Joshua-Wayne Barber/Part 16
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2004|
|God’s Divine Patience. And I’m not talking about how He deals with us; I’m talking about what He creates within us that causes us to be willing to wait upon the Lord.|
God’s Divine Patience (Joshua 14)
Would you turn with me to Joshua 14. You’re going to wonder why I’m skipping the last of chapter 10, chapter 11, chapter 12, and chapter 13. Well, I’ll explain it to you, so quit worrying. I want to talk today about God’s Divine Patience. I’m not real good on titles, but that’s the best I could come up with. God’s Divine Patience. And I’m not talking about how He deals with us; I’m talking about what He creates within us that causes us to be willing to wait upon the Lord. Patience is not gritting your teeth, forcing a grin, and bearing it. That’s not what patience is.
I thought of what it wasn’t. When I was growing up, my father took me fishing when I was little. I caught my first limit of rainbow trout when I was 8 years old—on a fly rod, by the way. Of course, I don’t know how to do a lot of things, but I at least know that much. Daddy started teaching me to bass fish at Carvins Cove Lake outside of Roanoke, Virginia. We’d rent a little boat. We’d have to rent a 12-footer because that’s all we could afford. We had a motor. Yes, sir, we had a motor, three and a half horse power! That thing! You could crawl faster than that motor would push you around the lake. But we were proud. We didn’t know what a trolling motor was. Back in those days they didn’t even have one.
And so, as we were moving down the lake, early in the morning, Daddy would have to take an extra little sack with him, because I would hyperventilate. And Daddy would have to go, “Okay, son, here’s the sack, breathe in the sack.” I’d get so excited! I just love to fish! And we’d get into that cove, perfect. We knew where to fish; we’d been there before. And moving into that cove early in the morning, the fog was just beginning to lift, daybreak just beginning to start. You could see just outlines of things.
Daddy would always say to me, “Wayne, son, be quiet.” We’re in a metal boat and it makes a lot of noise. Be quiet! I would try. I really would try! I want you to know that. God is my witness, I tried to be quiet. But I was so excited. I was ready to go.
I remember one morning trying to put my foot down, and the boat turned. And I tried to turn around and when I did, I didn’t realize the tackle box was sitting there, because it was still dark enough I didn’t see it. The tackle box was metal also. It was open. And I kicked it, and the whole thing fell over in the bottom of the boat. It was the most awful noise you’ve ever heard in your life. And I could hear the fish, “Okay, guys, they’re here, let’s go.” You know!
And my dad, bless his heart—this is not what we’re talking about today—he was just gritting his teeth. And I knew he was trying his best, “…, 101, 102, 103, 104.” I knew he loved me. That’s not what I’m talking about, today. That’s not the patience I’m talking about; that’s just grin and bear it. That’s not it!
What I want to talk about is what God produces: a divine patience in our life that enables us to wait upon Him for the promises He’s implanted in our lives. We all know, or we should know, that this does come from Him. Galatians 5:22 says, “But the fruit of His Spirit is love, and then out of that comes joy, and peace, and [what’s the next one?] patience.” We know where it comes from. Anybody with any spiritual sense knows that divine patience has to flow out of God. It’s not something we can come up with. It’s something He produces in our life.
But I’m not going to talk about the source of it, where it comes from. What I want to talk about is the other side. What about us? What is it that we can do, or what is it about our lives, what position can we get into, so that we can receive that divine presence? It’s a part of His life. And as we are possessing His life—we’re studying Israel; they’re possessing the land, but we don’t have a land, we have a life—and as we possess Him, part of that will be an ability to wait upon Him.
Today as we get into chapter 14, God is working in mighty power, all of His almighty power in the lives of the Israelites. Why? Because they’ve returned to obeying Him. Now that they are yielded to Him and His will, their enemy is completely helpless; helpless before them as they possess the land that God has given to them. God has just absolutely crippled the enemy. The enemy has no power. God told them in chapter 1, very clearly, “No man will be able to stand before you. No man can take from you what I have given to you, if you’ll consider every step holy unto Me.” Remember that in chapter 1?
