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Claiming Your Canaan Series #10

Joshua 14:6-15

CALEB: THE GRAY-HAIRED CONQUEROR

Intro: This passage centers on a man called Caleb. Caleb was a part of Israel when they left Egypt. He was there when God divided the waters of the Red Sea. By the way - Israel crossing the Red Sea is a picture of Salvation. Free from bondage and free from Pharaoh. Observing Israel as they journey through the wilderness shows us there is much more to salvation than just being set free. God had a land flowing with milk and honey prepared for them. It would be a land of giants and a land of battles, but it was theirs if they wanted it. Now, as you know - Israel chose to wander in the wilderness. Here's another great picture of the Christian life. God saves us, and promises us that we can have a life of victory and intense spiritual joy, but rather than claim what is rightfully ours - things like peace, joy, fellowship, power, and the glory of God, we choose to live in a spiritual wilderness, defeated and depressed.

This morning I want to tell you that many Christians are guilty of spiritual window-shopping. Now nothing is wrong with window-shopping! A lot of folks like to do it. Men normally don't like it.

(III. A fellow said to his wife - "Why do you call it shopping? You never buy anything." She replied - Well, why do you call it fishing? You never catch anything!")

As Christians, we need to do more than window-shop with God's promises, we need to appropriate them. This morning I want us to see what it was that enabled this 85-year-old man to possess that which God had promised him. Caleb pictures the Christian who is willing to pay the price, fight the battles and win the victory that God has waiting for him. In these verses, we are shown how we too can claim our little part of Canaan and walk in victory day by day! Allow me to speak to you for a little while about Caleb: The Gray-haired Conqueror.

I. Josh. 14:8, 9, 14 CALEB'S COMMITMENT

A. Now the first key to Caleb success was that God had all of Caleb that there was! Note the repeated phrase "Wholly followed the Lord." This is said about Caleb 6 times in the Old Testament. It is a phrase that means "To close the gap." It is a phrase used by hunters to refer to their closing the gap between themselves and their prey. It refers to the fact that Caleb was committed to keeping the distance between him self and the Lord at a minimum. Every inch, every ounce, every nerve, every fiber of Caleb belonged to God. Now you may think that because you are not a preacher or deacon or SS teacher or whatever, God doesn't expect to have all of you. Wrong - Wrong - Wrong. God deserves your all. If you're holding back even a little bit you ought to be ashamed of yourself! Why? If you are saved, you are all His anyway - 1 Cor. 6:19-20!

(III. When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure that success of his military venture. Ordering his men to halt on the edge of the Cliffs of Dover, he commanded them to look down at the water below. To their amazement, they saw every ship in which they had crossed the channel engulfed in flames. Caesar had deliberately cut off any possibility of retreat! Now that his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do but to advance and conquer! And that is exactly what they did. Too many Christians have left themselves some sort of an escape hatch back into the old life of sin. We need to burn every bridge that leads back to the old life and set our minds to the task of conquering our Canaan.)

(III. "Three little girls were talking about their dads. One said, 'My father is a doctor, and he practices medicine.' Another said, 'My dad's an attorney, and he practices law.' The third said, 'My father is a Christian, but he doesn't practice any more.' "There are a lot of Christians like that today.")

(III. Many will go to extravagant lengths to avoid doing what they have promised the Lord they would do. This trait of human nature is seen in a man in Vicenza, Italy who developed last-minute jitters on the day of his wedding and wanted to back out. Just a couple hours before the ceremony, he got an idea. Hurrying to a nearby town, he entered a house, faked a robbery, and left a trail of clues. He even let the owner of the house get a good look at him. Later, as he made his way to the church where the wedding was scheduled, police arrested him and charged him with attempted robbery. All that trouble just to avoid a wedding.)

B. Half-hearted Christians are faint-hearted Christians and they never learn to conquer the giants in their lives.

(III. The story is told of a man who rode in his car as it was being towed to be repaired. When they arrived at the repair shop, the tow truck driver told him, "I didn't think I was going to make it up that big hill." The man replied, "I didn't either. That's why I kept the brakes on so we wouldn't roll backwards." To live without total dedication to Christ is the same as trying to go forward and to hold back at the same time.)

