- Sermon Notes
Give Me This Mountain
In Joshua 14, Israel has not only entered into the Promised Land, they have also conquered a great portion of the southern and northern territories. Now, they have come to the point where they are ready to divide the land by lots according to the tribes of Israel, just as God had instructed them.
This is where the story gets very interesting. The sons of Judah came to Joshua and Caleb said to him, "You remember the word which the Lord spoke to Moses concerning you and me at Kadesh Barnea. He swore to us that the land on which our foot has trodden shall be our inheritance. Now then, give me the land which was promised."
Caleb is an amazing person in the Bible and there is much to learn from his life. At this point he is 85 years old and he says that he is just as strong as when he was 40 years old! What he wants is to be given the most difficult land in Israel. It was the most difficult because it was hill country, with difficult terrain. But its greatest challenge was that the Anakim were there. The sons of Anak were large people and it was they who had put fear into the hearts of Israel at Kadesh Barnea 45 years earlier. Caleb had been waiting 45 years for an opportunity to face the sons of Anak and take the hill country that God had promised him.
The Promised Land is also a picture of a believer who is walking victoriously by faith. It takes courage to take hold of God’s promises and Caleb becomes a tremendous example for us of one who has an unwavering faith, who is wholeheartedly committed, and trusts in God’s Word.
I. Follow God Wholeheartedly
- In verse eight, Caleb compares himself to the ten spies who went up into the land of Canaan and came back with a discouraging report.
- The other spies made the heart of the people melt with fear, and this is where Caleb said, "But I followed the Lord my God fully."
- The results of faith versus fear become immediately evident to all.
- Five times in this section Caleb points out that he had followed the Lord wholeheartedly and that becomes key to understanding the strength of Caleb's faith.
A. Let faith strengthen your heart
- If you go back 45 years earlier, you can see that faith and fear have a direct impact on what happens in the heart.
- Caleb pointed out the problem perfectly when he said in verse eight that because of fear the heart of the people melted.
Numbers 13:30-31, 33, Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
- The problem was that the spies only saw the troubles and challenges. They saw that there were giants in the land, then they looked at themselves and saw themselves only as grasshoppers in their own eyes.
- In other words, the giants and the challenges were great and they were too small. They made a direct comparison between the problem and themselves and that is where they made a huge mistake!
Illus - The greatest fear that people have is the fear of the unknown. “What if this or that happens?” People often wonder. What if I lose my job, what if my marriage fails, what if I get sick, or what if my car breaks down?
- Caleb saw God’s promises when others saw giants.
- Like Caleb, we need to take hold of God’s perspective and trust every promise He gives us.
Isaiah 40:21, 22, 28, 29, Do you not know? Have you not heard? It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers… Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.”
- Faith is the key to experiencing the “life to the full” that Jesus promises us. But if you let it, fear will literally rob you of all that God promises.
- What we need is to receive God's Word, believe what God has said, and stand by faith.
Hebrews 4:1-2, Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
B. Spiritual strength is better than physical strength
- Caleb was 85 years old when he approached Joshua and asked for the challenge of taking the hill country from the Anakim. He then said that he was as strong at 85 as he was at 40.
Illus - What's amazing about that is that many people don't have much strength at 40. But Caleb had a harder life than most 40-year-olds today and it made him stronger.
Illus – Jack Lalanne was still going strong at 95 years old. At 70, he towed 70 boats with 70 people for 1.5 miles; while handcuffed and shackled.
- Though it is amazing that Caleb had such physical strength, his spiritual strength was far greater.
- I am convinced that there were men who were physically stronger in Israel, but were there any who were stronger spiritually?
Illus - We live in a society that puts great emphasis on physical appearance, but little value on our spiritual condition.
- While it’s tempting to focus on Caleb's physical strength, the most important part of the story was Caleb’s spiritual strength.
- In fact, the Apostle Paul puts it into perspective.
1 Timothy 4:8, for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
II. Adversity Makes Us Stronger
- Caleb was not afraid of adversity, he embraced it. He was convinced in his heart that God would do what He had promised.
- Nor do you ever read of Caleb making any excuses!
A. Excuses don't work with God
- There's an interesting story that's related to this in Joshua 17.
- The sons of Joseph, Ephraim and the half tribe of Manasseh, wanted more land not just because they were numerous, but because the challenges were too great. But Joshua rejected their request.
Joshua 17:17-18, And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, “You are a numerous people and have great power; you shall not have one lot only, but the hill country shall be yours. For though it is a forest, you shall clear it, and to its farthest borders it shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron and though they are strong.”
- Caleb could have easily asked for something easy. After all, at 85 years old it was time to pull back, to take life easy… right? Not for Caleb! He would not use his age as an excuse for not doing what God had asked him to do.
Illus - Moses was 80 years old when God called him to lead Israel out of Egypt. Moses tried one excuse after another, but God would have none of it.
- What's interesting is that there were others in the Scriptures who thought they were too young.
Illus – Jeremiah, when called by God, thought he was too young.
Jeremiah 1:6-7, Then I said, "Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth." But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.”
- The key is to continually bear fruit, regardless of your age.
Psalm 92:14-15, They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Illus – Now, I wonder what Caleb did for 45 years. I’m convinced he didn’t sulk, but spent his time encouraging the next generation to have faith and to be strong. There’s much for us to do as well.
B. Eat adversity for breakfast
- When the 10 spies who discouraged Israel said that there were giants in the land, Caleb responded with an interesting insight…
Numbers 14:9, “Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”
- In other words, when we have faith, adversity makes us stronger. In fact, God uses difficulties and adversities to give us greater faith and godly character.
Illus - When Jesus had finished teaching a crowd of 5,000, He turned to His disciples and said, "You give them something to eat!” And they responded, "We have here only five loaves and two fish."
- So He presented to them a problem. They were faced with an obstacle far greater than their ability. Jesus was using this challenge to strengthen their faith. Afterwards there were 12 baskets of bread, one for each apostle. Adversity made their faith stronger.
- In Joshua 14, Caleb understands this very well. He asks for a challenge. He looks forward to the opportunity to take on the Anakim and their great fortified cities.
- It's not ease that we need, we need challenges. There are walls to build, ministries to accomplish. As Jesus said, "The fields are ripe for harvest, but the workers are few."
C. Don’t rest until the last giant is gone
- Caleb defeated the giants and their fortified city. The city was renamed and the land was at peace.
- Unfortunately, adversity doesn't strengthen everyone. For some, it only knocks them down.
- The question is, what will we do when we get knocked down?
Illus – In July 1923, during a quarter mile race in England, Olympic champion, Eric Liddell tripped over the legs of JJ Gillies which caused him to fall off the track. By the time he got up, he was thirty yards behind the last place runner.
Psalm 27:1, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?
- Often, when we think of giants we think of external obstacles. But there are other giants to confront, the “giants within”. These giants come in the form of painful memories, habits or addictions, fleshly attitudes such as pride, selfishness, or unforgiveness. These can be the toughest giants to overcome.
- But God wants to confront those giants too so that we may enter into the freedom that Christ has purchased for us.
- But our freedom requires a choice…
Hebrews 12:1-2, Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,
- What giants are you facing? How long have they kept you from God’s blessings? Have you grown so weary that you’ve given up?
- God wants to give you a mountain of blessings. God wants to give you His Spirit so that you may say with Caleb, “My God is a giant slayer”!
1 John 5:4, For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.
Joshua 14:6-15 NASB
6 Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully. 9 So Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.'
10 Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12 Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken."