Give Me This Mountain
January 9-10, 2021
Pastor: I think why I like the new year, I like the theme of the scriptures that is highlighted in the new year. God makes all things new. I just love that theme of the Lord. Old things pass away, God makes all things new. It's a theme of the scriptures. I love the thought of new opportunities. I don't know about you. I just love dreaming of new things like, opportunities, vision, what God is going to do, but this year is different. This has been a different year. Here we are, we're still amid a pandemic, been going on now for more than a year. I think that in many ways, as we start this year, many people are starting it wearied, and tired, and beaten down.
It's been a year of spiritual battle as well. I will tell you, it's been a year of spiritual battle, and many people, I think, have sensed that spiritual aspect to it. Frankly, the enemy has made inroads into people's lives, but God is not through. I will tell you that God is calling people now to arise and to look at the challenges and the obstacles ahead with a strength of faith, which is why I love the passage that we're going to start out the year with. Because there are principles that God gives us in his word for overcoming. He gives examples, in the scriptures, of these heroes. Heroes of faith who have conquered great obstacles.
Lead the way, showed us what it means to be men and women of faith who trust in God with a boldness to say, "Give me this mountain." Now, that quote actually comes from one of my favorite people in the Bible. One of my favoritest people. That's a word. I made it up. It is one of my favorites, Caleb. I just love Caleb. He is an inspiration to me, and he is the one who makes this bold statement, "Give me this mountain." He says this when he's 85 years old. Then he says that he, at 85, is as strong as when he was 40. I think that's why he's my hero. It's like, "Yes, I want to be like that. I want to be strong all the way to the end."
In Joshua 14, we meet Caleb. We met him before, but in Joshua 14, we see one of the highlights of his life story. What had happened was this, Israel has now entered into that promised land that God had given. They conquered the areas of the North and the South. Now they are dividing the land, by lot, according to tribe as God had given instruction to Moses, so they're casting lots and dividing the land. Now, it is at this point that the sons of Judah, they come to Joshua led by Caleb, our hero here in the story. They come to Joshua, and Caleb says, "Now, you remember the word which the Lord spoke to Moses concerning you and me."
He speaking this personally to Joshua. "You remember what God said concerning you, Joshua, and me at Kadesh Barnea. You remember this? He swore to us that the land on which our foot walked shall be our inheritance. Now then, I'm here to say, 'Give me the land which was promised to me. Give me that mountain.'" Now, here's the thing, Caleb just asked for the most difficult land in Israel, when he said, "Give me this mountain." It was the most difficult. Not just because it was a hill country, and terrain was difficult. Not just because of that.
It's difficult because the people of Anak were there. The Anakim. They were large in stature, and it was because of the Anakim that fear struck in the hearts of Israel, and they wandered in the desert for 40 years. Caleb has been waiting now, 45 years they've been in the land of Jordan, or land of Israel, five. He's been waiting 45 years for the opportunity to face the sons of Anak, and to take that hill country, and to say to Joshua, "Give me that mountain." You just got to love Caleb. Caleb, he faces this adversity, this challenge at 85. That's why I tell you, he's just an example of a hero of faith. Unwavering faith, wholehearted commitment to the Lord.
He's taking God's word as a promise, and he's holding on to God's word as a promise. Caleb comes to Joshua, recounts the story, "Remember what God did. What happened 45 years ago." Because that was a turning point. You know there are turning points in your life. Hinge points, I call them. There's turning points. When this happens or that happens, monumental events that become turning points, and how you handle that turning point, will have a tremendous bearing on what happens next in your life. This is what happened 45 years before.
God had delivered Israel from Egypt. Remember that part of this story, after then miraculously passing through the Red Sea, the Egyptian army destroyed, you remember the story. They went to Mount Sinai, they received the law, and then they made a fairly straight run towards the promised land. They came to the very doorstep, and it was called Kadesh Barnea. This is a faith, this is a hinge point in the history of Israel. It's very important they recounted often. It was at this point that Moses sent in 12 men to spy out the land, to get a sense of what they were up against, but also to see, what is this land like?
They had not been in it for some 400 years. What was the land like? Bring back some of the fruits, some samples that we might taste, but give us a sense of the cities, the people, the armament. This is normal. They sent these 12 men to spy. When they came back, these 12, 10 of them came back with a report that was very discouraging. It just struck fear in the hearts of the people. The challenges are too great. Why did God even bring us to this place? We cannot face these challenges. There are giants in the land, the Anakim, they're speaking of here. The cities are great and fortified, the people are many. Sure, it's a land of milk and honey, but it's far too difficult to take.
