(Season 2, Episode 4) Did you know that Caleb had to wait 45 years for his promises to be fulfilled? Let's talk about it!
Promises, Promises…or Where’s My Promise?
Today I want to talk about the promises of God, particularly as seen through the lens of Caleb in Joshua 14 and 15.
If you recall, when the Israelites left Egypt, they headed for the Promised Land. When they got to Canaan, they sent spies out to check out the territory. And they liked what they found—a land flowing with milk and honey, the Bible says. However, most of the spies also reported that the people living in the land were big, huge, scary giants. Caleb, however, tried to encourage the people to trust in God and move ahead, confident that God would give them the victory. But the people chose to NOT listen to Caleb and as a result, ended up leaving the borders of the Promised Land and having to wander around in the wilderness for 40 years.
Through Moses, God had promised certain territories to Caleb and Caleb held that promise close to his heart for 45 years. Under Joshua, the Israelites swept through Canaan, defeating their enemies—and by that time, Caleb was 85 years old. He reminded Joshua of God’s promise and in chapter 15 we find: “The Lord commanded Joshua to assign some of Judah’s territory to Caleb.” Hebron became the new promised homeland for Caleb and his descendants.
There are four remarkable things about this story:
1. God never forgot His promise.
When God gives a promise, He never changes His mind. Things may not always go according to OUR ideal schedule, but it will always happen in GOD’S perfect time.
2. Caleb never gave up. He never lost hope.
For 45 years, Caleb held on, never giving up hope. I can imagine that there were days when he was frustrated. After all, he didn’t do anything wrong. The reason the Israelites had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years was because they did not heed Caleb’s words to trust in God. And because the Israelites chose to be afraid rather than press on into battle, Caleb had to endure the hard days and wait it out.
3. In God’s eyes we are never too old.
When it came time for Caleb’s promise to be fulfilled, he was 85 years old. In Joshua 14:11, Caleb tells Joshua: “I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then.” God sustained Caleb while he waited for his promise to be fulfilled.
Which leads us to number 4:
4. Caleb still had to take action.
Even though he had to wait 45 years, even though he was 85 years old, he still had to go to war in order to realize the fulfillment of his promise. In Joshua 15, we find Caleb at war, driving out three groups of enemy Anakites. Caleb relied on God and God gave him strength.
So let’s bring this home to today. Have you seen the shadow of a promise at some point in your life that has yet to be realized? Do you have friends or loved ones whom you have been praying for and it seems as if they will never turn to God? Or maybe you’re still waiting for God’s direction in your life and you don’t know which way to go. Maybe it seems as if He doesn’t hear you and your prayers hit the heavens and bounce back in your face.
There can be many reasons why we have not yet realized the fulfillment of God’s promises. But let me assure you of this: God hears you and will act when the time is right. We find in Jeremiah 29:11–14—
“’For I know the plans I have for you’—this is the Lord’s declaration—‘plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you’—this is the Lord’s declaration”
Don’t give up! Our world is a dark, gritty place right now and for many of us, the future is uncertain. But know this—God knows your future and he wants what’s best for you. Don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. God’s armies will win this battle in the end. We just need to keep our eyes on Him.
It doesn’t matter how old we are. It doesn’t matter where we live. It doesn’t matter how long we have to wait. We all have a job—and we all need to take action.
The battle we face is a spiritual one—and spiritual battles are fought through prayer, praise, and worship of God Almighty. We need to keep our eyes focused on Him and He will see us through. In the end, we will receive the promised reward.
My dad passed away last August. One of his practices was to keep notebooks of scriptures that were meaningful to him. He could often be found sitting in his recliner, studying God’s word and drilling those scriptures into his mind. After his death, I was going through his last notebook and near the end of his entries, I found where he had written: “Phil 2:16—I ran in the race and won.”
My dad fought a good fight. He ran a good race. And though we prayed for his healing, sometimes God’s perfect will is to take His children home. That was the case for my dad. Over the course of his life, he had experienced more than one miraculous healing. But this time, God said that Dad had suffered enough and the time was right to come home. The time had come for perfect healing. Dad ran the race and won. Now he’s home with his beloved Savior. For my dad, that was God’s perfect will. That was the last promise that my dad held onto. And that was the final promise that was fulfilled for him.
The path of life is different for each of us. Our promises are not all the same. Do you know what your promises are? If not, I encourage you to press into a deep relationship with God. Ask Him what His promises are for you, read the Bible, and wait for His reply.
I want to leave you with these words of Jesus found in John 13:7—
“Jesus replied, ‘You don’t understand yet the meaning of what I’m doing, but soon it will be clear to you.’”
We may not know the future, but God does and in time, if we hold true to Him, we will see His perfect will unfold in our lives. In the end, the enemy will be defeated and righteousness will prevail.
And God will keep His promises.