After the exodus from Egypt, and following the giving of the Law Covenant at Mount Sinai, God led the Israelites to the southern borders of Canaan, the land of promise. Caleb, of the tribe of Judah, and eleven leaders from the other tribes formed the ruling structure of Israel, with Moses as the recognized head of the nation. Nevertheless, all were subject to God and his commandments.
In Numbers 13:1-3 (New King James Version), we read, “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, everyone a leader among them.’” These men were to spy out the land and see whether the people who dwelt in it were strong or weak, few or many, whether the cities they inhabited were like (tent) camps or strongholds, whether the land was rich or poor, and whether forests were there or not. They were also to bring some fruit of the land back as evidence of its productiveness.—vss. 18-20
The twelve spies travelled through the land, taking forty days of careful inspection, and returned with a good report of its fruitfulness, bringing back with them grapes, figs, and pomegranates. But they also declared that the people were strong, the cities fortified and very large. Then, ten of the spies discouraged any hope in the people of conquering it, stating they looked like grasshoppers in their own sight compared to the inhabitants of the land.—vss. 27,28,31-33
However, Caleb and another leader, Joshua, did not so react. Instead, they declared faith in the power of God to defeat any enemy, no matter how unlikely from a human perspective. God rewarded the faith of Caleb (and Joshua) by keeping them alive through the forty years of wilderness wandering and bringing them into possession of the land of Canaan. All the other men of Israel from twenty years old and upward died in the wilderness. (Num. 14:1-10,22-24; 32:11,12) Thus, Caleb became a good example of faithfulness where trust in God brings victory and reward.
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