Caleb and Joshua, they are the ones who stood up and said, "Men of Israel, no, God has given us a promise. Take hold of that promise." The people would not listen, and so God turned them back into the desert. That's why, if you ever wondered, why was Israel in the desert for 40 years? That's the reason right there. Because of what happened at Kadesh Barnea. Because of the lack of faith. It was a hinge point. When you come to a hinge point, that's like a time to alert your soul, this is an important point to make a decision.
He's been waiting 45 years for this moment. To say, "Give me that mountain. Give me that land that God has promised. Yes, the Anakim are there, in that mountain, but God will be with me." Now he's 85. I just love that story. All right, let's read the verses, and then let's look and see how God would apply it. In Joshua 14:6, "Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite came and said to him, 'Now, you know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses, the man of God, concerning you and me, at Kadesh Barnea.
I was 40 years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless, my brethren, who went up with me, made the heart of the people melt with fear, but I follow the Lord my God fully.'" I love the way he says my God. "I followed the Lord my God fully." In verse nine, "Moses swore on that day saying, 'Surely, the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance to you and your children forever because you have followed the Lord your God fully.'
And now, behold, the Lord has let me live, just as he said, these 45 years, from the time that the Lord spoke these words, to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness, and now, behold, I am 85 years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me. As my strength was then, so my strength is now. For war, and for going out, and for coming in. 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 shall drive them out as the Lord has spoken."
Joshua blessed him and gave him Hebron, to Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, as an inheritance. Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, until this day because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully. Now, the name of Hebron was formerly Kirjath-arba, the city of four. That's what it means. For Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim, and then the land had rest from war.
I. Have a Different Spirit
Love those verses, but there's much to apply. Starting with this, the example of Caleb. I start with this because I think it's really, perhaps the most significant aspect of it. Have a different spirit. He was different than the rest. It's very common for people, and it's a great struggle in many people's lives, it's very common for people to want to be accepted, to want to fit in, to want the approval of others. This is a difficulty in many people's lives. Joshua is a perfect example of why you don't always follow the crowd, because the crowd has made many mistakes. It's time to arise in leadership. Be different. Stand out. Stand out from the crowd, in a good way, right? In a godly way.
That's one of the great attributes. This comes right to us out of Numbers 14:22-24. God says, "All the men who have seen my glory and my signs, which I performed in Egypt, and in the wilderness, yet have put me to the test these 10 times, and have not listened to my voice shall, by no means, see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned me see it. But my servant, Caleb, because he has a different spirit, and he has followed me fully, I will bring him into the land," which he entered, "and his descendants shall take possession of it." Have a different spirit.
I just love that example. Be willing to stand. It's such an important thing for young people to take hold of this principle while you are young. Aviah, my granddaughter, we were just talking. I forgot, last night, two nights ago. We were just talking about this very thing. She was being very open. "I want to be loved, I want to be accepted, I want to have friends." I said, "Yes, but be very careful because those can often lead you in a very bad place. You need to stand up and be the leader. You need to be the one who sets the direction of God in your life and in those around you. Be different."
Caleb said that he followed the Lord his God fully. Wholeheartedly, it says. Which is to say not half-heartedly. Wholeheartedly is a great word. With all of your heart. That's why when God gave the greatest words that he ever spoke, he said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all." Wholeheartedly loving God. This is the difference. This is the key. This is the key to Caleb. This is the key to his strength. This is the key to his faith. Then he compares himself to these 10 spies who went up into the land of Canaan and came back with this discouragement report.
He says that, "The other spies made the heart of the people melt with fear, but I followed my God fully." See, notice fear melts the heart. Fear melts the heart, but faith strengthens the heart. The difference between faith and fear becomes immediately evident, because five times in this section, he points out that he followed the Lord wholeheartedly. Becomes the key to his understanding of his strength. If you want the strength of Caleb, I'll tell you, he's a hero. I want the strength of Caleb. I want to be like Caleb. Especially as I get older, the older I get, the more Caleb is my hero. I want to be like Caleb because of the strength that never fails.
If you want the spirit of Caleb, it means that you're willing to be different. You have a different spirit. You're willing to lead with your different spirit, because here's what we're going to see as we look at the scriptures. Faith will give you a different view. You're going to see, from the perspective of faith, you're going to see life differently. If you go back 45 years, you see faith and fear having a direct impact on what happened in the hearts of the sons of Israel. Caleb pointed out the problem perfectly, when he said in verse eight, that the people's heart melted with fear.