And what a beautiful picture this is to you and me. As we possess the life that Christ has given to us, as we learn to say yes to Him, and we take every step and make it holy unto Him—when we’re yielded to Christ, and when we’re saying yes to Him—we experience His power. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. Our enemy is the world, the flesh, and the devil. And all of our enemies, the spiritual enemy that we come up against, is immediately defeated when we say yes to Christ. We saw this last time. It is confused. It is crushed. It is consumed in an instant. When we say yes to God, sin has no power in our lives.
Victory is never us trying to overcome sin; victory is Jesus who has overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. It’s Him living in us, overcoming us. Once Israel listened to God, the last part of chapter 10, chapter 11, and chapter 12 is simply a blow-by-blow account of them possessing the land God said was theirs. It’s history. When a believer gets into a yielded position, when a believer says yes to God, the rest of his life is history—it’s victory, after victory, after victory and this begins to be our testimony to others.
In chapter 13 Joshua’s gotten old. That happens to us, you know. In verses 1-6 God outlines for Joshua and in his old age that he’s gotten to, He outlines for him the land that has not yet been conquered. Now He said in 13:1, “Now Joshua was old and advanced in years when the Lord said to him, ‘You’re old and advanced in years [Ha! Ha! He just wanted to make sure Joshua understood that]. And very much of the land remains to be possessed.”
Now the phrase, “was old and advanced in years,” means exactly that. In fact, in the Hebrew it means toward death. You’re advancing quickly towards death. He could have been 90 or 100 years old. We’ll see later on that Caleb was 85, so this is not a difficult thing to grasp. God’s bringing Joshua’s old age up probably explains why He tells him to divide the land in verses 2-6. You see, Joshua was probably under the impression that God wanted him to divide the land once it was completely conquered; but God says no, you’re getting old, we need to divide it now. We need to divide it now.
Verse 7, “Now, therefore, apportion this land for an inheritance [now watch carefully] to the nine tribes and the half tribe of Manasseh.” Now the term nine and a half tribes, if you’ll remember, we’ve studied this, but in case you’ve been with us, there were two and a half tribes that didn’t want to go over to have the land in Canaan. They wanted their land on the other side of the Jordan. That was the tribe of Rueben, the tribe of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh. So there was nine and a half tribes—the other half of Manasseh plus nine tribes—that would actually inherit the land of Canaan. Canaan itself was to be divided amongst these nine and a half tribes.
Verse 8 explains that other half of Manasseh: “With the other half tribe which is Manasseh, the Reubenites, and the Gadites received their inheritance which Moses gave them beyond the Jordan to the East just as Moses the servant of the Lord gave to them.” Verses 9-13 of chapter 13 give the general boundaries of these two and a half tribes on that other side of the Jordan. Verse 14 shows that the tribe of Levi doesn’t get any land. You say, now wait a minute, Wayne. That’s not fair. Hold on! They were the priestly tribe. Even back in the Old Testament, they were to be supported by the tithes and the offerings of the people. Way back in the book of Joshua we find that. The rest of chapter 13 gives the actual specifics, not just general, but specifics of that land that was to be given to the two and a half tribes.
Now chapter 14 begins to deal with the other nine and a half tribes. It gets into it, and actually carries us all the way through chapter 19. But tucked into chapter 14 is the story of a man by the name of Caleb that’ll just absolutely bless your heart. God had given him a promise, and now he wanted more than ever to possess what God had given to him, individually to him. God is not concerned with the whole nation—just concerned with the nation—God is also concerned with individuals. Yes, He wants the nation of Israel to possess the land that is theirs, but He’s also concerned with individuals, and Caleb is an individual.
God had given Caleb an individual promise 45 years before through Moses, and Caleb is now wanting to go ahead and possess what God had said. Well, he wants to experience his patience. You see, Caleb wanted to experience His patience. Not Caleb’s, but God’s that He produced in Caleb. Caleb was willing to wait for a promise that was very specific 45 years before. He was willing to wait until God was ready for that promise to be fulfilled. This is where I’m headed today. Look at this man who was willing to wait upon the Lord. What God promises, God is faithful and just to accomplish it in our lives, but now listen—in His time. We must understand that God will speak to our hearts and promise us, but we must also understand it will only come about when God is ready to bring it about.
