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BEERSHEBA TO HEBRON - Distance of 26 miles

If I were to show you a glass like this, how would you describe it? Is it half empty or half full? It's amazing how two people can look at the same picture and yet see completely different things. And yet, that's exactly what happened when the 12 men returned from spying out the land of Canaan. Every man had the same mission. Each one covered the same territory, but the reports brought back were so different.

"It was the time of ripe grapes, and they brought back a cluster of grapes so large that it was carried between 2 men. They also brought of the figs and pomegranates which grew there in abundance" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 387). Every spy agreed it was "a land flowing with milk and honey" (Numbers 13:27). But that's the only thing they agreed on.

The majority could only see danger impossibilities if they were to take this land for their possession. The people and its cities were too strong, and besides, there were giants in the land! "We were like grass-hoppers in their sight," was the faithless cry.

But Caleb saw something far greater than the dangers before them. "He did not contradict what had already been said--the walls were high and the Canaanites were strong. But God had promised the land to Israel. 'Let us go up at once and possess it,' urged Caleb, 'for we are well able to overcome it'" (ibid, p 288, italics supplied).

The faithless spies left God out of their report and talked as if victory could only happen by their might. But not Caleb! He knew who had sent him out. It was not man! He knew where their power lie. It was in the presence of God among them and working through them.

Sad to say, the people did not share Caleb's faith. They were blinded by fear and by the bleak report brought back by the ten spies. Those men distorted the truth, making Canaan appear far worse than it really was. And by the strength of that lying report, almost everyone in Israel lost hope. They even tried to stone Caleb and Joshua because they dared to speak against the majority! But God stepped in to protect His faithful witnesses. And eventually, only Caleb and Joshua went into the Promised Land, the only men from their generation to cross over the Jordan.

Forty years later, Caleb's faith did not flinch. He pressed on, still trusting in God to vanquish their enemies. After many years of conquest, there was still much land left to conquer. And that's when Caleb stepped forward to ask for his inheritance. He was not a young man anymore; he was now 85 years old (but just as strong as the day when Moses sent him out as a spy). Caleb could have asked for an easy territory. He might have said, "I'm too old for anything hard," but that was not Caleb.

Instead, he asked for the toughest territory. He asked for Hebron. This was the home of the dreaded Anakim, the tribe of giants that had terrified Israel forty years ago.  "This, above all the others, was the place which Caleb, trusting in the strength of God, chose for his inheritance" 

Why did he choose the land of the giants? Was it because he wanted the nation to praise him for his bravery? Absolutely not! Caleb wanted no honors for himself. He only wanted to be an example that would honor the Lord and to show how powerful their God really was. 

 "And trusting in God to be with him, he drove [out] the three sons of Anak. Having thus secured a possession for himself and his house, his zeal did not abate; he did not settle down to enjoy his inheritance, but pushed onto further conquests for the benefit of the nation and the glory of God" (Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 513). 

We may find ourselves in tough places like Hebron at times and it may seem like there are giants in the land. But we serve a God who cannot fail. Let us echo the words of Caleb, this faith-filled disciple. As we look at our own territory of ministry, may Jesus help us to say, "Let us go up at once to possess it, for we are well able to overcome it." Not in our own might alone, but trusting in what God can and will do through us. 

* Read Numbers 13-14 and Joshua 14
* Read Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 387-394