And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance. Joshua 14:13
When Israel reached the border of Canaan, Moses sent twelve men in to survey the land in preparation for taking it. Caleb was one of those men. In spite of the failure of Israel there at Kadesh-Barnea, God promised Caleb that the land he surveyed would be given to him as his inheritance. In Joshua 14, after the conquest of the land, Caleb came to Joshua to claim that inheritance, including Mount Hebron. There is a city called Hebron as well. The mountain is more of a ridge or group of hills than a distinct peak. The city sits a little over 3000 above sea level.
So what happened at Hebron?
A promise realized – Forty-five years after God declared Hebron would be his, Caleb saw that fulfilled. Forty-five years. It’s tempting to shake our heads and wonder what good the promise is if you have to wait so long to see it kept. But it is a reminder that God is working an eternal plan, not a temporal one. The here and now is not nearly as important as the there and then. God, however, is as faithful to a forty-year promise as He is an eternal one.
A commitment affirmed – Hebron is evidence of Caleb’s whole-hearted commitment to follow God. It was a commitment that did not waver even when he and Joshua were the only two people in the entire nation who believed God would give Israel the land. Even when the nation demanded his death by stoning for the mere suggestion. Our commitment wavers in the face of far, far less opposition.
A reward received – In Joshua 14:9, Caleb reminds Joshua, So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’ This was a restatement of God’s own declaration in Numbers 14:24. We don’t serve God for what we get out of it. That was Satan’s premise in his attacks on Job. However, it is undeniable that God takes note and rewards faithful obedience to Him. He rewards us with the intangible wonder of knowing Him more intimately, with the riches of His grace. At times, He rewards with the more tangible as a testimony to His goodness.
A new challenge undertaken – Caleb had no illusions about Hebron. He knew the Anakim, the giants, were there. He knew the cities were strong and fortified. But he also knew that God had kept him alive and strong, and if God continued to be with him, he would drive the Anakim out. Sometimes God responds to faithfulness, not with a promise of leisure, but the next –greater– task. May we meet them like Caleb, assured that the God who brought us to it, will bring us through it.
Next week: Mount Gilboa