These times, you may not understand where I’m going today. It comes when you’re in the land already. You’re already possessing the life. It comes when you’re in those times of being in the Word and you’re just absorbed with God and His word and His spirit is just so surrounding you. And God, off of the pages of scripture, takes a verse—never out of context in the sense that it will never violate what’s said there—but He’ll take that verse and He’ll burn in into your heart, and God will give you a promise. God will so speak it to you that nobody can take that from you. Now, He will bring that to pass only when He’s ready to bring that to pass.
David was the king of Israel long before he ever actually took the throne. Nehemiah, I mean, you can just walk through the Old Testament and see what God had said specifically to individuals, but yet many times it was a long time before that came to fruition. And what we want to talk about is waiting upon the Lord; the divine patience to let God speak to us and then to let Him bring about what He said in His time. Three things are involved with this divine patience of waiting upon the Lord.
Maybe you’ve been in your time alone with God and God’s given you a promise about your children, but you’ve not seen it come to fruition. But yet, God spoke to your heart. It’s not something you went to find and then asked God to bless it. No, you were seeking God, not the promise. But the promise came to you, the ramah, the subjective spoken Word of God to your heart. And He just burned it into your heart. And this promise is so deep inside of you. Now, are you filled with the divine patience to wait for the timing of the Lord to bring this about?
Being satisfied with God—just God
Three things are involved with this divine patience that we see in Caleb that we can grow from today. First of all, it involves being satisfied with God, just God. That’s what it involves. You and I will never have patience in this life to wait on the promises of God until we come to the place that we’re just simply satisfied with God.
Verse 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.’” Now in our text here, they haven’t divided the land with the nine and a half tribes, and what’s happening is an interlude. And Caleb is coming to Joshua with a very special request. In verse 6 he’s reminding Joshua of a promise that God made to both of them. He doesn’t speak yet of the specific promise that God has made to Caleb and this has been 45 years. He reminds Joshua of the promise that God said “You and Caleb will absolutely possess the land. You will go over into that land.”
Remember, they were two of the spies that had said, hey, let’s go, let’s obey God back when Israel had the first chance to possess the land. What he’s doing is reminding Joshua of that day when Moses, by the Lord, gave them that promise. Moses had sworn to both of them, by the Lord, which meant that God had given them the promise.
‘Caleb says, in verse 6, “You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses, the man of God, concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea.” And then he goes on in verse 7, he says, “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 word back to him as it was in my heart.” And verse 8, “Nevertheless, my brethren who went up with me, made the heart of the people melt with fear. But I [Caleb speaks for himself] followed the Lord, my God, fully.”
And then Caleb refers to the specific promise that God gave to him through Moses in verse 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.’” Now that is a powerful phrase. In this phrase comes the key to waiting upon God. The phrase “served the Lord fully,” or “followed the Lord fully, or wholly,” is a powerful phrase. God uses this phrase several times to describe Caleb. Numbers 14:24, “But my servant, Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered and his descendents shall take possession of it.”
In Deuteronomy 1:36, “Except Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, he shall see it. And to him and to his sons, I will give the land on which he has set foot because he has followed the Lord fully.” In this phrase, followed the Lord fully, is the key as I said. It means literally in the Hebrew, “He was fulfilled to walk behind Jehovah.” He was fulfilled. The word fulfilled means filled full—to the brim. Nothing else was needed in his life. That’s the most beautiful thing; he needed nothing else.
Let me ask you a question as we go through this today. What does it take in this life to fulfill you? What does it take? All it took in Caleb’s life was to stay behind the Lord and do whatever God told Him to do. That fulfilled Caleb. Whether God ever made the promise come about or not—it didn’t matter to him, God just said of him, “He served Me fully.” He was totally fulfilled to walk behind Jehovah. Caleb was fulfilled to walk behind Jehovah.
