,” and indicates one who directs, or gives oracular answers.[4]  Picture a place known for receiving direction or oracles from God.

Now it was here that God first appeared to Abram, and confirmed to Abram that this was the land that God was giving him. No doubt Abram had seen the Canaanites, and had seen their vileness and fierceness. Perhaps he doubts were running rampant in his mind, doubts about the voice he had heard calling him. In the midst of those doubts, Abram saw God by that majestic tree. There God renewed His promise to Abram. As soon as God went away, Abram built an altar (place of sacrifice) unto God.

Can you picture Abram, a former idol worshipper, seeing Jehovah God? This was no wood carving, no stone object. Abram saw the Living Creator God. In the presence of God there are no doubts, there is only hope, there is only His love. Abram was so in awe of God that his first reaction was to build an altar and offer a sacrifice to God. Sinful man had met Holy God at the tree. At the tree Abram offered himself to God.

Does that sound like anything familiar to you?

It is before this significant tree that an altar is made, sacrifice performed, and Abram’s life, family and possessions are committed to God’s Promise. Here we see the principle of the Cross in establishing Abram’s possession of the Promised Land.

This appearance of God was significant, for just as God walked with Adam in the cool of the evening, so now God appeared to Abram in the coolness of the shade of the Oak Tree of Moreh. When ever God begins something new, His presence is all over it!

The Oak Tree of Moreh was near Shechem

There are 3 references to the Oak tree(s) of Moreh at Shechem in the Bible. Plus there is one more subtle reference worth noting.

1. Genesis 12:6-7

“Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.”

God called Abram out of the kingdom of the wisdom and power of man. He called Abram out of the land of idols and manmade gods. He called him to a new land, to form a new nation that followed Jehovah, their Creator God. He called Abram to follow God’s wisdom and power, and submit to the principle of the Cross. When Abram saw God, he submitted and sacrificed.

You are familiar with his life. Along this journey Abram made mistakes. He lied, he resorted to following the wisdom and power of man in having a baby boy Ishmael. Still, God blessed him, for God had set His Name upon Abram. Instead of being Abram, his name became Abraham, father of a great nation.

Finally, God gave him that promised son, Isaac. As we will see in later writings, the Principal of the Cross was upon Isaac, and upon Jacob. But for today, we are camping under the Oak of Moreh, near Shechem.

Abraham’s grandson had returned to the idol loving land of his great-grandfather. There he met his wife(s) and labored for his uncle, Laban. Jacob was a man who fit in well with the kingdom of Man. He was crafty, deceitful, proud and boasting. God still blessed him, because God had promised Abraham. God issued a call to Jacob to return to the Promised land, and face his estranged brother Esau. God was there when the brothers met. Jacob and his family were spared the wrath of Esau. And Jacob continued on, making a stop in Shechem.

Genesis 33:18-20 Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel. (Meaning “El, the God of Israel”)

Even though Jacob offered sacrifices to God, the God of Israel, he was still living in the kingdom of man. He was still living by his own wiles. His heart was divided. (Notice he did not say “My God!”) Jacob had to learn a costly lesson before he could go on to the House of God (Bethel). Chapter 34 sees the chastening hand of God upon his Jacob and his family. At Shechem, his daughter Dinah was raped by the prince of the land (Shechem). What follows is deceit upon deceit, as Jacob’s sons plot to avenge their daughter, and the leaders of of Shechem plot to take Jacob’s livestock and possession. In a clever plot indicative of the treachery of their father, the sons of Jacob murder the men of Shechem, plunder their riches and livestock, take the women and children, and bring dishonor upon the house of Jacob.

Genesis 34:30-31 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.” But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”

In Genesis 35 we see that Jacob makes a decision to wholly follow God. Once again, the Oak Tree at Moreh plays a significant role.

2. Genesis 35:4

Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem.

God spells out the problem He had with Jacob. Sure, Jacob professes belief in God, even honoring Him with an altar and sacrifices. But Jacob’s heart was divided. He loved the Kingdom of Man, with its idols and riches. He was a “double-minded” man. His life in the land of idolatry had tainted his already flawed soul. Jacob and his sons were even dressing like the idol loving people of the land, thus the reference to the “rings in their ears” and their garments.

Bethel was the “House of God” Bethel was the place of God that Abram pitched his tent, built an altar of sacrifice to God, and where he called upon the Name of the Lord! There is salvation in the House of God!

Genesis 12:8 Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD.

