There are seven things that characterise Caleb.
Ⅰ. He was a courageous believer, for he followed the Lord fully (Num.14:24).
Ⅱ. He was a courageous witness, for he would not listen to the popular voice (13:30).
Ⅲ. He was a separated saint, for he was of “ another spirit” than the others (14:24).
Ⅳ. He was a prompt actor. “Let us go up at once and possess the land,” is his cry (13:30).
Ⅴ. He was a confident man. “ We are well able to overcome,” is his unhesitating cry (13:30).
Ⅵ. He was a persecuted servant. “ We are people are not willing to hearken to Joshua and Caleb, but want to stone them (14:10).
Ⅶ. He was a rewarded disciple (14:24; 32:11,12), for he was privileged to see, enter, and enjoy the land of promise (Joshua 14).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
CALEB, OR WHOLE-HEARTEDNESS.
Seven times we are told that Caleb wholly followed the Lord, or more correctly, the term “ wholly” is found in association with Caleb seven times. Once the same Hebrew word is rendered “fully” (Num. 14:24).
It is of interest to know that word “wholly” is the same as is rendered “consecrate” in the setting apart of Aaron and his sons for the priesthood (Ex.28:41; 29:9). The word means, to full, and is again and again translated “full” in the Psalms (Ps.33:5; 65:9; 104:24; 119:64).
It is of interest to know that the word “wholly” is the same as is rendered “ consecrate” in the setting apart of Aaron and his sons for the priesthood (Ex.28:41;29:9). The word means, to be full, and is again and again translated “full” in the psalms (Ps.33:5; 65:9; 104:24; 119:64).
Ⅰ. The essential to wholly following the Lord. In Deut.1:36, we read that Caleb “ wholly followed the Lord,” or, as the margin gives it, “ fulfilled to go after the Lord.” The words seem to indicate his willingness to follow the Lord. The main thing in consecration is, that the will is adjusted to the will of time. Christ says, “ if adjusted to the sun for correctness of time. Christ says, “ if any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God” (John 7:17, R.V.). If the will is right the walk will be right too, for what the regulator is to the watch, so the will is to the life.
Ⅱ. The meaning of wholly following the Lord. In Num.14:24, the Lord says, “Caleb……followed me fully,” or as Young translates the word, “ he is fully after Me.” To be fully after the Lord signifies that we are so close to Him that there is not anything between Him and us, and that we seek to act like Him in all things, in that we carry out His word in every particular.
Ⅲ. Caleb is seen in contrast to those who did not wholly follow the Lord (Num.32:11). One reason why Christ was hated, was because the holy light of His pure life showed up the unholy lives of His enemies, and made them to stand out in unmistakable contrast. When our lives are like the beautiful rainbow, it will cause those who are like the dark cloud to be seen in vivid contrast.
Ⅳ. The Lord delights to commend the thoroughness of whole heartedness. Num.32:12, is one of the many places where Caleb is commended for wholly following the Lord. God delights in all men with the love of compassion (John 3:16), but it is only those whose hearts and lives are right with Him that He can delight in with the love of complacency (Col.1:10). He ever delights to commend what He can. The widow’s mite (Luke 21:3); the cup of cold water (Mark 9:41); the Samaritan’s tears (Luke 7:44); the faith of the Thessalonians (1.Thess.i.8); and the seven traits of character in the Ephesian saints (Rev.2:2,3), are a few things He commends.
Ⅴ. The courage of whole-heartedness (Joshua 14:8). As Caleb says, the rest of those, excepting Joshua, who went to spy the land, were entirely over-awed by what they saw, but not so Caleb. He knew the Lord, and was fully confident of His ability to give the entire victory. Faith reckons not on outward appearances, but heart, want of courage, and unbelief are sure to see the lions in the way, as Timorous and Mistrust in Pilgrim’s Progress did, but they do not see, as Christian did, that the lions are chained.
Ⅵ. The possession of whole-heartedness (Joshua 14:9). Caleb had been promised that he should see the land of Canaan, and now he claims the fulfillment of the inheritance that had been promised him. We are not promised an earthly inheritance as a reward of faith, but we have an incorruptible inheritance (1. Peter 1: 4), which we may enjoy now in some measure (Eph.1:3),as we have already received the earnest (Eph.1:13,14).