(Ill. "A double - minded man is unstable in all his ways," James 1:8. There is only one way to stand up against the devil and the hordes of hell and that's to be totally surrendered to Jesus.

(III. Jesus demands total surrender- In his book One Crowded Hour, Tim Bowden describes an incident in Borneo in 1964. Nepalese fighters known as Gurkhas were asked if they would be willing to jump from airplanes into combat against the Indonesians. The Gurkhas didn't clearly understand what was involved, but they bravely said they would do it, asking only that the planes fly slowly over a swampy area and no higher than 100 feet. When they were told that the parachutes would not have time to open at that height, the Gurkhas replied, "Oh, you didn't mention parachutes before!" Jesus calls us to follow Him with a similar kind of commitment and courage, willing to risk all for His sake.)

(III. Ham and eggs. Now the chicken was definitely involved, but the pig was committed!)

(III. C. H. Spurgeon told about the deep love and devotion French soldiers had for their leader Napoleon. He noted that it was not at all unusual for a mortally wounded soldier to raise himself up on one elbow and give a final cheer to his revered General. And if by chance the dying man saw Napoleon nearby, he would, with his final breath, shout, "Vive l'Emprereur!" Perhaps one of the most eloquent expressions of all, however, came from the lips of a soldier who had been shot in the chest. As the surgeon was attempting to remove the bullet, the suffering man was heard to whisper, "If you go much deeper, Doctor, you'll come to the Emperor!" Spurgeon commented, "He had him on his heart." If a man as notorious as Napoleon could be the object of such undying devotion, how much more Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord!)

C. The man who kneels before God can stand before anybody or anything.

(Ill. D. L. Moody was saved at the age of 19. D. L. Moody heard an evangelist by the name of Henry Varley say, "The world has yet to see what God can do in and through and with and for a man wholly committed to him. D.L. Moody said, "By God's grace I will be that man!" He was an uncultured, uneducated, untrained shoe salesman but God used him to move 2 continents for Christ. Why? - He was committed! Are you totally sold out to Jesus Christ and Him alone this evening?)

(III. Chuck Swindoll tells the story of a house church in the former Soviet Union several years ago. They had to meet in secret to avoid reprisals from the communist government.

"One Sunday these believers arrived inconspicuously in small groups throughout the day so as not to arouse the suspicion of KGB informers. By dusk they were all safely inside, windows closed, and doors locked. They began by singing a hymn quietly but with deep emotion. Suddenly, the door was pushed open and in walked two soldiers with loaded automatic weapons at the ready. One shouted, All right--everybody line up against the wall. If you wish to renounce your commitment to Jesus Christ, leave now!'

"Two or three quickly left, then another. After a few more seconds, two more. 'This is your last chance. Either turn against your faith in Christ,' he ordered, 'or stay and suffer the consequences.'

"Another left. Finally, two more in embarrassed silence with their faces covered slipped out into the night. No one else moved. Parents with small children trembling beside them looked down reassuringly. They fully expected to be gunned down or, at best, be imprisoned.

"After a few moments of complete silence, the other soldier closed the door, looked back at those who stood against the wall and said, 'Keep your hands up-but this time in praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, brothers and sisters. We, too, are Christians. We were sent to another house church several weeks ago to arrest a group of believers...'

"The other soldier interrupted, 'But, instead, we were converted! We have learned by experience, however, that unless people are willing to die for their faith, they cannot be fully trusted."'

Our commitment to Christ affects all our other relationships. The more devoted we are to Jesus, the more faithful we will be to our church, family, and friends.)

D. All Jesus wants from you is your total commitment.

Anything less will keep you from reaching your Canaanland victory.

(III. President Eisenhower told this tale, "An old farmer had a cow that we wanted to buy. We went over to visit him and asked about the cow's pedigree. The old farmer didn't know what 'pedigree' meant, so we asked him about the cow's butterfat production. He told us that he didn't have any idea. Finally, we asked him if he knew how many pounds of milk the cow produced each year. The farmer shook his head and said, 'I don't know, but she's an honest old cow, and she'll give you all the milk she has!"' God's people need to be like that old cow. We need to give everything we have for Him.)

