WHOLLY FOLLOW THE LORD
Deuteronomy 1:34-36 And the Lord heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware saying, surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the Lord.
In the first chapter of Deuteronomy, is recorded an address Moses made to the children of Israel on the fortieth year after their exodus from Egypt. Moses reiterated Israel being led out of Egypt and the giving of the law at Mount Horeb. He rehearses to them how God told them about, and showed them the Promised Land; how the heads of each tribe were established; how they came to Moses with a plan to spy out the land of Canaan before going in to possess it. Moses told them He was pleased with this suggestion and chose twelve men, one from each tribe for this task.
Moses reminded them how the twelve men brought back the fruits of the land as well as stories of giants that inhabited the land - giants that made them appear as small as grasshoppers. He told Israel how they rebelled and refused to go in and take the land on the advice of ten of the spies. He also told them that there were only two spies that advised them how God would deliver the land to them as he delivered them from Egyptian bondage. These two were Caleb and Joshua. They were singled out because they trusted in the Lord. In our lesson text, it is said of Caleb that he hath wholly followed the Lord.
How does one wholly follow the Lord? Shouldn't we all strive to wholly follow the Lord? Caleb did. Looking at the character of Caleb as an example, maybe we will be more apt to follow God's will as we should. In Numbers, chapter 13, we find the instructions Moses gave to the twelve spies. Go up and see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; and what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein or not. And be of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land (vs. 18-20).
Upon returning, ten of the spies reported that the people of Canaan were strong; even some were giants, and they live in fortified cities. Their advice to Israel was, we be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we (vs. 31). However, Caleb's report was let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it (vs. 30). How, and why, did Caleb (and Joshua) wholly follow the will of God, while the other ten did not?
In Exodus 6:4, Leviticus 25:38, as well as the first verse of the second chapter of Numbers 13, we find God telling Israel that He will give the land of Canaan for their possession. The instructions given to the twelve spies, noted above, did not qualify this gift of Canaan. It was not to be based on their findings during their excursion. They were only to find out what the land and its people were like. Did God say, "If the people of Canaan are weak and if their cities are not fortified, I will give you the land?" No, God told all Israel, without any qualifications or reservations, that I will give you the land of Canaan.
The difference between Caleb and Joshua, when compared to the other ten spies, is that they believed God when He said he would give the land of Canaan to Israel. They had faith that God would provide the way for this to take place. To wholly follow God, one must place complete faith in Him; they must place their unwavering trust in His guidance and His ability to carry out that which He had promised.
God promised Israel the land of Canaan - and it was so. God promised His Son Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world (Acts 13:23) - and it was so. God promised all men and women salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-39). God has promised us eternal life (Titus 1:2). God promises a crown of life to those that love and obey Him (James 1:12). Do we think that the obstacles we faceduring our journey here on earth are too big for us to inherit these promises of God? Or, like Caleb, do we trust that God will lead us though all trials and tribulations. These blessings are promised only to those that wholly follow the Lord.