God appeared to Abram, and he sacrificed to God. He continued on to Bethel, in the heart of Canaan, and pitched his tent, and called upon the Name of the Lord. You can almost see the progression of his heart. He answers the call of God, yet decides to tarry a while in Haran. After the death of his father, he decides to move to Canaan, and stops at Shechem. There he sees his Creator God. He submits and sacrifices. But you get the feeling he is not all in yet. But he travels further into Canaan, and decides to pitch his tent on a hillside at Bethel, the House of God. Abram has made a decision. He is all in. There is no turning back. His tent is pitched, and He cries out to God!

We see the Principle of the Cross at work in his life, and we will see why he did what he did with Isaac next week.

As with Abram, God called Jacob to come to a place of decision. What will Jacob do? Will he come to God with everything, depend upon God for everything? Is he ready to forsake the crafty kingdom of Man and give himself 100% to Jehovah God? There is no use going to Bethel if your heart is divided. God is a jealous God. He wants all of us. Jacob can’t deceive God like he did his father, like he did Laban. God could see Jacob’s heart, that it was divided.

He can offer as many sacrifices to God as he wants, but unless his heart is given 100% to God, it does no good. This is what God means when He says it is better to obey than to sacrifice.

Here at Shechem, in spite of the pain of his heart over Dinah and his sons, Jacob makes a decision to follow God fully. He and his household obeyed God and put all of the idols and their precious possessions at the foot of the Oak tree.

This is what we do at the foot of the Cross!

Fast forward a few hundred years. Jacob died in Egypt, and the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob escaped the slavery of Pharaoh. It had been 400 years since they had been in the promised land. God used a meek man to lead his people from Egypt. Now in Deut. 11 Moses is addressing the people.

3. Deuteronomy 11:29-30.

“It shall come about, when the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. “Are they not across the Jordan, west of the way toward the sunset, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh?

Moses has shared the Law of God with his people. He has detailed all the blessings God promises to those who wholly follow the Lord. He instructs them to go to the Oaks of Moreh, and stand upon the two mountains there, Ebal and Gerizim. There they are to dedicate themselves to following God and His Word completely, and they are to acknowledge the blessings and cursing associated with that commitment.

The account of that event is given in chapters 27 and 28 of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 27:4-8 And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster. And there you shall build an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones. You shall wield no iron tool on them; you shall build an altar to the LORD your God of uncut stones. And you shall offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God, and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God. And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.”

One by one the Levites read the Blessings and Curses of the Law

Can you hear them:  ‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ (Deuteronomy 27:26)

And all the people shout, ‘Amen!’

The vibrating, thundering chorus of two million of voices shouting ‘Amen’ in unison to the terms of the covenant, from hill to hill, echoed powerfully in the streets of Shechem below. The Oaks of Moreh were shaking in response. They were witnesses to this momentous occasion.

The Jordan river signifies death to the wisdom and power of man. When Israel passed over the Jordant, they were symbolically announcing that they were dying to life in the wisdom and power of the flesh, and were now living in the wisdom and power of God and His Word. They were embracing the Principle of the Cross. This was so important, that at the end of Joshua’s life, he had the people return to this spot and reaffirm their commitment to following God’s Word.

Covenant ratified one more time…

At the end of his life, Joshua called for Israel to assemble again — at Shechem. The solemnity of the occasion cannot be expressed better than by its simple yet inspired biblical description:

Joshua 24:1 Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God.

Joshua recounted God’s faithfulness from the time of Abram’s calling until He gave them the Promised Land. He solemnly impressed upon them the importance of keeping faithfulness with God and his covenant. Listen as Joshua brings the point home:

Joshua 24:14-15 “Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

The people responded that YES! They would serve the Lord! Joshua tried to tell them they were not able to serve the Lord:

Joshua 24:19-21 Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.”

So Joshua told them: “Now then, throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 24:23)

So Joshua took a large stone and placed it under the Oak by the sanctuary of the Lord (in Shechem). That stone represented their decision to yield their hearts totally to God! This is what Abram had done! This is what Jacob had done! This is the Principle of the Cross!

Joshua 24:24-27 The people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God and we will obey His voice.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God; and he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be for a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us; thus it shall be for a witness against you, so that you do not deny your God.”

That stone was not the only witness. The Principle of the Cross was there at Shechem in the form of the Oak tree of Moreh. Eight hundred years had elapsed since Abram first built an altar under the Shechem oak tree. The original oak tree had probably given way to an offspring. But the mention of the ‘sanctuary of the Lord’ confirms this Oak tree was probably near the altars built by Abram and Jacob, and was now taken to be the official substitute.

I can see Joshua pointing to the altars and the tree as he recounts their stories to his people. I can hear him tell them that God appeared to Abram at this very spot. I can see him pointing to the ground and saying, “somewhere down there are the pagan gods your father Jacob buried; do the same, bury your false gods, and serve the one true God only.”  On that day, under Abram’s tree of promise, Israel ratified her covenant with God, the covenant she had made at Sinai nearly one hundred years earlier.

