Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, we show gratitude for the people in our lives by gathering together around good food and good gifts. Sometimes you ask for a simple gift and you get something extraordinary and beyond what you asked for. Other times, you ask for a $25 gift card to your favorite bookstore and you receive a $25* (*on sale for $5) tie or scarf. Gift-giving is a mixed bag, but gift-giving (and receiving) is still a blessing.
In our passage today, we are in the throes of the Israelite war, as we have been for much of the book of Joshua. God’s people are battling other nations, and God is giving them victory. To the victor go the spoils, and the Israelites are getting spoiled.
In a way, it seems odd that God’s people are fighting at all. Why doesn’t God just wipe out their enemies and move on? Why are the Israelites knee-deep in carnage?
One reason is this: God doesn’t want us to be robots. He wants us to step into battle, even spiritual battle, with boldness. Caleb, one of the men who received a great inheritance, was uniquely brave when he spied out the land back in Numbers 13. God fought for him and with him, yes, but He also expected Caleb and his colleagues to be brave.
Today, we are often prone to fear. If a situation looks bleak, we’ll probably take the easier route. But Caleb can teach us a valuable lesson: bravery comes from trusting in the Lord. God fights for His people, and Caleb knew he was stepping into a battle God Himself would win.
As a reward for his courage, Caleb received a wonderful inheritance from God. God is not stingy with His people. He does not send us into hard places and then laugh at us when things don’t go well, nor does He ignore our obedience. God is with us, and He cares about our actions.
Sometimes we don’t think we’re receiving the kind of gift we deserve from God. Maybe we don’t like the outcome of a situation, or maybe we just don’t see it. But as John Piper has rightly said, “God may be doing 10,000 things in your life and you’re aware of three of them.”
Maybe you’ll never receive a big land or monetary inheritance like Caleb. Maybe you’ll never even know all the gifts God has given you. But that doesn’t mean you don’t spy out foreign lands and head into battle with courage. Because regardless of what you see in this life, one day you will receive the greatest inheritance of all: eternity with your Maker.
Written By Brandon D. Smith