CALEB – A RESURRECTED LIFE

BY:  ALAN McSAVAGE

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CALEB – A RESURRECTED LIFE

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CALEB – A RESURRECTED LIFE

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PART ONE

We held our usual Sunday afternoon round table discussion group at the YWCA in Hamilton Ontario, and even though our numbers were depleted somewhat the Spirit of Christ once again made up for the lack of numbers.

Brother Riki led off with his guitar and I slid behind the keyboard and plinked along with his strumming. The ladies made up the main part of the chorus and the kids added to the percussion. When we felt it was time I asked Riki to share from his heart and he brought up two scriptures:

James 1:22-25 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.  NASU

James 2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. NASU

He said though we hear the word taught Sunday after Sunday, He wondered just how many of us knew what was taught from week to week and how many put the lesson into practice in our everyday lives

He was following up on the lesson I gave the week before on Caleb the eighty five year old who felt he was well able to accomplish the task that God had given him and claimed his inheritance regardless of the obstacles placed in his way.

When we think of ourselves at eighty-five, we think of our feebleness and the need to retire. Such thinking carries over to the area of our spiritual life as we think we ought to step back and let the young people carry on. But the Scripture gives us the example of Caleb, who did not give in to his old age. We tend to believe that our days follow the calendar and we inevitably grow weak or sick. But people who are young can grow weak or sick too. Every day of our lives is by God’s grace and mercy.

Today, by His grace, God has laid out a path for us and appointed us to carry out His will. How far we travel down this path is not determined by the calendar, but by God’s will. God called on Moses when he was eighty years old. Moses felt God was late in calling on him and should have done so years earlier. He said in Psalms 90:10 : “The length of our days is seventy yearsor eighty, if we have the strength…” Moses felt that he had already lived ten years longer than expected; therefore he never expected to live to be hundred and twenty.

God’s way indeed is different from ours. God led Moses in a special way because God had for Moses a special calling. Before God’s will and work were accomplished in Moses, He would not let him go even though he was eighty years old. In the end Moses served God for forty more years. Moses tried to decline on the excuse that he was too old. Thank the Lord! When Moses recognized his own inability, God began to use him. His task might appear suitable to a young person only, but God waited till Moses’ hair turn white to start using him. This is a clear example from the Scripture.

As long as the task that God has appointed to us remains unfinished, we should not give in regarding how sick we are and how difficult our circumstances may be. The eighty years old Moses was living on borrowed time; in accordance to the natural order of things, his life was over. He had died and lived again. This is the principle of a resurrected life.  I followed up with the following:

1 John 1:1-4 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life – and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us – what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.  These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. NASU

We have to have a personal relationship with the Word of Life and not just the letter only.

We need to take what God gives us through whatever means He uses and meditate upon that word until it becomes planted within us at a very personal level.

So that we can also say “That what we have both seen and heard we proclaim.”  I also used:

Gal 1:11-18 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;  and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.  But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. NASU

How God used a man who was a persecutor of the Christians who then had a personal encounter with Christ that changed his whole life and made him probably the greatest evangelist/apostle/teacher of all time.

The discussion then centered upon this one fact. That regardless of our age, our financial position, or our health, NOTHING can stop us once God places his Word within our heart and then gives us the desire to be a doer and not a forgetful hearer only.

And that ONLY the indwelling SPIRIT OF CHRIST can do this through us, with us, as us.

PART TWO

Caleb: a resurrected life Jos. 14:6-25

Caleb was Caleb – not because he was eighty-five years old, but because he did not feel like it. He and Joshua were of the generation of the Israelites who came out of Egypt. Due to the unfaithfulness of that generation, God caused them to wander in the wilderness until that entire generation died off with the exception of only two persons. Amazingly neither Moses, Aaron, nor Miriam, the leaders of that generation, was among the two. None of them made it to the other side of the Jordan River. Those who entered into Canaan were of a new generation.

This has an important spiritual implication: Only the new man, not the old-man, is allowed into Canaan, the abundance of Christ. Joshua and Caleb were the only exceptions. When God sent twelve spies to investigate the land of Canaan, only these two returned with a good report.

In actuality, all twelve spies agreed that the land was flowing with milk and honey; the only difference was that the other ten spies saw and paid attention to the dark side of the situation. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it.” (Num. 13:32) They felt they were no match to their enemies and they became frustrated. A riot then followed as they cried about leaving Egypt. As a result, God’s anger caused them to wander in the desert for thirty-eight years. Only the new generation, along with Joshua and Caleb, were able to enter the land of Canaan.

TIME TO RETIRE?

Caleb was the head of the tribe of Judah and Joshua the head of the tribe of Ephraim. Caleb and Joshua were the only two out of Egypt to have their dreams realized when they set foot on the land. When Caleb spoke those words in Jos. 14:6-15, he had already arrived at the land of Canaan. In today’s thinking, at eighty-five one should enjoy his retirement and take it easy. Why shouldn’t Caleb since he had realized his dream? He had already tasted what was in the world, having done what he ought to and enjoyed what life had to offer. He had lived through eighty-five merciless years.

When we think of ourselves at eighty-five, we think of our feebleness and the need to retire. Such thinking carries over to the area of our spiritual life as we think we ought to step back and let the young people carry on. But the Scripture gives us the example of Caleb, who did not give in to his old age. We tend to believe that our days follow the calendar and we inevitably grow weak or sick. But people who are young can grow weak or sick too. Every day of our lives is by God’s grace and mercy.