Treason at the Cross

Everyone remembers the story of Gideon and the way God used him in a miraculous deliverance of Israel from the Midianites. After that victory, the men of Israel wanted to make Gideon King.

Judges 8:22-23  Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the LORD will rule over you.”

Now Gideon (Jerubbaal) had seventy sons, for he had many wives. One son was Abimelech, born of a concubine who lived in Shechem. After Gideon died, Abimelech schemed to become King over the land. He got the leaders of Shechem on his side, got them to pay him money with which he hired thugs. Then he murdered 70 sons of Gideon with one stone. One son, Jotham, got away.

Immediately, “all the leaders of Shechem came together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem.” (Judges 9:6)

At the very spot where, under the very tree where, next to the very pillar where, three hundred years earlier, all Israel had sworn faithfulness to God and His covenant, where one thousand years earlier God first made the covenantal promises to Abram, where Jacob later buried the vestiges of his false gods, the populace of Shechem declared that a mere, evil man, was now their king [6].

Rebellious men refused to humble themselves to the Cross, and so rejected God in favor of man’s wisdom and power. Shechem erected the Kingdom of Man in opposition to the Kingdom of God.

The outcome was utter disaster, perhaps even greater than that which had occurred in the same city hundreds of years earlier when Simeon and Levi slaughtered the entire male population.

Read the entire account for yourself in Judges 9:1-20. In short, the honeymoon between Abimelech and the Shechemites was short-lived. God set animosity between them, resulting in Abimelech’s massacre of the entire population. One thousand people perished in one incident when Abimelech set fire to the temple of Baal in which they were cringing in fear. That one thousand people could fit inside testifies to its considerable size.

Why did this disaster occur? Listen carefully to what Jotham, Abimelech’s lone surviving brother, had to say to the citizens of Shechem days before the massacre:

Jotham told a parable, about the trees wanting someone to reign over them as a King. The tried the Olive Tree, the Fig Tree, a Vine, and each one refused. Finally they went to a lowly bramble bush, and he accepted.

Jotham warned the people:

Judges 9:16-20 “Now if you have acted faithfully and honestly in making Abimelech king, if you have done well by Jerubbaal (Gideon) and his family, and if you have rewarded him appropriately for what he did— for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you from the hand of Midian, and now you have attacked my father’s house today, killed his 70 sons on top of a large stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his slave, king over the lords of Shechem ‘because he is your brother’— if then you have acted faithfully and honestly with Jerubbaal and his house this day, rejoice in Abimelech and may he also rejoice in you. But if not, may fire come from Abimelech and consume the lords of Shechem and Beth-millo, and may fire come from the lords of Shechem and Beth-millo and consume Abimelech.”


Twice in one short message Jotham tells the people to judge themselves, whether or not they have acted faithfully and honestly. Understand, the Cross is a divider of men. It divids the children of God from the children of the world. It divides Spirit-filled believers from fleshly pretenders, or worldly Christians. There is Blessing at the foot of the Cross. There is Cursing at the Foot of the Cross. You can bear the curse yourself, or you can realize that Jesus became cursed for you upon that Cross. Yield your heart to the Cross, and enjoy the Blessings of Jesus Christ!

We have a tree that rules over us. It is the Cross of Jesus Christ. We do not worship the Tree, for it is but a principle. We worship the one who was crucified upon that tree. He is our King, He is our Lord. The principle of the Cross must be applied to our lives if He is to reign!


[1] Halley’s Bible Handbook, Henry H. Halley, Zondervan Pub. House, Grand Rapids, page 95.

[2] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Genesis 11”.

[3]“Oaks or Terebinths?” Philologos, http://forward.com/articles/11956/oaks-or-terebinths-/

[5] Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 1990, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, p. 389.

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Caleb climbing mountains killing giantsLet 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

HamstrungWhy 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 Accuser Rev 12_10Satan 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?

Faith of CalebNumbers 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.

GOD SENSE

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.

Complaining Spirit

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

Caleb Another SpiritGod 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 4:6Dinozzo-Gibbs-On-Your-Six-Boss

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

  1. Carrying Faith
  2. Climbing Faith
  3. 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.

Caleb Carrying FaithThere 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-Grapes of escholCaleb 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

abide-in-christIf 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 Climbing FaithCaleb 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!

Press-toward-the-MarkCaleb 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

Caleb Conquering FaithWhy 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?

Anak was How BigCaleb 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.

Granny BrandDr. 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.

Paul BrandRejoicing, 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.”

Granny-Brand2When 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.

We Need Heroes Like CalebAre 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!”