(Ill. All this comes down to one truth. If you, like Caleb, will close the gap between yourself and Him. If you will pursue God with every fiber of your being, He will do the same toward you - James 4:8.")

I. Caleb's Commitment

II. Josh. 14:12 CALEB'S CONFIDENCE

A. What was it that gave 85 year old Caleb the idea he could be a giant killer? Caleb's confidence (faith) was in God's word. vs10 & 12 (III. Deut.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.")

(Ill. Caleb had seen the Promised Land and for 45 years that vision had burned in his heart as he wandered through the wilderness! While others complained, Caleb looked for a mountain where milk and honey flowed and where the grapes of Eschol grew. He was able to see beyond his circumstances into the promises of the Lord. We need some people who have been cut from that same cloth!)

1. I can see Caleb now climbing that mountain with a sword in one hand and a deed in the other while singing to the top of his lungs, "Iwant that mountain! I want that mountain! Where the milk and honey flow, where the grapes of Eschol grow. I want mountain! I want that mountain! The mountain that the Lord has given me!". Caleb knew God had given it to him so he claimed it.

2. Faith is not positive thinking.

3. Faith is not optimism.

4. Faith is not looking on the bright side.

5. Faith is simply acting on what God says.

(III. The captain of an ocean steamer tells that on one occasion his ship was engulfed in a dense fog off the coast of Newfoundland. It was Wednesday evening and the captain had been of the bridge for 24 hours when someone tapping him on his shoulder startled him. He turned and saw one of his passengers-George Mueller. "Captain," said Mueller, "I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon." "That's impossible!" replied the captain. "I'm helpless!" Mueller suggested, "Let's go down to the chart room and pray." The captain thought he had a lunatic on board. "Do you know how dense the fog is?" he asked. "No," came the reply, "my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life." Once in the chart room, Mueller got down on his knees and prayed, "0 Lord, if it is consistent with Thy will, please remove this fog in 5 minutes. Thou knowest the engagement Thou didst make for me in Quebec for Saturday. I believe it is Thy will." After Mueller prayed, the Captain started to pray. Mueller stopped him and said, "there's no use for you to pray, God has already answered my prayer. The fog is gone.")

(III. This is the same George Mueller who believed God for his provisions. He raised over 4 million dollars for his orphanages and never asked men for a dime. When he had needs, he took them to God, asking in faith, and he received that which he needed.)

(Ill. Faith is more than saying that you believe; it is acting on what you believe. (III. Heb. 11:1)

B. It takes faith to win the spiritual victory. In fact, faith in God alone can give us the victory we seek- Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23!

(III. Faith is never a blind leap, but a deep settled conviction that God will do what He has promised!)

I. Caleb's Commitment

II. Caleb's Confidence

III. CALEB'S COURAGE

Commitment led to confidence - confidence to courage. Caleb had to scale 3 great obstacles in his quest for his Canaan.

A. He Had To Overcome Grasshoppers - Num. 13:33 For Caleb to claim what God had promised he had to go against the majority. (III. Jesus - He was usually alone in everything He did!) III. The Cants and the Canters will always surround the people of true faith.

(III. There will always be someone saying that it can't be done, it's never been done like that before, we can't afford it, etc. III. The Disciples and their reaction in John 6). Sometimes you will stand alone, but if you are standing on the Word of God in the will of God, then you were never in better company!

B. He Had To Overcome Giants - Num. 14:8-9 All of us have giants in our lives. Giants of discouragement, finances, sickness, family, distress, doubt and the truth is - we can't defeat them ourselves. We have 2 options.

1. We can say look how small we are compared to those giants. This is the outlook of fear! (III. 2 Tim. 1:7)

2. Or look how small those giants are compared to God! This is the uplook of faith! (III. Phil. 4:13; Eph. 3:20; Matt. 28:18) Fighting giants is good for you! (III. Num. 14:9 - Giants are bread) (III. Popeye and his spinach!)

