Do you remember when we were young and we used to dream big? When dreams weren’t realistic – when they were bold, when they weren’t about practicalities, but were based on true desires.
With age our dreams can fade, worse still they can be replaced. Age presents us with different pressures and we often cast aside the dreams of our youth and simply settle for things, things that are easier for us to obtain, and those youthful aspirations die before they were ever truly alive.
Joshua 14 see’s Caleb get his inheritance of land, his portion, but it was something he had waited a long time to inherit and officially call his own – for his ownership to truly become reality.
45 years prior to this event, in Numbers 13 Caleb was one of the two spies (along with Joshua) to bring back a report of faith, a good report about the land they were to inherit – the land of promise. He, along with Joshua and 10 other men were sent to spy and gather intelligence on the land they were to possess.
The group of spies looked at the land of Canaan and although it was flowing with milk and honey, they could see there were also giants living there. Here was their promise land, but there were clear obstacles to them simply moving in.
The ten faithless spies looked at the giants and measured them against their own strength, but Joshua and Caleb, the only two out of the twelve spies – measured the giants against Gods strength. They came back with a good report, believing that God had given Israel the land and would enable them to conquer it.
And in the same way, just like this most of us in life begin with a dream, but when confronted with giants and challenges to possessing and living that dream out – we shrink back.
Only a minority enter and see their God given dreams fulfilled, their true hearts’ desires – the fullness of their purpose and true dream realised.
Fear is the ultimate dream killer.
At that time Caleb was 40 years old, and now 45 years later in Joshua chapter 14, when Joshua distributes the land, and gives each tribe their inheritance, Caleb recalls that event 45 years ago and it’s promised reward.
Joshua 14 vs. 6-9 (ESV)
I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word againas it was in my heart.
But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD my God.
And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’
Caleb believed and saw possibilities where others could not. Dreams are contemplations of possibilities – they often seem impossible to all but the dreamer the one who has the vision. The other spies who could not see were faithless spies, they could not see what could be taken, and they failed to see opportunities to avail possession of their promise land, their inheritance.
This unbelief was the cause of Israel’s wandering in the desert wilderness. Those who did not believe died in the desert – God would not allow that generation of unbelievers to enter into the Promised Land.
But Caleb and Joshua, because of their faith did not die but actually entered the Promised Land – they actually lived the dream. The reward was that Moses swore on that very day that Caleb would possess the land on which his foot had trodden in that very place.
Because he had dared to dream, dared to believe – it would be his!
Now 45 years later it was time for each of the tribes in Israel to receive their inheritance:
Joshua 14 vs. 2 (ESV)
Their Inheritance was by lot, just as the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses for the nine and one-half tribes.
The division of the land all came down to the casting of lots, a method of which we often take the outcome of as chance, but the Bible tells us that the outcome is always God.
Proverbs 16 vs. 13 (NIV)
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
But that’s just it – the whole of life is just like this. We are born into different circumstances, families and households. Our careers often chose us rather than us choosing them. And even when born into the very same household to the very same parents – our experiences and portions under the very same roof are often different as individuals.
But even greater still, we are said to obtain an inheritance in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1 vs. 11 (ESV)
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
In him we were also chosen,[a] having been predestined
We have a destiny, divinely assigned by God according to his purpose for us. We each have an inheritance in Christ.
Here now aged 85 – 45 years later, Caleb remembers clearly his portion and the promise made to him years prior and he does an incredible thing and boldly claims it. Rather than let the land he had been promised go in with other parts of the country to be divided by lot; Caleb instead demands that land, and his portion that was promised to him year before.
Joshua 14 vs. 12 (ESV)
So now give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.”
Caleb demands what was promised to him years earlier as if it was promised yesterday. He doesn’t wait for the lots to be cast to claim what he already knew to be his – he had claimed it by faith years before, just by being able to perceive it. God speaking through Moses promised him that very mountain and hill country Hebron. Caleb boldly claimed it because it was something that was already determined by God.
The casting of lots was used to consult God on matters that were not known, but in this matter, God had made His promise known and had predetermined it – so Caleb simply had to claim it.
It’s often difficult to see your dreams, to remember them, to see your inheritance clearly in the chaos and confusion of this world – it’s often much easier to settle. But it’s important that when it comes time for everyone to receive his or her inheritance, we also individually receive ours.
We were created and are here for a purpose – don’t be afraid to ask “God where’s my land, where’s my inheritance?”
If we are unsure of what we are meant to possess we have the privilege of appealing to God to reveal our purpose and allotment to us – before he formed us he knew us. But those great promises and talents he has given us and has made known to us, we are to possess and enter, use and walk in.
Here stands Caleb at 85 years of age, his dream as vivid as ever – a truly ageless dream.
Joshua 14 vs. 10-11 (ESV)
And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.Even though all this time had passed, Caleb was just a zealous to take the land. All those years he had kept dreaming, and had not lost his strength, or the desire to fight for the possession of what was rightfully his. He observed that God had kept him alive all of those years in the wilderness.
In life we go through many things, many wildernesses and periods of uncertainty; but we survive and we live on to fight another day, God preserves our lives.
Why are you and I truly still here, what has our life been preserved for, and for what are we to use our surviving strength? What mountain are we to take possession of in this world?
In verse 13 Joshua blesses Caleb and give him Hebron for an inheritance as he had requested. And surely enough Caleb drove those giants out of the land as we see in chapter 15.
We ought to walk and live by faith and not by sight –not to shrink back when we see giants and mountains. Let us be bold enough to claim those promises when the opportunity presents itself to step forward in faith and get our rightful inheritance.
“Those that live by faith value that which is given by promise far above that which is given by providence only.”
And how much sweeter it is to see, witness and live out a dream and promise of old – the promise others couldn’t see.
Fulfil your purpose with your time on this earth – by faith and not by sight!