Trusting God in the Wilderness

Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. “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 wilderness. 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. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. Joshua 14:6-13

My pastor used these verses to give us five great points about following God wholeheartedly on Sunday and God wouldn’t let the passage out of my mind.

{If you aren’t familiar with the story of Caleb’s faith, take a few minutes to read Numbers 13 and 14.} The cliff note version is this- God had Moses send twelve men to scope out the land He wanted to give to the Israelites.  Caleb and Joshua were two of the men.  Ten of the men saw the giants in the land they were supposed to occupy and got scared.  They ended up spreading their fear to the rest of the Israelites and God punished them by 40 more years of wilderness wandering.}

But, Caleb trusted God.  When he surveyed the land, he didn’t see obstacles.  He saw opportunities for God to come through, as He had many times before.

In the beginning of the passage Caleb mentions that when he left Kadesh Barnea to survey the promised land he was 40 years old.   Take notice of how old he is at the end of the passage.

Eighty-five years old!

I shook my head when I read this.  I said to God, “really, He trusted You. He stood up for You and You made him wander around in the wilderness for forty five more years with those unbelieving fools?, really?”

It turns out that this verse struck a deep chord in me.

I’ve been in a wilderness of sorts lately and lamenting it rather than trusting in God’s timing.  Reading about this man of God that followed Him wholeheartedly had my insides screaming “really, God.  I’ve been trusting You and standing up for You and doing what You call me to and here I am, still wandering in the wilderness.  Sick of manna and sick of desert.  I can’t wait forty-five years”.

I went back and re-read the verses again today because I was mad.  And, yes I told God I was mad. It’s not like He didn’t already know.

And, something stood out.  Not what Caleb said, but what he didn’t say.

He didn’t say:

  • this isn’t fair.
  • I listened to you, why can’t I have my promised land now?
  • Forty more years of manna?
  • I’ll just go ahead and enter the land on my own.
  • Really God? Really?

No, the Bible says Caleb “followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly”

Wholeheartedly.

Caleb trusted that whatever God had in store was worth waiting for, wilderness and all.

Lord, give me a heart like Caleb. A heart that follows after you WHOLEHEARTEDLY.  A heart that trusts in Your timing and Your direction.

Are you going through a wilderness period in your life?

And the counting of gifts continues {excerpted from my gratitude and Joy Dare journal}

~ greek salads from Panera

~ new highlighters for my Bible

~ helping my daughter and son-in-law make an apartment into a home

~ seeing a dear friend mark three years clean and free of the bondage of drug addiction

~ The Word grabbing hold and not letting go of my heart

~ pre-Thanksgiving dinner with the hubby’s family
~ teen boys with fresh haircuts

~ sparkling clean kitchen counters

~ leggings and boot weather

 

 

 

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