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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 1-50 (Abel - Children)

F.E. Marsh :: 44. Caleb, or Whole-Heartedness

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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 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).

  1. 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 God, as the clock is 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.
  2. The meaning of wholly following the Lord. In Num. 14:24, the Lord says, “Caleb . . . . followed me fully,” or as Young translates the words, “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.
  3. 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.
  4. The Lord delights to commend the thoroughness of wholeheartedness. 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 kindness (Luke 10:37); the pot of ointment (John 12:7); the woman’s tears (Luke 7:44); the faith of the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 1:8); and the seven traits of character in the Ephesian saints (Rev. 2:2-3), are a few things He commends.
  5. 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 looks at matters through the telescope of God’s truth. Faint 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.
  6. 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 fulfilment 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).
  7. 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 (1 John 1:7), and fellowship with Him in a peculiar sense, in the eternity to come, is the reward of faithfulness (Rev. 3:4).
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45. Caleb's Reward Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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