The Israelites who came out of Egypt desired to see the land of promise, but only Joshua and Caleb made it from that generation. What was different about these two? What was about Joshua and Caleb that gave them success!? What allowed them to have a sustaining faith in the face of the same trying circumstances that the others experienced!?
Intimacy with God
So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. Exodus 33:11
Before Joshua could lead a nation, he learned to be a servant to Moses. Joshua had seen Moses spend endless hours in intercession on behalf of the people’s sins, rebellion, and ignorance, Israelites and seek the Lord on behalf of the Israelites . He had a better understanding of the weight and the responsibility to lead God’s people than those in the camp who were quick to criticize Moses. Furthermore, the scripture tells us that Joshua remained in the tabernacle while Moses returned to the camp. Joshua stayed in the presence of the Lord and developed his own intimacy with God. This is an essential ingredient for courageous leadership.
Sometimes we can be happy to be in leadership positions or to have a close relationship with those who are in leadership. For some, titles or proximity to the leadership can make them feel important and spiritually mature. They may assume that if a leader accepts them in their circle, then they must be qualified and mature for God’s work. The truth is that the proximity to the leadership does not necessarily make us mature. As a matter of fact, it may have the opposite effect. It may give us false security and a false sense of maturity because of our relationship with those who are deemed mature. Furthermore, having a ministry position or title does not guarantee a person maintains intimacy with the Lord and has a growing relationship with God.
Joshua had the heart and the wisdom to perceive his need for being in the presence of the Lord. He must have an understanding that what he needed was not going to come from his title or from his proximity to Moses. He knew that he had to have his own anointing and to hear God for himself to navigate the treacherous path before them.
Jesus’ disciples spent three and half years with Him, but their proximity did not make them any more courageous or gave them a better understanding of what was about to happen. They needed their own measure of faith, grace, and courage to navigate through the choppy waters ahead. The disciples did not experience this until Jesus was taken up to heaven, and they were baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Obeyed God fully
But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Numbers 14:24
Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.’ Numbers 32:11-12
Joshua and Caleb took their relationship with God very seriously. They did not depend on their leaders to do the heavy lifting of obedience. They did not assume because the Israelites were God’s chosen people that they could live without accountability. They were diligent in their relationship with the Lord. They knew group-think may be comfortable and convenient but they would rather be pleasing to God. While God dealt with the Israelites as a nation, He also saw the obedience of Joshua and Caleb, and He treated them differently because they did not go along with the crowd.
A Living Faith
But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land. Numbers 14:38
The scripture tells us the Joshua and Caleb were the only two who remained alive out of the men who went to spy out the land. I would submit to you that they remained alive because they had an alive faith that was full expectation of what God was going to do. On the other hand, the ten spies must have lost their vision and faith long before this situation came about. It is reminder of Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The foolish virgins did not take their own oil with them, and when the circumstances put a demand on them, they had no oil left.
We learn from Joshua and Caleb that serving in humility, remaining in the presence of the Lord, and obeying the Lord fully allows us to have an alive and active faith. It keeps us prepared and anointed for the work before us. We don’t need to be influenced by others’ unbelief or disobedience. In addition, regardless of what circle we are in, we recognize that we have a personal relationship with the Lord that it is our responsibility to cultivate, and we can’t have a relationship with God by proxy.
There will come a time that we will need fresh oil and anointing and each person will have to be prepared for what will be demanded of them. . Each person must have the faith to sustain them in wilderness times and to be willing to face the giants in the land of promise. Joshua and Caleb are good examples to learn from.