It says he had a different spirit. In contrast to whom? Well, certainly in contrast to those other 10 spies years before and even along the way. They were rebellious. They chose not to believe God. They needed more than just God. They weren’t fulfilled with just God. They had to have the other stuff that goes with it.
His lifestyle was so apparent that even God said he fully followed Me. How would you like on your tombstone to say, “He fully followed God.” Would that not be incredible! The word of God brings that out about Caleb. God, Himself, said this about Caleb.
We live in a day when people have to have so much else than just Jesus. Anything but Jesus it seems. Anything but the word of God; anything but the will of God. I need more and more. How convicting this was as I was studying, I’m telling you! How much of what I have in life is really needed? How much is needed to fulfill Wayne? And it brings us to a sobriety. It brings us to a sanity of what Christianity is. They say in Romania when Jesus is all you have, that’s the only time you discover He’s all you ever needed. All that fulfilled Caleb was to stay behind Jehovah. Just doing what he said, walking in His will. It wasn’t what God did for Him, it was who God was that satisfied Caleb.
If we’re going to be patient in possessing the promises God has given to us, we are going to have to come to the place where we are satisfied with God and God alone. Therefore, we don’t have strings attached. We don’t have agendas that we are getting God to do for us. We’re just enjoying Him. A person who is not fully following God, I’m telling you, is a person who has never become satisfied with just God and God alone. That’s why we obey our flesh. That’s why we go other ways, because we’re just not satisfied with Him.
The result in Caleb’s life was powerful. It not only affected Caleb, but the promise said, “You will possess the land and you’re children.” It’s incredible how this fell this week and not next week. Next week is Father’s Day. Dads, just let me say to you—and all of us have been there. Many of us have our failures, just like Israel. I’m there. I can’t point a finger—but I tell you what, it tells us if we get our hearts right with God. We come to the place that we’re just satisfied with Him. And I want to tell you something, that spills right into your children. Not only will you possess the promise God has given to you, but your children will possess what has been said to you.
Last week I went up to a youth camp. They made me the group leader for the 9th graders. It’s been a long time since I’ve been around 9th graders. I want to tell you something about 9th graders. I love them! They are just open. They are ready. I had the best time with them and I just thank God for the privilege I had. You know what it brought back to me, though? The 17 years that I spent in youth work—youth and recreation work. And, you know, one of the biggest problems I had when I was in youth work was not the kids, it never has been the kids. Kids are a reflection of their parents. Children are a reflection of their parents. The biggest problem I ever had with young people when I was working with them, was not the young people. They would come to conviction, they would come to where they wanted to be satisfied with Christ. I’ve seen them do some awesome things in obedience to Him. The problem was their parents that would not live the convictions of their children, because they needed more than God in their lives. And it immediately began to affect those children. It goes both ways. When we come to the place of being satisfied only with God, just with Him and His word and His will, then what happens is it affects those that are around us. And that’s just interjected. I picked up that little phrase, “and your seed,” or “and your children.” It spoke to me.
But if we’re going to be willing to wait, if we’re going to be able or enabled to wait upon the promise God has given to us, we first of all have got to come to the place, we’re just satisfied with Him no matter what He does or doesn’t do—we’re just satisfied in Him. We don’t need anything else. We just don’t need anything other than Him.
Learn to trust His timing
Well, secondly, not only does this divine patience talk about being satisfied only with God, but secondly it involves learning to trust His timing. God knows, when He speaks the promise, what He said. I mean, he said it. But He also knows when to bring it about. He’s got to prepare us. He’s got to get us ready to receive that which He spoke to our hearts.
Verse 10, “Now behold the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke these 45 years from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses when Israel walked in the wilderness, and now behold, I am 85 years old today.” Remember what we learned back in chapter 1 that God doesn’t give all that He has for you all at once. He doesn’t do that. That’s not the Christian life. You experience what you’re able to experience. He continues to grow you and expand you so that you began to experience more and more of the Christ who lives within you.