Though they found abundant fruit, they found the land flowing with milk and honey. The people are strong, and the cities are large and fortified, and the sons of Anak are there. They are too strong. It's too much. See, that's how they saw it. That's how they saw it. That was their view of it. That was their perspective, and they came to the wrong conclusion. In other words, fear transforms how you see it. It's how you interpret it. If you interpret life through the aspect of fear, will change how you see it. See, Caleb was different. Different spirit. I love what it says to us in Numbers 13, where we see this.
Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and this was what he said. "We should, by all means, go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it." The men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against these people, for they are too strong. There also, we saw the Nephilim. The sons of Anak," he says, are part of the Nephilim. Notice this, "We became like grasshoppers, in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." This is an important thing to take hold of. The 10 spies, they see the troubles and the challenges.
They saw there were giants in the land, and then they looked at themselves and saw themselves as grasshoppers. In other words, the giants and the challenges are great and they are small. They made a direct comparison between the problem and them. They are great, and we are small. The problem is great, and I am small. That's the mistake. There's a lot of problems in life. This is a problem-filled world. There are challenges after challenges in this life. How you see it, how you perceive of it, is key to how you face it. You know what, the greatest fear I think that people have perhaps is the fear of the unknown.
It starts out with what if? I don't know. What if? Then you can fill in the blank. What if? What if I lose my job? What if I get sick? What if I get a bad report? What if my finances collapse? What if this? What is that? I don't know. It's in the dark, and I'm afraid of the dark because I can't see. That's the whole thing. I can't see, and so I don't know. When I don't know, that makes me afraid because it could be bad. That's that what if fear. Caleb had a different spirit. That's why we love Caleb. He saw it differently. He saw the same problems, he saw the same challenges, he saw the same people, but he made a comparison between the problems and God.
That's the difference. That's the difference. He saw the difference, he made a comparison between the problems and God. The other spies made the comparison between the problems and themselves. Can I give you a perspective that God would give to us out of Isaiah 40. Isaiah 40 is one of those amazing chapters. You got to read the whole thing of it. Listen to these verses out of Isaiah 40. "Do you not know? Have you not heard that it is he who sits above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers."
A. Faith will give you a different view
I love that phrase right there. Have you not heard? It's 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? It is he who give strength to the weary. To him who lacks might, he increases power. In other words, you might see giants, but God sees grasshoppers. That's the difference. How God sees it. Faith is the key. Faith is the key to experiencing the life that God has for you. Is the key to life to the full.
Jesus says, "I've come that you have life, and have it to the full." The key is faith, because if you let it, fear will rob you. It will literally rob you of all of God's promises. Fear will rob you of every good thing. He says, "I believe God gave a promise, I believe God." You take hold of God's word. You stand by faith. Take hold of God's promises. It's like this in Hebrews 4:1-2. Here we are in the New Testament, and it speaks to that very moment. He says, "Let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering his rests," he makes a comparison, "That any one of you may seem to come short of it.
For indeed they," Israel, there in the desert, indeed, he says, "We have had good news preached to us just like they did, but the word that they heard did not profit them because it was not united by faith in those who heard it." See, the word that they heard did not profit them because it was not united by faith. Faith is the whole thing. Faith is the key to it. God gives his word, and then when you take hold of it and believe that promise by faith, that's the difference. Here's what we really recognize, it's an important point, spiritual strength is better than physical strength.
B. Spiritual strength is better than physical strength
Now, verse 11, Caleb was 85 years old, he says, he's as strong physically, at 85, as he was when he was 40. Now, what's amazing is that many people at 40 don't have much strength, actually. Why did Caleb have such strength? Partly because he had a hard life. Had a hard life. Harder than most 40-year-olds today, and it made him stronger. He had amazing physical strength, we know that, but I'll tell you, and this is the key to it, his spiritual strength was greater than his physical strength. We live in a culture that gives tremendous emphasis on physical appearance, but little on spiritual condition.
When someone sees someone who's physically strong or physically fit, they're often put on a pedestal, admired and desired. The emphasis on many today is on the outward appearance and the strength of the thing. Surely, physical strength is good. I was thinking of an example, many of you might remember Jack Lalanne. How many people remember Jack Lalanne? You have to be old to remember Jack Lalanne. Jack Lalanne actually, was one of the original physical fitness gurus in our country. You know jumping jacks? You're all familiar with jumping jacks? They were actually named after Jack Lalanne. He could do I don't know how many.
He could do 1,000 push-ups and 1,000 chin-ups, and just amazing. Every decade of his birth, he would do something to celebrate his 40th or his 50th or his 60th, and he started towing boats by holding a rope in his mouth, and swimming whatever distance, mile, mile and a half, towing 40 boats. One time the tide went against him, and it ended up being far longer than he anticipated. At 50, he did 50 boats. At 60, he did 60 boats. At 70, he did 70 boats with 70 people, for one and a half miles, while handcuffed and shackled.