(III. Derek Redmond is a British runner who participated in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Barely into the 400-meter race, he pulled a hamstring and fell to the ground. Everyone thought he was finished, but much to the surprise of the spectators this courageous athlete slowly stood and began to hobble around the track.

However, even with such tenacity it was apparent that there was simply no way he could finish the race. Just as he was about to fall again, a man came out of the stands, put his arm around the injured runner, and assisted him all the way across the finish line. The stadium roared with approval as Derek Redmond completed his race.

The scene was a moving one, made even more significant by the realization that the one who came alongside Derek was his own father. Together, linked arm in arm, father and son crossed the finish line, as one.

When we are facing life's giants and are in danger of falling, the Heavenly Father comes alongside of us to help us carry on for His glory.)

C. He Had To Overcome Gray Hairs - Josh. 14:10-11 What does this tell us? When God makes a promise, he will give us the strength to see its fulfillment! (III. Never count God, or yourself out. True faith looks beyond the present circumstance and sees the provision of the Almighty!)

(III. "Comedian Jerry Clower tells a story about Uncle Versie Ledbetter who had a mule named Della. One day Della fell into a cistern Uncle Versie thought he had covered up but hadn't.

"Uncle Versie had a problem. There was his best mule down at the bottom of that cistern and no way he could get the mule out of there. He didn't want her to stay down there and starve to death, so he decided he would get a shovel and cover her up. It would be cruel, but it wouldn't be as cruel and inhumane as to let Della starve to death in the bottom of that deep cistern. Uncle Versie took a shovelful of dirt and threw it down into the cistern and every time a shovelful of dirt hit old Della, she'd shake the dirt off and stomp it.

"It wasn't long before Della had shaken off enough dirt and stomped it so that she was high enough to jump out of the cistern."

We're like that mule--either our problems will bury us or we can keep trampling them down until we rise above them.)

D. When you boil all the fat away, courage can be defined in three letter: YES! All real Christian courage really is, is the willingness to say "Yes!" to God's call in your life.

I. Caleb's Commitment

II. Caleb's Confidence

III. Caleb's Courage

IV. Josh. 14:13-14 CALEB'S CONQUEST

A. Caleb experienced what God had promised!

B. He climbed the mountains and he defeated the giants - he claimed his possession.

(Ill. The name of the place Caleb inherited was named Hebron. This means "Fellowship". Caleb refused to quit until he had obtained everything the Lord has for him! He refused to stop until he had obtained that place of fellowship with God.

Folks, that ought to be our battle cry this morning! We ought to refuse to give up, back up, or shut up or be held up, until we have stood up, lined up, read up, prayed up, confessed up, stored up, spoke up, looked up, and filled up on everything the Lord wants to give His children! We ought to settle for nothing less than that place of perfect fellowship with the Lord our God!)

C. What about you, have you entered your Canaan and claimed your possession? It isn't God's will for you to wander around in the wilderness of defeat forever. It is His will that you walk in victory and in His power-1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14.

(III. There will be trials? Well, God had: a flood for Noah, a fire for the 3 Hebrews, a lion's den for Daniel, a cake for the widow and a cross for Jesus, but there was victory in the midst of each trial for these and there will be victory for you as well!)

Conc: Where are you in your personal walk with the Lord this morning? Have you entered into your Canaan, or are you wandering around in the wilderness still struggling day to day? God has a place of peace and power for you, but you must be willing the claim your possession. It isn't for the fainthearted, but it is for the faith hearted. Come claim your Canaan right now! You see, there is a vast difference between a promise and a possession! God promised Israel the land, but they had to possess t before it became theirs. Hey, God has victory for His children, that is His promise! However, that promise must be actively pursued and possessed before it will ever become a reality.

Some of you aren't even saved this morning. There's nothing for you to do, but to come to the Lord Jesus and bow before him confessing your sins and then receive Him into your heart as your personal Savior. Your greatest need is to be saved by the grace of God!








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