The Israelites had been delivered from four hundred years of slavery in Egypt by the mighty hand of God. He had provided for their every need throughout their forty-year journey through the wilderness. Now they were on the very threshold of the Promised Land.
Moses had sent out twelve scouts to spy out the land of Canaan. “And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan” (Numbers 13:25-29). They all had wonderful things to report about the land and its produce, but ten of the spies feared the people who lived there. Only Joshua and Caleb believed that there was no problem in taking Canaan. Fear brings believers into bondage, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). Caleb spoke of going immediately to take the land for Israel. He believed that if God had promised it to them, then no obstacle could stand in the way. Notice he said “us” for he believed that God’s people needed to act in one accord so that the promise might be fulfilled. In his mind there was to be no procrastination because to hesitate on the verge of victory breeds defeat. No wonder the early believers in Christ had to be in “one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1) before the Holy Spirit could be poured out upon them. When a people believe and move together great things can be accomplished. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (Psalm 133). God will do great things amongst us if we work together in unity for His glory.
Caleb knew that Israel was in a position to possess the land as God had commanded. This confidence was a product of his unshakeable faith that the Lord was with them. They could go in the strength and power of God. As believers we have an unstoppable supply of strength if we would just wait upon and trust in the Lord. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31) … “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
The samples that the twelve brought back from Canaan was proof enough that God had been true to His word. “And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:17). What was to stop them going to take the inheritance that God had given them? Men and women of faith have the vision to get things done because they believe in a God who is faithful.
“But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:31-33).
There will always be those who will not get involved because they think that the task is too great. The Lord Jesus Christ told us to go and bring in the harvest. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20). One sad fact remains though, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37).
We need the confidence of Caleb. While others saw the giants, he saw God. To him the giants were midgets compared with Almighty God. We will never complete the commission that Jesus gave us until we accept that He is with us and empowers us to get the job done. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).