In the book of Joshua, you’ll find an interesting “rest-of-the-story” for a guy named Caleb. In case you need a reminder, Caleb and Joshua were the only two out of the 12 spies who didn’t freak out about the giants in the Promised Land. But unfortunately, the majority won, and they had to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years with the rest of the Israelites. Because of their faithfulness, however, God promised that those two would survive the wilderness and possess the Promised Land. Caleb and Joshua were about forty when they were spies. They were about 80 when they entered Canaan. Joshua was now the leader, since Moses had died, and Caleb…well, he was just awesome.
In Joshua 14, Caleb and a delegation from the tribe of Judah, visit Joshua in Gilgal a few years after they entered Canaan. Caleb reminds his fellow wilderness-survivor of his life story: spying, reporting, wandering. And then he says this:
“Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak* living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.”
I. Love. Caleb. What a dude! He shows no fear of the giants as a 40 year-old spy, and then he wants to take them down at 85! He says, “Give me the hill country! Bring on those giants everybody was so afraid of. This is my territory, because God said so!” As the other tribes were slowing their pace, looking for short-cuts in conquering their land, Caleb, the oldest guy around, asks for the giants. Maybe it is somewhat personal, since that seemed to be the main issue that caused the 40-year wandering in the wilderness. But perhaps Caleb also wants to show his gratitude to God for giving him extra years and strength, and to prove that his faith is not in retirement.
Maybe Joshua, Caleb’s old friend, was too manly for tears, but I wonder if at least one escaped as he told Caleb he could have his giants and hill country. There’s just nothing like a happy ending.
What are your giants? What is your hill country? What is that territory that God is calling you to conquer by faith for His glory? Forget the short guys and short-cuts. Don’t settle for the low-lands.
Take the hill country! With God on your side, take on those giants!
*Twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was sent May 7, 2014.