Caleb In Dignified Manual Labour (Zacharias T. Fomum)

Caleb was not a speculator. He was an accomplisher of great deeds. He was involved in the exploration of the Promised Land, and was one of the two who brought a good report. The Lord said about him,

 “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me whole-heartedly, l will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” (Numbers 14:24).

Caleb knew the promise of the Lord and he claimed it. The Bible says,

“Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, ”You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. l was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And l brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. l, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children for ever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’ “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here l am today, eighty-five years old! l am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; l’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as l was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, l will give them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:6-12).

Caleb was a man of manual labour. He was a man of battle. He heard the promise of the Lord and set himself to receive it. He fixed his heart at it and kept his body fit to battle for it. He asked for the land that was promised to him and it was given to him. The Bible says, “In accordance with the Lord’s command to him, Joshua gave Caleb son of Jephunneh a portion in Judah - Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron. (Arba was the forefather of Anak). From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites - Shesha, Ahiman and Talmai - descendants of Anak.”

For Caleb to have driven out those three sons of Anak, he must have been a real man of valour.

He was promised land.

He saw the land and it was good, in fact, very good.

He was sure that it was inhabited by giants.

Had he been a weakling or one who was afraid to confront the enemy and fight, he would have given up the land. In fact, there were grounds on which he could have given up the land with some kind of clear conscience. The Bible says,

“Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites). (Joshua 14:13-15)

The greatest of the Anakites lived in Hebron, and if Caleb was to possess Hebron, he was not only up against giants, but he was also up against the most gigantic of giants. He was not put off by the knowledge that the greatest of the giants lived in Hebron. He rather received an encouragement. The encouragement was this: If the greatest of the giants lived in Hebron, then Hebron must be the best land; for the greatest giant could not choose for himself anything less than the best land. Caleb therefore knew that if he dispossessed the greatest of the giants, he would have the best land. God indeed had offered him the best. However, the best always demands the highest price. He had to pay the greatest price. He was willing to pay the greatest price. He paid the greatest price and Hebron became his.

If Caleb had been a man who ran away from manual labour and preferred easy work, Hebron would never have become his. Perhaps the Lord would not have made such a promise to him, if he did not possess what it would take to dispossess the greatest of the giants. Or the Lord would have made the promise, but it would have fallen to the ground and not been realized because the stamina, courage and faith needed to possess it were lacking. Caleb had the stamina, courage and faith that were needed, and he battled through and possessed Hebron! Praise the Lord !

MAKING ROOM FOR OTHERS

Caleb was not only a man who did manual work. He was a man who made room for others. The Bible says,

“From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites - Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai - descendants of Anak. From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). And Caleb said, ”l will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it, so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage.” (Joshua 15:14-17).

Caleb did everything possible for Othniel to become great! He was indeed great. Small people are pre-occupied with how to blackmail others. Great men are pre-occupied with how to make others great.

Are you making others great?

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O God make me into a Caleb, Lord that I will pay the price of greatness and make room for others

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