Today, by His grace, God has laid out a path for us and appointed us to carry out His will. How far we travel down this path is not determined by the calendar, but by God’s will. God called on Moses when he was eighty years old. Moses felt God was late in calling on him and should have done so years earlier. He said in Psalms 90:10: “The length of our days is seventy years” or eighty, if we have the strength.” Moses felt that he had already lived ten years longer than expected; therefore he never expected to live to be hundred and twenty.

God’s way indeed is different from ours. God led Moses in a special way because God had for Moses a special calling. Before God’s will and work were accomplished in Moses, He would not let him go even though he was eighty years old. In the end Moses served God for forty more years. Moses tried to decline on the excuse that he was too old. Thank the Lord! When Moses recognized his own inability, God began to use him. His task might appear suitable to a young person only, but God waited till Moses’ hair turn white to start using him. This is a clear example from the Scripture.

As long as the task that God has appointed to us remained unfinished, we should not give in regarding how sick we are and how difficult our circumstances may be. The eighty years old Moses was living on borrowed time; in accordance to the natural order of things, his life was over. He had died and lived again. This is the principle of a resurrected life.  Caleb could not yet retire.

Thank the Lord because it is His life within us which sustains us and allows us to go forward. It was not time, calendar, nor age which determines the length of our walk on this earth. What matters is if we have finished the path that God laid down for us.

Caleb, though eighty-five years old, his responsibility was not over yet because God had given him the land of Hebron -the choicest land in Canaan, the Canaan of Canaan. One time Jacob sent Joseph from Canaan to Schechem; it was actually from Hebron because in God’s mind Hebron represents Canaan. When the spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan returned, they reported, “The land indeed was flowing with milk and honey.” From the valley of Eschol a single cluster of grapes required two people to carry. The richness of the land was apparent. The valley of Eschol was in Hebron and its land produced the best in the land of Canaan. Because Caleb followed the Lord wholeheartedly, God had given him the best in the land of Judah as a reward.

We all agree that Canaan is extremely good. In Canaan we have our inheritance, which is life. The Christians who love the Lord will have this inheritance, but Caleb alone received it as his reward. The land is yours but you have to keep your foot on it to claim it as yours. That is why Caleb could not retire because he had not yet received his reward. Caleb had the spirit of a young man. In spite of his old age, he could still battle. For this reason, God protected him. Not all the twelve tribes received their inheritance because they did not keep their feet on their land. On the contrary, Caleb received the best of Canaan from the Lord. Even though we might have arrived at Canaan, if we have not yet obtained the crown of life and the crown of righteousness, we need to say as Caleb did: “Give me that mountain that the Lord promised me.”

What the eighty-five year old Caleb wanted was the most dangerous territory… the land that devoured those living in it and was inhabited by giants who had kept them wandering in the wilderness. Caleb was not afraid when he was forty; he was just as brave when he was eighty-five. “Give me that mountain” showed that he was ready to go in to take that land. Thank the Lord Caleb had received that land.

WE LIVE TO PLEASE THE LORD

Today we only need to believe in Jesus to have Canaan as our inheritance. However, we cannot be satisfied with just getting the inheritance. Two other tribes were supposed to enter the land of milk and honey. But regretfully they were content to remain on the east side of the Jordan River after having wandered in the wilderness for forty years. It was like two or three gathering in the Lord’s name. Of course the presence of the Lord will be there. The question is whether it is on the east side of the Jordan or in the land of Canaan. Caleb had this spirit to want the best from the Lord. His persistence and ambition were not affected by his age. We should follow Caleb’s youthful, healthy spirit. Do not believe in what we see in the mirror or what our age tells us. Instead, believe what the Lord tells us in His word.

Many people forty and fifty years old give in because they feel the remaining days of their life are few. As a result they live carelessly and often regret it when it turns out that they live for thirty years longer. Let us live our every minute and every day to satisfy Him. The Lord always has something that He wants to fulfill in us. The Lord says: “Whoever wants to follow me must deny himself.” To deny oneself involves many things, one of which is to forget our age. Do not make the mistake in thinking only the young are the Christian soldiers and the elderly cannot do anything. Paul spoke in 2 Tim. when he knew his time was up: “There is in store for me the crown of righteousness” because “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.” Logically, it was time for Paul to relax and take it easy; yet he asked Timothy to bring his scrolls to him. Why did he bother about reading when his time was almost up? Paul indeed was one who would race to the very end. Having the crown of righteousness did not cause him to relax in his spiritual pursuit.

Many older people in the church today refuse to give in to their old age. They continue to be diligent in their upholding and support of the church. If they keep their mind active in this manner and they truly love the Lord, the Lord will keep them alert in their services, just like Caleb.

CALEB’S FOOD

Caleb was as strong now (eighty-five) as he was then (forty) because the Lord had sustained him with food that was not ordinary food. When the spies returned from the land of Canaan with their report and the people rebelled, Caleb said to them: “Do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up.” The Lord had kept Caleb for forty-five years because he had a special food that others did not have. He did not run away from difficulties or give that responsibility to the young people. Instead he said: “Give me this hilly country

I will drive them out!”

The giants and difficulties will not swallow us, but will be instead swallowed by us. Elderly people cannot stand a little trouble, pain, or serious illness – causing them to lose heart, feel depressed, to surrender, or even quit being a Christian. Instead of being swallowed we should swallow all our problems and make them our food. Often it is not illness but a sorrowful spirit that causes us to die early. Remember Caleb’s secret – his food is his enemies. By God’s grace, we will have this food daily so that we will obtain what the Lord wants us to obtain.

 

CALEB, Parts 1 – 2 [Alan McSavage]          1

 

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