These three chapters, I have to admit, aren’t the most exciting reading in Scripture. However, what we do see throughout today’s reading is that the land that was conquered was being divided and assigned in specific territories to several tribes. But what is hidden in the middle of all this are testimonies of two faithful men who gave their all and placed their reputation on the line to follow God. The two men are Joshua and Caleb.
Chapter 13 begins noting the land that still needs to be subdued, and allotted according to the assignments already made by Moses to the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan. This passage also opens up by noting that “Joshua was old and well advanced in years.” He was probably between the age of 90-100. As we jump over to Joshua 14, we see the “young man,” Caleb, at the age of 85 and a note made about God’s faithfulness to Him.
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is found in Joshua 14:10-11: “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.
What passion and spirit that Joshua and Caleb had in their old age. What an example of how God first keeps His promises (even after 45 years) and God’s strength in their lives. I hope first of all that I am still alive at that age. Second, I hope that God speaks to me about things I still need to do. I truly want to be used far into my years. Someone recently asked me, “when are you planning on retiring?” After thinking about that my calling, my response is, “NEVER!” I never want to retire from my calling or ministry. I want there still to be things I need to conquer in my life and I want to say, “I am just as vigorous to go to battle now as I was then.” I want that kind of strength and passion when I am 50, when I am 60, when I am 70 and beyond. What a testimony, what an example. It is a great reminder that it is never too late to be who we might have been. It is also a great reminder of how important it is to keep your faith in the One who keeps His promises. Both Joshua and Caleb, stayed faithful and obedient even when it wasn’t popular. Ultimately, it was God who kept them strong late in their years and they were rewarded for their faithfulness.
One final thought. It is so important for us to continue to honor and look towards those who have been living out their faith for many years as examples. One of the things I love to do is to sit down and talk to those who have so much wisdom and faith that has been developed over many years as they share their stories, experiences and journey of faith over the decades. I am so glad we get a glimpse of Joshua and Caleb in their later years.