II. Adversity Makes You Stronger
My friends, that is physical strength. While it's tempting to focus on Caleb's physical strength, "I was as strong at 85." You think, "Oh, that's really something. He's strong at 85." It is, but you must not miss that the most important part of Caleb was not his physical strength. It was his spiritual strength. I tell you, even though he was that strong, I tell you, I'm sure that there were men stronger than he was, physically, but I doubt that there were any stronger spiritually, than Joshua and Caleb. Here's what we also need to see, principle. Adversity makes you stronger. Adversity makes you stronger, or it can.
There's an interesting analogy between physical strength and spiritual strength. How do you gain physical strength? Any weightlifter will tell you; resistance. You must have resistance. In fact, they often call it resistance training. You must have resistance. You must have the weight working against you, in order for you to get stronger. Did you know that I used to lift weights when I was young? When I was young.
I know you can't tell it now. I actually entered a powerlifting contest when I was in college.
I know. See, resistance, you must have resistance to get stronger. That's the idea of weights. Because if you don't have resistance, it's like sitting in an easy chair being sedentary. It's resistance that makes an athlete stronger, and I tell you the same is true spiritually. Adversity makes you stronger. In fact, if you look through the scriptures, you will see an interesting theme. That when you see the favor of God manifested in people's lives, I mean, we have some amazing story of the favor of God poured out on some of the great men and women of faith in the Bible.
What you will see is that those favor of God episodes happened oftentimes in the distresses, and the troubles, and the trials, and the storms, and the challenges of their life. I could just go one after the other. Joseph, Daniel, David, Ezekiel, I could go on and on. Some amazing stories, but there were difficulties. Adversity makes you stronger. Spiritually, it's how you see it. When you see it from the perspective of faith. 1 Timothy 4:8, we have this great word by Paul, "Bodily discipline is of little profit." Now, it is of profit, but he says in comparison, it's little, but godliness is profitable for all things.
By the way, do I believe that it's good to be physically fit and all? I believe that, yes, because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I believe, yes, eat well, exercise, do all those things, and you'll have more years to glorify God. He says, "Godliness is better." Godliness is profitable for all things because it'll hold the promise for the present life and the life to come. See, notice in verse 12, Caleb's not afraid of adversity. He embraces adversity. He's convinced in his heart, that God would be with him in the adversity. That's the key. I'm not afraid of adversity, because I know that my God is with me in the midst of it.
A. Excuses don't work with God
I will not run from adversity, because I know that my God is with me in the midst of it. Here's another thing you'll learn from Caleb's life. Excuses don't work with God. You never read of Caleb making excuses. He never used his age as an excuse. He wasn't afraid of adversity, and he didn't use age. He waited 45 years. He's not going to back down now. Caleb was 85, he could have come to Joshua with a completely different speech.
He could have said, "Look, I'm 85, I've paid my dues. I've paid my dues. I've walked with these stubborn, unfaithful people for 45 difficult years. I'm 85 years old now, I'm done. I paid my dues. Here's what I'm asking for Joshua, I want a nice piece of property with a lake, and a cabin, a little dock, where I can do a little fishing. Look, I paid my dues. It's time to rest." That was not Caleb's speech. That's why we call him a hero. He's not afraid of adversity. He makes no excuses. In Joshua, there's this contrasting story. This is where the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, the tribes, they came to Joseph and they said, "Give us more land."
"Why do you want more land?" "Well, because the land that you gave us, there are Canaanites in it, and they're strong. So, give us more land. Besides, we're a great people. We need more land." Joshua said, "I'll give you more land, but it's going to be difficult land." This is Joshua 17:17-18. Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, and he said, "You're a numerous people, and you have great power. Okay, you will not have one lot only, but the hill country. For though it is a forest, you go up and clear it. To as far there's borders, it shall be yours." I can almost imagine Joshua.
"Now you get back out there. You shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong. Now you get back out there." What a different contrast. Caleb saying, "Give me that mountain." The sons of Joseph say, "Can you give me something a little easier?" No excuses. His age is not an excuse. Moses was 80 years old when God called him to lead Israel out of Egypt. Moses tried one excuse after the other. "I'm not eloquent of speech. They won't listen to me." "Let me tell you who I am," God said in response.
What's interesting is that there are other people in the scriptures who thought they were too young. There was Jeremiah. God called Jeremiah when he was just a young man. He said, "I'm going to make you a prophet to the nations," when he's a young man. This is Jeremiah 1:6-7, "Alas, Lord God, behold, I do not know how to speak because I'm just a youth." The Lord said, "Do not say I'm a youth because I send you." There's the key to it. "Because I am the one sending you, you go as I command you, and as I command you, you will speak."
