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

F.E. Marsh :: 45. Caleb's Reward

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JOSHUA 14:5-14

THE men of the Bible have generally one trait in their character which is more prominent than another. Moses is the man of meekness; Abraham, the man of separation; David, the man of courage; Joseph, the man of purity; John, the man of love; Peter, the man of zeal; and Caleb, the man of faith.

I shall call attention to a sevenfold aspect of faith, as brought out in Caleb.

  1. Claim of Faith (Jos. 14:6). Faith’s claim is always based on God’s promise. “The thing the Lord said concerning me,” is ever the language of faith. Faith has nothing to say about itself, other than “The Lord says.” When men claim that which God has not promised, it is presumption, and not faith.
    • “Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees,
    • And looks to God alone.
    • Laughs at impossibilities.
    • And cries ’It shall be done.’”
  2. Consecration of Faith (Jos. 14:8). The word “consecrate” in Exodus 28:41, and Exodus 29:9, is the same as we have rendered “wholly” in describing Caleb’s obedience. Trapp remarks, “The Hebrew signifies ’I fulfilled after the Lord.’ A metaphor taken from a ship under sail carried strongly with the wind, as if it feared neither rocks nor sands. Thus he commended himself, that none might tax him with injustice or ambition for that which he now required from Joshua.” Caleb’s devotion in following the Lord fully is noted in Deut. 1:36; Num. 14:24; 32:11; Jos. 14:8-9, 14. Faith’s consecration is summed up in one word—”Obedience.” Consecration on the Godward side of it, is the indwelling presence of Christ acting within to reproduce His own behaviour in the life (Gal. 2:20); and on the manward side, consecration is the response of the believer to the word of God’s grace in simple, whole-hearted obedience (1 Peter 1:14-21).
  3. Confession of Faith (Jos. 14:10). “The Lord hath kept me,” is ever the glad confession of faith. “No might” (2 Chron. 20:12) is the plea of faith in prayer for the Lord’s protection. Caleb had kept himself in the Lord’s keeping by his whole-heartedness, and now, as a consequence, he can proclaim what the Lord had done for him. As the electricity runs along the wire that is connected with the battery, so the Lord’s keeping grace is found along the line of faith (1 Peter 1:5), which faith shows itself in obedience; and when we have experienced the keeping power of God’s grace, then we can bear our testimony to His faithfulness, and not otherwise.
  4. Courage of Faith (Jos. 14:11). Caleb feels that he is still able to go to war, for his strength, like that of Moses (Deut. 34:7), was not abated. His health of soul (3 John 2) had conduced to healthiness of body. Godliness is profitable from this standpoint (1 Tim. 4:8). The secret of courage in the Christian life for warfare and witnessing is found in walking with the Lord. If we can look up into the face of God with an uncondemning heart (1 John 3:20-21), then we shall be able to look into the faces of men in faithful testimony (Acts 4:13).
  5. Company of Faith (Jos. 14:12). The presence of Jehovah was Caleb’s joy. He felt he could do anything, be anything, and go anywhere, if only the Lord was with him. If the Lord is with us, victory is sure (1 Sam. 14:6), our feet are kept from slipping (Psalm 18:32-33), our faith is bold (Psalm 27:1-3), our soul is comforted (Psalm 23:4), and we are encouraged (Phil. 4:13).
  6. Confidence of Faith. “I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said” (Jos. 14:12). Caleb had the Divine promise of victory over his enemies (Josh. 3:10), and therefore he was confident of success. The difference between faith and presumption is this: presumption acts on its own authority, but faith always depends on “Thus saith the Lord” (Heb. 11:29). Self-confidence is man acting without God, but faith-confidence upon the Lord (1 Sam. 17:45-46).
  7. Compensation of Faith (Jos. 14:13-14). Caleb is rewarded because of his faithfulness. Hebron becomes his inheritance. Hebron means fellowship. Fellowship with the Lord is the reward of walking with the Lord now (1 Cor. 1:9), and, in the hereafter, a crown. An “incorruptible crown” for diligently running the race (1 Cor. 9:25), a “crown of life” for endurance (James 1:12), a “crown of righteousness” for those who love Christ’s appearing (2 Tim. 4:8), a “crown of rejoicing” for those who bring others to Christ (1 Thess. 2:19), and a “crown of glory” for faithful service (1 Peter 5:4).

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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