Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Man Who Would Not Quit (Joshua 14:6-14)


Have you ever had a dream for a long time and finally went after that dream? Happily, then the dream became a reality. An eminent psychiatrist notes, “Observing the lives of people who have dreamed and achieved…mastered adversity, I have repeatedly noticed that they have established goals, and irrespective of obstacles, sought with all their efforts to achieve them. From the moment they fixed on an object in their mind, and sought to concentrate their energies on a specific goal they began to surmount the most incredible odds.”

Let’s look at a senior citizen, named Caleb, who did just that. The children of Israel are in the land.  The allotments are being carried out. Caleb had a dream-to de- country, He asks for this land in Josh. 14:6-12. What do we learn from Caleb’s experience about being successful in realizing dreams and achieving goals? Five things stand out.


2.1. I Must See Something on the Screen of My Mind:

Three young bricklayers were asked what they were doing. The first replied, “I’m laying brick.”

The second man said, “I’m making $9.00 an hour” The third man answered, “I’m building the world’s greatest cathedral.” If you were asked to predict the bricklayer most likely to be successful in life, which one would you choose? Undoubtedly the one with vision!

Caleb had a vision. Forty-five years earlier he was one of the spies sent into the Promised Land. While there, Mount Hebron caught his eye. He thought to himself, “That’s where I am going to live! For the next 45 years Caleb dreamed of his fields and the home he would build with a large porch overlooking the valley. Every evening he went over the plans. Ten thousand times in his mind he laid those bricks. He had it all worked out and imprinted on the screen of his mind. He had 45 years in which to plan it. No Wonder he was so eager to get to it.

In the America Hall at Disney World are statues of early pioneers of the United States.  A plaque says, “Throughout the centuries there were men who took steps down new roads, armed with nothing but their vision.”

2.2. I Must Have a Forward Focus:

Caleb’s dream kept him looking ahead. Paul said, “I do not consider myself yet to have hold of it. But one thing I do…I press on toward the goal” (Phil. 3:13.14). David Livingstone stood in England pleading for missionaries to help him reach the continent of Africa. His one arm hung limply at his side, paralyzed from a lion attack. Someone asked, “Where do you go next?” The aged missionary replied, “Next? Anywhere, as long as it’s forward!” Not only must I have a vision, but also I must have determination.


In determination Paul said, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (Phil.4:13 RSV). In determination Caleb said, “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive…So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out…Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day……..the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out” (vv.10-12).

Alexander the Great lay dying, surrounded his generals. One of them timidly asked him, “Sir, you are dying. To which one of us generals are you going to leave your kingdom?” Alexander raised himself on his elbow and said, “Who gets the kingdom? It is for the man who will seize it!”


 4.1.  Caleb was set back 45 years:

Because of Israel’s refusal to enter the Promised Land over 40 years earlier, they had to spend  all of that time in the desert, including Caleb! How unfair!  That whole generation died in the desert, an average of 140 deaths a day. Caleb, in self pity, could have wondered when his turn would come, “I’m never going to see the Promised Land again

Instead, Caleb sat in front of his tent each day, going over the blueprints, designing and redesigning the house he planned to build on Hebron.

4.2.  Caleb was 85 years old!

But he did not consider his age a liability. The national Council on Aging hired the Harris Poll to interview 1,500 individuals under 65 and another 2,500 over that age. The younger ones thought that older people sleep and sit around a lot, that loneliness and poor health are their most serious problems and they have trouble keeping busy. The response of the other group indicated, however, that these conditions are limited to the minority. Only 31 percent of those over 65 were inactive. Only 12 percent complain of loneliness. While 56 percent of the younger group thought that the elderly were disturbed by “not feeling needed” this was true of only 7 percent of the senior citizens. Most had plenty to do and were still functioning well.

 Have you ever heard older people in the church saying “Don’t ask me to do anything in the church! I used to do a lot, but I have served my time!” what if God said that to us!


Opportunity knocked at my door, and I said, ‘Go away! I am expecting opportunity.’ And opportunity went away.” 

 At the turn of the century, a man who owned and operated Asa Chandler’s Drugstore in Atlanta missed a tremendous opportunity. His drugstore had a special nerve tonic mix that doubled as a cough syrup. They used to dilute the strength of the mixture by adding water. One day Asa unwillingly mixed the syrup with carbonated water. To his surprise, it tasted good! Sugar was added Coca-Cola was born.

 He began to sell this drink at the soda fountain in his drugstore. A business by the name of Thomas tried to persuade him to have the drink bottled and distributed to a larger market. “Oh, no,” said Asa, “people won’t buy it. I will just sell it at my soda fountain. But if you want to waste your money bottling it and trying to sell it have it all!” This man missed his Coca-Cola mountain and settled for a soda fountain molehill.

 Caleb was quick to recognize opportunity. In spite of his age, Caleb seized it!


6.1.  Caleb was willing to pay a price.

Most people at Caleb’s stage of life would say, “Joshua, I am 85 now and on Medicare. So forget the mountain! All I need is a molehill, a pension, and a cottage by the sea. Just something small and simple on the flat land in territory that has already been conquered.”

Not Caleb, though! He said, “I want a mountain in the unconquered territory. Don’t you worry. I will drive the Anakites out myself!” For two reasons Caleb knew that he was wanting the most difficult piece of territory to capture.

6.1.1. The Anakites lived there. They were a race of giants 7 feet tall (Joshua 14:12)!

6.1.2. The Anakites had the advantage of high ground. Military strategists tell us that in battle the thing to do is gain the high ground. It gives your army a tremendous advantage. Caleb had no illusions about any kind of an easy victory in taking the high country with giants. He was willing to pay the price for his territory.

6.2.  Many people do not want to pay a price for success.

6.2.1. Some people want to coast through life. Invariably these people do not taste success. These people avoid challenges at work and, consequently, never advance in their careers. In the church these people tend to be mediocre Christians. They avoid the challenge of accomplishing something for God and His kingdom, “Forget the mountain and the giants! Give me a molehill in the flat country.”

6.2.2. If I am doing something for God only because it is easy and convenient. I doubt that the Lord is particularly impressed with my service. David said he would not give to the Lord that which cost him nothing (2Sam.24:24). Worthwhile things cost! Caleb said, “I am going to pay the price! Forty years old or 85, I am willing to travel uphill and take on the giants and get my mountain!”


Do you have a dream? Do you have a goal you want to reach? If so, (1) It begins with a vision. See it on the screen of your mind. (2) Be determined (3) Recognize opportunities. (4) Do not allow setbacks or failures to be deter you. (5) Be willing to pay the price.


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