Here's another great verse for the young. 1 Timothy 4:12. "Let no one look down on your youthfulness." This is a great word for young people. "I'm not like Caleb." Well, God will use you when you're young. "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Show yourself an example to those who believe." I'll tell you, that is a good word today. We need people like that today. The key to continually bearing that fruit and facing adversity, regardless of age, is that faith to believe that God is with you. Like Psalm 92:14-15, "They will still yield fruit in their old age. They shall be full of sap and very green."
See, now, there's the promise I'm going to take hold of. I'm going to believe God there, for that promise, to declare that the Lord is upright. I actually, I do take hold of this. I want to keep doing this till I'm 95. You be here too. Okay? Let's do this thing. He says, "He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him." Don't you ever wonder what Caleb did for 45 years while he was waiting? Sometimes I like to imagine, what did Caleb do for 45 years? He was the strong one. He had the faith to believe. He was ready to go up, but because of the unfaithfulness of that generation, the whole nation was turned back for 40 years in the desert.
Caleb didn't do that. That wasn't his doings. What did he do for 45 years? Did he like hold onto bitterness? Did he sulk? Did he go around and was like, "You people. It is because of you people"? You know what I'm convinced of? It doesn't say, but I can interpret, from the spirit of Caleb, I think what he would have done. I think he would have looked at the next generation and he would have said, "Young man there, arise with me. Believe God. Young man there, arise with me. One day we're going to take this land. One day we're going to walk in this land. We're going to do it. God said it, and I'm going to be with you. We're going to do it. Young man, arise. Believe God."
I tell you, we need people today, in our generation, my generation, who can speak to the next generation and say, "Young man, young woman, arise with me. God is still moving today. He is not finished yet." Amen? Can we give God praise?
B. Eat adversity for breakfast
Maybe the spirit and attitude of Caleb can be summarized like this, eat adversity for breakfast. Where does that come from? Actually, it comes from the scriptures. You say, "You're stretching in that little bit pastor on that one." No, no. When the 10 spies who discouraged Israel saw that there were giants in the land, here's what Caleb responded with. Numbers 14:9. He says, this is part of Caleb's speech. "Do not rebel against the Lord." This is Caleb speaking. "Do not fear the people of this land. They are our bread." That's where we get the phrase. They are our bread. In other words, we're going to eat adversity for breakfast.
Their protection has departed from them because the Lord is with us. See the difference that faith makes? Their protection is gone for them because God is with us. Do not fear them. When you have faith, adversity makes you stronger. When you have faith, adversity makes you stronger. When you have faith, adversity makes you stronger because God uses difficulties and adversities to give you greater faith and greater character.
Here's an example out of the New Testament, when Jesus had finished teaching this crowd of 5,000, this is one of the most famous scenes in the gospels. It's in every gospel. He turned to the disciples and he said, "Give them something to eat." Because they had come to him and said, "Dismiss them Lord, that they might go and find something to eat." He says, "You give them something to eat." They said, "We have five loaves and two fish, but what is that among so many?" He put forth to them an obstacle far greater than their ability. He put forth an obstacle far greater than their ability. He did that. He put forth an obstacle far greater than their ability.
He was using this challenge to strengthen their faith. Afterwards, as we know, the miracle of taking these five loaves and two fish, feeding the whole crowd of 5,000. That's just the men. Afterward, there were 12 baskets of bread. One for each apostle, to give a lesson. Adversity makes faith stronger. In Joshua 14, Caleb understands this. He asked for the challenge. He looked forward to the opportunity to take on the Anakim and their great fortified cities.
C. Don’t rest until the last giant is gone
I can tell you that life is filled with so much adversity, but it does not have to beat you down. It does not have to defeat you. When you arise in faith and believe that God is with you in the midst of it, and then can we say this? Don't rest until the last giant is gone. Caleb defeated the giants, and took that fortified city. "The city was renamed, the land was at peace," it says. What a great example, but adversity doesn't strengthen everyone. Adversity doesn't strengthen everyone. For some, it knocks them down. What's the difference? Some add faith to adversity, and that's what makes them stronger. What will you do? That's the question.
Life is filled with adversity. Life is filled with difficulties. Life is filled with challenges, and the favor of God is most seen in the midst of it. What will you do? There's one of the most inspiring stories. July, 1923, during the quarter mile race in England, Olympic champion, Eric Liddell, you know this story. The Chariots of Fire, the movie, was made on this story. There's this scene, this is such an inspiring scene. It makes me cry when I see it. He's in this race, and he trips over the legs of another runner, and he falls. By the time he gets up, he's 30 yards behind the last place runner.