Caleb is in the land, but has not yet possessed what is his. He’s in the land. I mean, he’s possessing what God says was his in the sense of the nation, but he hasn’t yet come to that place of what God has promised to him. Forty five years have gone by, and Caleb has believed God all the way through; continued to follow Him; totally satisfied with God, promise or no promise.
Ron Dunn was a great friend of mine. You may know who he is. He’s one of the greatest preachers I’ve ever known. But Ron Dunn preached a message. I loved to be around him. He so fueled my soul when I heard him. And one day he preached a message in a conference we had at our church. It was out of the book of Job. And the message was: “Would you serve God for nothing?” And that burned a hole in me. I began to realize what we’ve been talking about. You see, we can’t trust God’s timing, because we can’t trust Him. But when we learn to trust Him, and then just serve Him for nothing, because He’s worth it, then that trusting is enabled in our life and we can wait upon the Lord. He’s promised us something and if we haven’t yet experienced it, we can wait on His timing because we know who He is. We’re satisfied by Him. And what we learn is that God’s delays are not denials. When God has promised us something, God does not mean, because He delayed, He’s denying us that promise. No, sir!
Let me illustrate this to you from the New Testament. Turn to John 11, one of the most beautiful experiences in the life of Jesus and His disciples. He has just about been caught by the people over in Judea, the Pharisees, etc.; He escaped. They went over to Galilee and now He gets a message. In John 11:1: “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.” You remember those two; they stand out in the New Testament. And in verse 2, “it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.” He goes to great pains to show you who this family is.
And then in verse 3, “So the sisters sent word to Him saying, ‘Lord, behold he whom You love is sick.’” Do you notice anything missing in that message? In other words, “Lord, would you get here! He whom You love is sick. Do you understand what I’m saying? If you would get here, He’d be healed. Now get over here! He whom you love is sick.” It just sort of leaves that impression. It’s there, but it’s not written.
And look in verse 4, “But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” He was about to do something that was going to pull the trigger on sending Him to the cross, which was the very reason He came to begin with. He knew that, but His disciples didn’t have a clue.
Verse 5, “Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” You read that in English and you don’t get it. But when you put it in the Greek you get it. That’s imperfect tense. What does that mean? It means He was loving them all along. It means He was doing what was best for them because He loved them all along. If you didn’t have that little verse there in verse 5, verse 6 would really seem strange. He was loving them; He knew the timing.
Look at verse 6, “So when He heard that he was sick, He hurried to the place so He could heal him.” Is that what your Bible says? Look what He did. He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. Now, do you think that didn’t grate on Martha and Mary? Well, if you read the whole chapter, you’ll understand how bad it irritated them. When He finally does get there: “Where have You been? Man, if You would have been here, he wouldn’t have died and the whole thing’s lost.” But He was loving them. He’s always loving us when He doesn’t bring it to pass what He’s promised us, because His timing is perfect. We don’t know His timing.
It says in verse 7, “Then after this He said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’” Let us go to Judea again. There’s been trouble in Judea. They knew this. And look how these lunkheads answer Him. They couldn’t get a job by the way in today’s world. “The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You. Are You [are you] going there again?’” Not are we going there again; they’ve already made up their minds. They’re not going! They get You, Jesus, they get us. We’re staying here. You’re going there again?!
Verse 9, “And Jesus answered are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble because he sees the light of this world.” You see, when you are satisfied and fulfilled to stay behind Jehovah and do whatever He says, you’re safe. You’re not safe when you say no to Him, because that’s darkness; and darkness causes you to stumble. Verse 10, “But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles because the light is not in him.”
Verse 11, “This He said, and after that He said to them, ‘Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I go so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” I’m not going to finish the chapter, but it’s just an awesome story. I could hear the disciples having a party. “Oh, that’s great, he’s really not sick, he’s just asleep. Oh, man, we don’t have to go.” And then He turns around and says, “Listen, he’s dead.” I was preaching this one time and I said “D-E-A-D, he’s dead.” He didn’t speak in English, but anyway. Whatever He said, He got the point across.
