“But my servant Caleb—this is a different story. He has a different spirit; he follows me passionately.” (Numbers 14:24 The Message)
I absolutely love the Story of Caleb. Read Numbers 13 and 14 and how can anyone NOT love Caleb? I love this man so much I just finished a sermon series about him. There are so many things about this guy and I could preach a year or more just on him, if The Spirit would allow me. I am blown away by how The Message translates God’s opinion of Caleb. (You do know that God has an opinion about you, don’t you?) “But my servant Caleb—this is a different story.”
How was his story different? God sent 12 spies, leaders actually, into the Promised Land with very specific orders. But it was never in their directive to determine if they could succeed at occupying and conquering the land. But 10 of these alleged leaders exceeded their directives and made a decision that wasn’t theirs to make. “We can’t do it! We’re whipped! Lets get a new lead pastor and go back to Egypt where we can eat all the onions and garlic we want!” OK? So, you want bad breath instead of God’s Promise? Ain’t it amazing what good church folks will give up for bad breath!
It would now seem, if they are going to be a good old American democracy, that God’s Promise would never happen, at least by the story of the Halitosis Ten. But there is another Story being told and written. Caleb, along with Joshua, has a Different Story to write and tell. Allow me, if you will, to share just a little bit about That Different Story. It’s a Story of living in The Promise, not The Halitosis. There is much to be said, but I will share 4 of the Key Qualities of Caleb.
1. He Had A Different Mindset
Caleb isn’t being naive. He saw the well fortified cities. He saw that the land produced NFL Linemen sized people. He saw every obstacle in front of them. But Caleb saw more. He saw God’s Presence through The Promise. He saw the challenges in front of him through the faithfulness of God. He had the mindset of looking at The Problem Solver, not the problem; of looking at the Giant Slayer, not the giant. Caleb was really radical—he trusted God. I am amazed (probably more like disgusted) at those who say they are a Christian while insisting that as a church we have to play it safe. Where’s the faith in that? And where did Jesus ever say that following Him was safe? See your situations as an individual and a church the same way Caleb saw what was in front of Him—God’s got this!
2. He Had A Different Purpose
Caleb knew that his purpose was to be a reflection of God—His heart and His purposes. Caleb was willing to give up his Story to become a part of a much bigger Story, the Story of God’s purposes. Ever since Adam and Eve messed it all up and ever since we perpetuate The Fall with our sinfulness, God has been at work and His work is very clear. He wants to Redeem The Sinner, bring Recovery For The Broken, and to Restore His Image Bearers. All of us have a Life Purpose, good, bad or indifferent, you have a Life Purpose. Your Life Purpose will be based and built upon the information you believe is true. Caleb believed God’s Promise is greater than any obstacle, so he chose as the Purpose of his life, to work where God is working—Redeeming, Recovering and Restoring.
3. He Had A Different Courage
Caleb’s courage came from his Trust in God. Caleb saw God as Trustworthy. He didn’t stutter, blink or hesitate. “Come on, gang! God is Trustworthy! You say you Trust in God? Well, let’s put some action in that trust!” Caleb’s roots grew deep in God. Caleb understood that “roots” are not what holds us down to the ground, but enables to grow up and out. This courage came out of something Caleb did not fully understand, but somehow knew—that God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, was inside him. He knew that wherever he went, God was with him—and that was enough.
4. He Had A Different Plan
His plan was to stay close enough to God so that he could see how God would work it out. He didn’t trust himself to figure it out—how it would happen. He knew that God had a plan and all he needed to do was to be available for the ways that God wanted to use him. Translated to 2017, the work of God is a Spiritual Work that requires Spiritual Tools (known as the Gifts of the Spirit), A Spiritual Heart (which is the heart of a servant), and A Spiritual Attitude (known as HE is the vine and we are the branches—branches designed to bear much fruit).
Goodness gracious! Where have all the Calebs gone today? You can find the next Caleb by looking the mirror. He’s longing to get out—because there is a Caleb in you but you need to make the choice between The Promise and The Halitosis. Which do you really want?
And remember to love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!