What I love about this story is like most runners would have looked at that situation and realized there's not a chance of winning, and just said, "He's 30 yards." That's further than that wall. Behind the last place runner, and he falls. Most people would have just said, "That's it." You've got to love, he gets up and he starts running. It reminds me-- I'm sorry, I'm distracted here. It reminds me of a funny thing. I was playing ping pong with someone. Okay, this is total distraction. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry. I was playing ping pong with someone, and it was like 20 to a 9 or something. I had the nine. I said, "Okay, let's go." First he laughed and he says, "You know what I love about you? You still think you can win."
"Serve the ball, man." Amen?
Okay, back to my story. Eric can't stop and he starts running, in slow motion.
At least that's what it was in the movie. The music started in the background. At least that's what it was the movie. [sings] I'm telling you, it's so inspiring, because I don't know what it is about when they take that last turn, that last turn before the finish line, whenever my kids ran in track, it was that last turn. That's when I start crying. Right there. He takes the last turn and you can just see, he's passing one after the other. He caught every last one of them and run, and he won the race with like three feet of distance between him and the second place runner.
Someone asked him like, "Why did you run?" I love his answer. He was a strong Christian, you might remember. He said, "God made me with a purpose." I love that, right there. That's a faith understanding. "God made me with the purpose, and he also made me fast." Then he said, "When I run, I feel his pleasure." I love that, right there. "When I run-- He made me this way. He made me fast. When I run, I feel his pleasure. When I run, as he made me to run, he made me fast, so I feel his pleasure when I run." God made you with a purpose. God made you with a purpose. When you fulfill, when you run in that purpose, you will feel his pleasure. Oh, what a joy it is to feel the pleasure of God on your life when you know that you're doing what God wants you to do. The pleasure of God is a wonderful thing. To feel the pleasure of God, because God made you with purpose. Is what David in Psalm 27:1.
Psalm 27 is amazing. "The Lord is my light, the Lord is my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life, whom shall I dread?" David understood adversity, and this was his perspective. If the Lord is my light, and if the Lord is my salvation, then whom should I fear? Add faith to adversity. If you eat adversity for breakfast, make sure you add faith to it. Oftentimes, we think of obstacles, giants, we think of things out there, troubles out there. There are many troubles and giants out there, but there are also giants within. Obstacles within. Maybe painful memories, they've become an obstacle.
Habits, addictions, fleshly attitudes, pride, selfishness, unforgiveness, there's so many. These can be difficult obstacles to overcome. Someone's hurt you and it's caused you to fall down, what do you do when you fall down? Many people, when they fall down, they stop running right where they fall. God wants you to get up. Not to be afraid of the adversity, the fact that you just fell down. To get up and to run in the purpose for which God made you, that you might feel the pleasure of God. That you might live in the freedom that Christ has for you. Freedom requires a choice.
Hebrews 12:1. "Let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter or finisher of our faith." What giants? What adversity? What challenges are you facing? Have they kept you from God's blessing? Have you grown so weary that you give up? Did you stop running right where you fell? God wants you to get up. Not to be afraid of adversity. Fear melts the heart. Add faith to adversity, and say with a boldness of faith, "Give me this mountain. Give me this mountain. I want to live in the purpose for which you made me. I want to walk, I want to run in the purpose for which you made me, that I might feel your pleasure, oh, God."
Let's pray. Father, thank you so much for your grace on our lives, for the Holy Spirit that just nudges us and speaks truth to our hearts. God, thank you for this example that you put in the scriptures to encourage us, because there is so much adversity. Every person knows that very well. What an example, of adding faith to adversity, to believe that God is with us in the midst of every storm and trial and challenge, whether the giants, mountains, or external out there, or in the heart or the soul.
There's too many people who, they stop running right where they fell, and yet God would use such a word to speak truth, and to speak a word of encouragement to say to each one, "God wants you to get up. Okay, you fell. All right, but get up." "You don't understand pastor, they're all-- I'm so far behind now." God made you with a purpose. Get up and run in it, and you'll feel his pleasure. That is what gives the meaning that God means for you to live. The meaning of life, to feel his pleasure, to walk in it with purpose. Get up.
How many would say to the Lord, "Yes, I will. Yes, I will. Yes, I will serve. Yes, I will. I will run. I will get up. I will add faith to this adversity. I will believe"? Would you just say that to the Lord by just raising your hands to the Lord? Yes, Lord, I believe. I will run. I will get up. I will run in the purpose for which you made me, and I will feel your pleasure. Father, thank you for that. What a joy to have your pleasure over us as we live our lives. That's the joy that fills the heart. That's the meaning and purpose for which you made us. We honor you, we thank you, we give you joy, in the name of the Lord. Everyone said. Let's give the Lord praise and glory and honor. Can we do that?