He knew what He was up to. His delays—He stayed back two days—were not denials of a promise. You see, Martha and Mary wanted healing. “If you could have been here!” Both of them said the same thing to Him when He got there. “If you could have been here, he wouldn’t have died.” Jesus didn’t want to heal him, Jesus wanted a resurrection. And His timing is perfect. It’s incredible when our little brain, minds and brains, get involved in trying to figure out why God hasn’t done this or that in our lives. And we’re not even satisfied with Him. You see that’s just a reflection of the first one. These all flow out of each other. If I’m satisfied with Him, then I know who He is.
Revival’s going to break out all over the place here. I believe it with all my heart. I don’t ever pray that I don’t believe that. If I live to see it, I’m grateful. I’m trying to learn now to just be satisfied with Him whether He ever brings it about or not. That’s okay with me. I’m trying to learn to just be satisfied with Him; because when you are, then you can wait upon the promises. Whether you ever experience them or not that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t take away from the fact that what God says He’s going to do, He will do. I don’t know if it will be in a service. I don’t know if it will be in the worship time. I don’t know if it will be in the classroom. I don’t know how He’s going to do it, but it’s going to happen. God’s going to do a work here: a breaking work, a work of grace. He’s going to do it in such a way that nobody can argue with it. Everybody can stand back and say, “God is moving here!” And it’s not going to be for our benefit, it’s going to be for the whole world. I believe that with every fiber of my being. Why? Because God spoke that to my heart. Now, am I willing to wait? Only to the measure that I’m satisfied with Him and Him alone, whether He brings it to pass in my lifetime or not.
What has God said to you? What has God said to you? Maybe it’s about your children. Maybe it’s about another area of your life. And you’ve become a little bitter and you’re shaking that fist in God’s face saying: “God, this doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. I’m looking around me, and I don’t see the promise coming about.” All that is, is an indicator that something other than Jesus fulfills your life. He doesn’t have to do anything to satisfy us. And when we get to that place, and it’s not like an arrival, but to that awakening and to that awareness, then what happens is, we have the patience to wait upon Him. Caleb had faithfully waited 45 years to possess what God has promised him, all the while he was fully, wholly, totally and patiently obeying God. Satisfied with Him. You see, He trusted the God who made the promise; therefore, he could wait on the timing of the Lord to bring it about.
God has to bring us from A to B
So divine patience what does it involve, Wayne? On my part, what does it involve? It involves me being satisfied with just God, just Him. Just Christ in my life. That’s all. And it involves trusting the timing of the Lord.
Thirdly, God has to bring us from A to B. If He’s given us a promise at A and the promise is going to be fulfilled at B, He’s got to strengthen us so we’re ready when the promise is fulfilled. It involves being resting in the strength of God. God’s strength had sustained Caleb. Why? Because he had wholly followed God; because he was patiently waiting on what God had promised. And God was sustaining him all the way until he was 85 years old. For 45 years He sustained him.
But it has to have caught your attention what he says here in verse 11 if you read ahead of me. Look at this: “I am still as strong today.” Now, he speaks of physical strength. In our walk, in our possessing the life God has given us, we speak of spiritual strength. “I’m 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.” Wow! At 85 years old he’s as strong as he was 45 years before. God had sustained him. God had strengthened him. Why? To get him and keep him ready for when the promise was to be fulfilled.
Possessing what God has promised, even after long periods of waiting, is not without difficulty. You’re still going to have some battles to fight. When God brings the promise, it is surrounded with battles. He knows that, and so God has sustained him to be ready for this time. We have seen this with the nation of Israel when they finally got into the land. Jericho was the first battle. There the battles began. When you start possessing the life, the battles are there. And when God fulfills His promise, it’s not without difficulty. We want to focus on this truth now, very carefully, as we look at it.
In verse 12, “Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day. For you heard on that day how the 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.” It was the Anakim that caused fear in the hearts of the 10 spies when they came back the first time they had their opportunity to possess the land. Joshua and Caleb came back. They saw the Anakim, but they said, “Hey, they’re a piece of cake. We can eat them for lunch! Let’s just go. God is with us.” But the other 10, “Oh! No!” That little committee got together and decided unanimously that they should not go. So that whole nation, the whole nation at that time, the whole generation, walked around Mt. Sinai for 40 years and died in the wilderness. But the whole reason they were so afraid were these Anakim.