Ⅶ. The reward of whole-heartedness (Joshua 14:14). Hebron became the reward of Caleb’s faithfulness. Hebron means “ fellowship.” Fellowship with Christ is the reward of walking in the light of His presence now (i. John 1:7), and fellowship with Him in a peculiar sense, in the eternity to come, is the reward of faithfulness (Rev.3:4).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
The men of the Bible have generally one trait in their character which is more prominent than another. Moses in the man of meekness; Abraham, the man of separation; David, the man of courage; Joseph, the man of purity; John, the man of love; Peter, the man of zeal; and Caleb, the man of faith.
I shall call attention to a sevenfold aspect of faith, as brought out in Caleb.
Ⅰ. Claim of Faith (verse 6). Faith’s claim is always based on God’s promise. “ The thing the Lord said concerning me,” is ever the language of faith. Faith has nothing to say about itself, other than “ The Lord says.” When men claim that which God has not promised, it is presumption, and not faith.
“ Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
And looks to God alone,
Laughs at impossibilities,
And cries ‘ It shall be done.’”
Ⅱ. Consecration of Faith (verse 8). The word “ consecrate” in Exodus 28:41, and 29:9, is the same as we have rendered “ wholly” in describing Caleb’s obedience. Trapp remarks, “ The Hebrew signifies ‘ I fulfilled after the Lord.’ A metaphor taken from a ship under sail carried strongly with the wind, as if it feared neither rocks nor sands. Thus he commended himself, that none might tax him with injustice or ambition for that which he now required from Joshua.” Caleb’s devotion in following the Lord fully is noted in Deut. 1:36; Num.14:24,32:11; Josh.14:8,9,14. Faith’s consecration is summed up in one word— “ Obedience.” Consecration on the Godward side of it, is the indwelling presence of Christ acting within to reproduce His own behaviour in the life (Gal.2:20); and on the manward side, consecration is the response of the believer to the word of God’s grace in simple, whole-hearted obedience (1.Peter 1:14-21).
Ⅲ. Confession of Faith (verse 10). “ The Lord kept me,” is ever the glad confession of faith. “ No might” (2 Chron.20:12) is the plea of faith in prayer for the Lord’s protection. Caleb had kept himself in the Lord’s keeping by his whole-heartedness, and now, as a consequence, he can proclaim what the Lord had done for him. As the electricity runs along the wire that is connected with the battery, so the Lord’s keeping grace is found along the line of faith (1. Peter 1:5), which faith shows of God’s grace, then we can bear our testimony to His faithfulness, and not otherwise.
Ⅳ. Courage of Faith (verse 11). Caleb feels that he is still able to go to war, for his strength, like that of Moses (Deut. 34:7), was not abated. His health of soul (2 John 2) had conduced to healthiness of body. Godliness is profitable from this standpoint (1. Tim.4:8). The secret of courage in the Christian life for warfare and witnessing is found in walking with the Lord. If we can look up into the face of God with an uncondemning heart (1.John 3:20,21), then we shall be able to look into the faces of men in faithful testimony (Acts 4:13).
Ⅴ. Company of Faith (verse 12). The presence of Jehovah was Caleb’s joy. He felt he could do anything, be anything, and go anywhere, if only the Lord was with him. If the Lord is with us ,victory is sure (1.Sam.14:6), our feet are kept from slipping (Psalm xviii.32,33),our faith is bold (Psalm 27:1-3),our soul is comforted (Psalm 23:4),and we are encouraged (Phil.4:13).
Ⅵ. Confidence of Faith. “ I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said” (verse 12). Caleb had the Divine promise of victory over enemies (Josh.3:10), and therefore he was confident of success. The difference between faith and presumption is this: presumption acts on its own authority, but faith always depends on “Thus saith the Lord” (Heb.11:29). Self-confidence is man acting without God, but faith-confidence upon the Lord (1.Sam.17:45,4 6).
Ⅶ. Compensation of Faith (verses 13,14). Caleb is rewarded because of his faithfulness. Hebron becomes his in heritance. Hebron means fellowship. Fellowship with the Lord is the hereafter, a crown. An “ incorruptible crown” for diligently-running the race (1. Cor.9:25), a “ crown of life” for endurance (James 1:12), a “ crown of righteousness” for those who love Christ’s appearing (2 Tim.4:8), a “ crown of rejoicing” for those who bring others to Christ (1. Thess.2:19), and a “ crown of glory” for faithful service (1. Peter 5:4).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》