- Sermon Notes
Give Me This Mountain
January 9-10, 2021
There is something about a new year I love. One the themes of the Bible is that God makes all things new and beginning a new year reminds me of that great truth. “Old things pass away and God is making all things new.” I love the thought of new opportunities and dreaming about what God may want to do with the year before us.
But this year is different. We’re amid a pandemic that has been going on for more than a year. It’s caused many to grow weary and get beaten down. It’s been a year of spiritual battle as the enemy has made inroads into people’s lives.
But God isn’t through yet. God is calling people to arise and look at the challenges and obstacles with strength of faith.
There are principles for overcoming. God gives examples of heroes of faith who have led the way and shown us what it means to be men and women who trust in God and to say with great boldness of faith, “Give me this mountain!”
That quote comes from one of my favorite people in the Bible. Caleb. His story is an inspiration because when he makes that bold statement, “Give me this mountain,” he was 85 years old and was as strong then as he was at 40!
In Joshua 14, Israel has entered the Promised Land and at this point they have conquered a great portion of the southern and northern territories. They are dividing the land by lots according to the tribes of Israel, as God had instructed.
The sons of Judah, led by Caleb, came to Joshua, the leader of Israel, and Caleb said, “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. Give me this mountain.”
Caleb just asked for the most difficult land in Israel. It was the most difficult not only because it was hill country, with difficult terrain; its greatest challenge was that the Anakim were there. The sons of Anak were a people large in stature. It was the Anakim who had put fear into the hearts of Israel at Kadesh Barnea 45 years earlier. It was because of the fear of the Anakim that Israel spent 40 years in the desert!
Caleb waited 45 years for an opportunity to face the sons of Anak and take the hill country that God had promised.
Caleb faces adversity with unwavering faith. He is wholeheartedly committed to the Lord. He trusts in the promises of God’s Word.
Caleb came to Joshua and recounted the story of what had happened 45 years earlier. It was a turning point in the history of Israel and Caleb played a key role in what took place.
God delivered Israel from Egypt. After miraculously passing through the Red Sea, they made a fairly straight run toward the Promised Land. They were right at the door; they could have tasted it. Well, actually they did taste it.
They sent twelve spies to assess the land and its people. Ten spies came back with a report that struck fear in the hearts of the sons of Israel. Only Caleb and Joshua stood for God’s promises, but they could not cause the people to believe. Because of their lack of faith, Israel spent the next 40 years in the desert until that entire generation died in the desert. Only Caleb and Joshua entered the land God had promised.
Ever since that moment, Caleb waited for the opportunity to say to Joshua, “Give me that mountain! Give me the land God promised. The Anakim are there in those mountains, but God will be with me.”
I. Have a Different Spirit
- It’s common for people to want to fit in, to be accepted, to be like everyone else, to be approved by men.
- Be different, stand out from the crowd, but in a good and godly way. That’s one of the great attributes of Caleb…
Numbers 14:22-24, “All the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listen to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.”
- Verse 8 — Caleb said that he followed the Lord his God fully; wholeheartedly, which is to say, not half-heartedly.
- Verse 8 — Caleb compares himself to the 10 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, “But I followed the Lord my God fully.”
- Notice — fear melts the heart.
- The difference between faith versus fear become immediately evident.
- 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.
- If you want the strength of Caleb, you need the spirit of Caleb. It means that you’re different; you have a different spirit.
A. Faith will give you a different view
- If you go back 45 years, you see faith and fear having a direct impact on what happened in the hearts of the sons of Israel.
- Caleb pointed out the problem perfectly when he said in verse 8 that because of fear the heart of the people melted.
- When the spies came back with their report, they did find abundant fruit and a land flowing with milk and honey, but, they said, “The people there are strong, the cities are large and are fortified, and…the sons of Anak are there. We cannot go up. They are too strong for us.”
- That was how they saw it, that was their perspective, and they came to the wrong conclusion. In other words, fear transformed what they saw and how they saw it.
- Not so with Caleb…
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.”
- Ten spies saw the troubles and challenges. They saw the 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 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… What if this or what if that happens?” 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 the same problems and challenges, but he made a comparison between the problems and God; the other spies made a comparison between the problems and themselves.
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.”
- In other words, you might see giants, but God sees grasshoppers.
- Faith is the key to experiencing “life to the full” Jesus promises. But if you let it, fear will literally rob you of all that God promises.