And look at this, the Anakim inhabit the very land that Caleb wants. Watch this, this is so good! But he’s ready in God’s strength. See, in the meantime, in between the time God gives you the promise and the time God fulfills that promise, there’s a sustaining and there’s a strengthening that God brings into our life getting us ready for when that moment comes. At 85 he didn’t retire, he just simply re-fired. He was as strong as he ever was. Boy what a word that is for us in our day.
The word Anakim describes giant people; long necks, strong, strongest people in all of Canaan; long necks, strong, giant, tall people. They were descendents of Anak. The word Anak has the idea of long neck and the idea of being tall. It describes a very ferocious group of people.
Caleb had no fear to take what God had given to him. No fear whatsoever. He said, “I’m going to walk right in and take it from the very hands of the strongest people in Canaan.” Why? How could he be that way? Because he’d been sustained all the way. God’s been strengthening him. Why? Because he’s satisfied only in God. Why? Because he’s trusting in God to bring it about when the timing was right. He looked to the strengthening of God.
He knows it will be difficult. That little phrase in verse 12, “Perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken.” That word “perhaps” is written in English, and I have to apologize for our own language. It doesn’t express what it says in the Hebrew. The Hebrew expresses no doubt at all. He’s not doubting God. What he’s saying is, if we could say it better, it would say: “I know that there’ll be difficulty in the battle. I know that. I understand that.” It’s written as if it’s some kind of doubt that he has towards God. He says, “I know that it will not be easy, but I’m resting in the strength of God.”
In verse 13 look what happens, “So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb, the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance.” Heard of Hebron in the news? “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 Kiriath Arba. Now what in the world is that, Wayne? “For Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land had rest from war,” verse 15. Man, they had changed the name because it was such a victory when Caleb took that land.
You know, back in Isaiah, if you turn there with me, Isaiah 40:31, God is encouraging Israel with some promises: promises that many of them would never actually see; promises that would one day be fulfilled. He says something to them that depicts what we’ve been studying. And He says in verse 31, “Yet those who wait for the Lord.” I’ve heard people talk about that as some passivity; like to go sit under a tree. What does waiting mean, Wayne? It means being satisfied with God and God alone. It means trusting the time of God and it means involving the resting and strength of God until God brings about the promise. It’s a verb. It’s something you do. Caleb is the perfect example. Look at the verse. You see it in Caleb, “Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles.”
Ever been around an eagle? I’ve been up in Alaska, Minnesota, I’ve been all over. I’ve watched in many places, even in Chattanooga, there was some breed of eagle that was there and swarmed down over the lake there. It was awesome! The power of that bird: huge wing span, some of them can be six feet. And when it pumps those wings one time and pumps those wings a second time, it’s just shoving itself higher and higher and it comes down and grabs a huge fish with one swoop of its claw. Grabs that fish and comes up—the power that’s in those wings as it moves. He’ll rise up with wings as eagles.
Look at this, “They will run and not get tired.” Won’t you love to live in this? “They will walk and they will not become weary.” No matter what pace it is that God puts them on, they will run and they will walk. And there will be no fainting because there’s new strength. And when those promises come, and they did, the main promise in Isaiah is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it did come! And when He came, there were many who were ready for that promise to be fulfilled.
What promise has God spoken to you? Let’s just go to the very first point, because that’s the bottom line of the message. What does it take in this life to fulfill you other than God? And if there’s anything that you can put in to fill in those blanks, no wonder you’re hurrying God and you’re impatient for Him to bring about His promise. No wonder there’s no strengthening in your life. You’re running and you’re weary, and you’re walking and you’re fainting. Because, you see, it all hinges on that first one. He was totally fulfilled by being behind Jehovah; by just saying, yes to Him. If you ever pray for this preacher, you pray that I can get to that point to where there’s nothing that I could put in that blank—that Jesus is enough.