Sunday, May 6, 2012

Never Too Old For A Fresh Start

1. Introduction:
In Joshua 14, we read about Caleb. Caleb is not among the prominent names of the Old Testament. No book bears his name. He is not listed among the kings, judges, prophets or leaders of Israel. However, Caleb serves as one of the most beautiful and powerful spiritual examples of Sacred Writ. Scholar believed that Caleb is a foreigner; his father is a proselyte from Moabites. In Egyptian, ‘Caleb’ means ‘a dog’.

Caleb served as one of the 12 spies sent by Moses to check out Canaan. With Joshua he spoke against other 10 spies:- (1). His own personal testimony, v.8, (2). The testimony of others about him, v.9, (3). The testimony of God concerning him, vv.10, 12, 14.

We are led to believe that we are struck in our ways and cannot change. We begin to think that the promise of a new life will not materialize. Caleb shows us how a fresh start becomes reality.

2. Caleb Did Not Become Bitter Because Of Others (vv.7-8):
One sad result of sin is that, innocent people often share the burdens of sin’s consequences.  Caleb had been faithful to God. Returning as a spy, he courageously stood against the odds to defend the right. With Joshua he pled to follow God’s directions. Because others lack faith, Caleb spent 40 more years in the wilderness. Forty years of insecurity and turmoil, when he could have lived in a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Ex.3:8).

Caleb did not allow bitterness over circumstances, others, or God to keep him from the promise of a new life. We must harbor neither bitterness nor resentment.

Missionary E. Stanley Jones explains the accuracy of the old expression, “Blind with rage.” Some doctors experimented with rats. They found that after the rats had been kept angry for an extended period of time, opaque films came over their eyes. Their sight was affected. Optometrists say that “they cannot examine the eyes of an angry man, for he cannot see straight.”

3. Caleb Did Not Grow Jealous Over God’s Blessings To others (v.6):
Caleb was one of only two faithful spies that had earlier entered Canaan. He had been faithful, yet no book in the Bible bears his name. He had been as true as Joshua, but Caleb was never appointed co-leader of the Israelites.  

There is no indication that allowed any temptation of jealousy to stand in his way of a fresh start in a new land. His prime desire was to possess the fulfillment of God’s promised blessings in his life.

4. Caleb Maintained His Faith (v.6):
Faith is more than marching across a dry riverbed or climbing over the ruins of Jericho’s fallen walls. Faith is holding unto the dream until it becomes reality.

Caleb held on to God’s promise for 40 years. He spent all those years in the wilderness, believing that someday he would dwell in Canaan.

Caleb maintained his faith because he was confident of his commitment to God.

5. Caleb Did Not Expect God To Do All The Work (vv.1-12):
We can abuse the privilege of prayer in an effort to get God to do all our work and to wage all our wars against sin. God seek to work with us.

We must work to fill classrooms and pews. We must do our share of work to present the gospel to our family and neighbors. We must boycott, picket, and stand up against evil in society. Then God brings victory, even if miracles are needed.

Caleb faithfully fought the battle, confident that God would bring victory.

6. Conclusion:
Like most Godly people, Caleb faced numerous circumstances that would hinder him from entering a new land and starting a new life. Powers of evil will always tempt us to bitter, jealous, and unfaithful. However, by yielding to that temptation, we lose the fulfillment of our glorious dreams for a fresh new start.

Suggested Hymns/Songs:

1.    There’s A New Song In My Heart
2.    Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
3.    Because He Lives
4.    I Know Whom I Have Believed
5.    The Solid Rock

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