- Receive God’s Word, believe what God has said, and stand by faith. Take hold of God’s word, take hold of God’s promises – 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
- Verse 11 — 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 – That’s amazing because many people at 40 don’t have much strength. What made Caleb strong at 40? Caleb had a hard life, harder than most 40-year-olds today and it made him stronger.
- Caleb had amazing physical strength, but his spiritual strength was far greater.
Illus – We live in a culture that puts great emphasis on their physical appearance, but little value on their spiritual condition. When people see someone of great physical strength they are often put on a pedestal; admired and desired.
Illus – Jack Lalanne was a fitness guru that was still going strong at 95 years old. In fact, jumping jacks were named after him! At 70, he towed 70 boats with 70 people for 1.5 miles; while handcuffed and shackled.
- While it’s tempting to focus on Caleb’s physical strength, the most important part of the story was his spiritual strength.
- No doubt, there were men who were physically stronger in Israel, but I doubt if there were any who were stronger spiritually.
II. Adversity Makes You Stronger
- There’s an interesting analogy between physical and spiritual strength. What is the key to physical strength? Any weightlifter will tell you. It’s resistance.
- Having no resistance is like sitting in an easy chair and being sedentary. It’s resistance that makes an athlete stronger.
- The same is true spiritually. Adversity makes you stronger.
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.
- Verse 12 — Caleb was not afraid of adversity, he embraced it. He was convinced in his heart that God would do what He had promised.
- Here’s another life lesson from the different spirit in Caleb…
A. Excuses don’t work with God
- You never read of Caleb making excuses! He wasn’t afraid of adversity and he didn’t use age as an excuse. He waited 45 years for this day!
Illus – Caleb could have come to Joshua with a completely different speech. He could have said, “Look, I’ve walked with these stubborn, unfaithful people 45 difficult years. I’m 85 years old. I’ve paid my dues. I’d like a nice little piece of property with a lake, a cabin, and little dock where I can fish. I’ve paid my dues, it’s time to rest.”
- There’s an interesting story that relates to this in Joshua 17.
- The sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, came to Joseph asking for more land because Canaanites were in the land they were first given. They were difficult to drive out. The challenges were too great. “And besides,” they were saying, “we are a numerous people.”
- Joshua responded with a challenge. He would give them more land, but it would be difficult land, filled with challenges…
Joshua 17:17-18, 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.”
- In other words, no excuses. Caleb 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. “Let me tell you who I am,” God was saying.
- What’s interesting is that there are others in the Scriptures who thought they were too young.
Illus – God called Jeremiah when he was just a young man, saying, “I’m going to make you a prophet for the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:6-7, Then Jeremiah said, “Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.” But the Lord said, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.”
1 Timothy 4:12, Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
- The key is to continually bear fruit and facing adversity regardless of 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 – I sometimes wonder what Caleb did for those 45 years. I’m convinced he didn’t sulk but spent his time encouraging the next generation to have faith and to be strong. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” That’s what God has called us to do as well.
- The spirit and attitude in Caleb are like this…
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 you have faith, adversity makes you stronger. In fact, God uses difficulties and adversities to give you 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.”
- They were facing 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 looked 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, people to help. 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. What’s the difference? Some add faith to adversity and that’s what makes them stronger.
- The question is, what will you do when you 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. He attacked the track and not only caught up to his competitors but won the race by three yards! Eric Liddell was a strong Christian, and his perspective was this, “God made me for purpose; He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.”
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?
- Add faith to adversity. If you eat adversity for breakfast, be sure to add faith to it.
- Often, when we think of giants we think of external obstacles. But there are other giants to confront, the “giants within.” These giants may come in the form of painful memories, or habits or addictions, fleshly attitudes such as pride, selfishness, or unforgiveness. These can be the toughest giants to overcome.
- Some people have fallen, they’ve tripped; and they stopped running right where they fell.
- God wants you to confront those giants, too, so you may have the freedom Christ has purchased for you.
- But freedom requires a choice…
Hebrews 12:1, 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? Did you stop running right where you fell?
- God wants to give you a mountain of blessings. God wants to give you His Spirit so you may say with Caleb, “Give me that mountain. God isn’t finished with me yet!”
Joshua 14:6-15 NASB
6 Then the sons of Judah approached 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 on account of [a]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 brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people [b]melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully. 9 So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘The land on which your foot has walked shall certainly be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.’ 10 And 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 on 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 [c]drive them out just as the Lord has spoken.”
13 So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance. 14 Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully. 15 Now the name of Hebron was previously [d]Kiriath-arba; for Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land was at rest from war.