Joshua 14:12,14-15 So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke that day. For you heard then how the [giantlike] Anakim were there and that the cities were great and fortified; if the Lord will be with me, I shall drive them out just as the Lord said… So Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. The name of Hebron before was Kiriath-arba [city of Arba]. This Arba was the greatest of the Anakim. And the land had rest from war.
Caleb is one of the lesser known heroes of the Bible but his life story is filled with tenacity, perseverance, and faith-driven. This passage of Scripture in Joshua 14 took place when he was 85 years of age, and Israel was winding down its efforts in conquest in the land that God sent them in. Back then when he turned 40, Moses sent him, Joshua, and 10 other spies into the land. Only Joshua and he returned with a good report, filtered through eyes of faith. The other 10 spread fear through the camp by describing themselves as being grasshoppers before the Anakim (giants). For context, Goliath who was a Philistine, was a descendant of the Anakim.
After 45 years of fighting, and now at the age of 85, Caleb looked at Hebron which was a hill country. Some translations use the term “mountain”, but in actuality, it was basically more of an elevated ground than a towering mountain per se. But what was more amazing was Caleb’s tenacity that never ceased to stop despite his age. By 85, he could have retired contented, and let another generation of Israelites take charge. To complicate the issue, he was not only going to fight and drive out any other enemy, but the giant Anakims who were physically much taller and stronger than he was. What was more, that hill country that he asked for was the home ground of Arba, the greatest of the Anakim!
God intended for this story to be in the Bible to illustrate what pleases Him. It is not meant to be a mere inspirational piece for us to marvel at, but one to remind us of three things.
First, age should not be an excuse for us to miss stepping into our purpose. “Too young”, “too old”, “too mature”, “too middle-aged”, “too far ‘past his/her prime’”, are all fleshly stereotypical comments. To God, age is not the issue. Faith (or the lack thereof) is.
Second, build on faith. The reason why Caleb pursued after what the Bible hints as possibly the toughest challenge of that time (driving out Arba, the greatest of the Anakim), was because he continued to build on what God had been showing him all through the 45 years of conquest, starting from the time when he was sent to scout the land out.
Third, inspire and impart faith. Just in the next chapter (Joshua 15), we are told that Caleb “drove from there the three sons of Anak–Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai–the descendants of Anak. He went up from there against the people of Debir. Debir was formerly named Kiriath-sepher. Caleb said, He who smites Kiriath-sepher and takes it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter as wife. And Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's brother, took it; and he gave him Achsah his daughter as wife. (Joshua 15:14-17)” Caleb inspired Othniel to engage in purpose through faith as well.
Where are you today in your journey of faith, and how have you been rewarded for responding to your purpose in faith?