"WHOLLY FOLLOWING THE LORD."
I. CALEB WHOLLY FOLLOWED THE LORD.
A. This he did in spite of the peer pressure.
1. Joshua and Caleb were two of the twelve spies, who 40 years earlier had gone in to spy out the land.
2. Ten of the spies came back with a very negative discouraging report.
a. They only saw the difficulties.
b. Their report struck fear in the hearts of the people.
c. Their conclusion was that they could not take the land, they would only be destroyed and their children killed or taken into slavery.
d. They looked at the problem in light of their strength.
3. Joshua and Caleb came back with a very glowing positive report of the land.
a. They saw the difficulties, but they looked at them in the light of God's strength and ability.
b. What is humanly impossible for man, is divinely simple for God.
c. Thus Caleb wholly followed the Lord.
4. It would have been so easy to follow the ten, and there was pressure to do so, but against that peer pressure he chose to follow God.
a. So many people collapse under peer pressure.
b. They either go with the crowd, or keep silent because they know that what they should say would garner persecution.
B. He followed the Lord in spite of the people's rebellion against God.
1. When they were all discouraged and murmuring and complaining against God, Caleb stilled them and said: "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it."
2. As the people continued to cry and murmur, Caleb tried to encourage them to trust God. He said to them: "The land, which we passed through is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they [are] bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD [is] with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them."
3. It is hard to encourage someone who wants to be discouraged.
4. Hard to cheer up a person who is determined to be sad.
5. It almost cost Caleb his life.
II. CALEB WHOLLY FOLLOWED THE LORD. WHAT A WONDERFUL WITNESS OF A MAN'S LIFE.
1. It is one thing to say that about yourself, but quite another thing when God says that about you.
2. I know some people who make that kind of boast. They excuse their lack of giving by declaring, "Everything I have belongs to God."
a. God never gets to see it, or handle it, or use it, but they declare that it belongs to Him.
b. Needless to say, these people who make such boasts, are either lying or are self-deceived.
B. It was the testimony of Moses concerning Caleb, Deu. 1:36
1. Moses declared that Caleb had wholly followed the Lord.
2. Again many boast of their consecration and commitment to the Lord, but those who are around them and are able to observe their lives often have a very different opinion of them.
C. It was Caleb's own testimony of himself.
1. As he is coming to Joshua in our text, he is asking for the inheritance.
2. He declared that those who had gone with him by their evil report had caused the people to fear, but he said, "I wholly followed the Lord."
3. It was a boast that he made of himself, but it was confirmed by Moses, and most of all by God.
III. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WHOLLY FOLLOW GOD?
A. Jesus said that if you wanted to follow Him, you had to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him.
1. Deny yourself. Most people never go beyond that first requirement.
a. They are totally unwilling to deny themselves.
b. Quite the opposite is true. They are pushy, assertive, and always insisting that things be done their way.
2. Take up your cross. What does that mean?
a. What did it mean to Jesus? Laying down His own will to do the will of the Father.
b. In the garden as He was praying to the Father about the cross, He asked, "If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, nevertheless, not My will, but Thy will be done."
c. I believe that it means the very same thing in your life, surrendering your will to His.
3. So it means laying down my will that I might do His will. Wholly and completely.
IV. WHAT WAS THE CONSEQUENCE OF CALEB WHOLLY FOLLOWING THE LORD?
A. He was promised a special inheritance in the land. He was promised Hebron and the land around it including the valley of Eschol that grew such wonderful grapes. This is the promise made to him.
1. Moses had said that he would give him the land that he had trodden upon, because he had wholly followed the Lord.
2. It has been 45 years since the promise was made, he was just 40-years old at the time Moses made the promise to him.
3. He is now 85-years old when he comes to Joshua with the request that the promise made by Moses to him be kept. He said: "Moses swore on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon your feet have trodden shall be your inheritance, and your children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God."
B. He has been kept in good health.
1. He said, "I am as strong this day as I was the day Moses sent me. As my strength was then, even so is it now, I am still able to go into battle."
2. David said of the person that would meditate in the law of the Lord day and night, that he would be like a tree that is planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, his leaf also would not whither, and whatever he did would prosper. I believe that this is a promise of a long healthy life.
3. Moses had told Joshua that if he would meditate in the law of the Lord, day and night, and if he would observe and keep the law, that he would make his way prosperous and have good success.
C. And we read that Hebron therefore became the possession of Caleb.
V. CALEB WHOLLY FOLLOWED THE LORD. WHAT ABOUT YOU? WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS?
A. Not to follow the Lord at all.
1. You are surrounded daily by multitudes who have chosen this option.
2. They have no place for God in their lives.
3. They quite frankly are rather irritated at the thought of God making any requests or demands upon their life.
4. Their thought seems to be, "If He doesn't bother me, I won't bother Him."
5. They have been quite free about taking from God, their life, their breath, the beauty of His creation.
a. Daniel the prophet was pronouncing the judgment of God upon Belshazzar the king of Babylon. He declared, "You praised the gods of gold and silver, but the God who holds your breath in His hand, you have not glorified.
b. How true that is of so many today. Worshipping the gods of gold and silver, while ignoring the true and living God.
6. The children of Israel had forsaken God to worship other things, and when they were in real trouble, they called upon God for help, but He responded to them:
You have forsaken me, and served other gods: therefore I will deliver you no more.
Go and cry unto the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
B. Following the Lord half-heartedly.
1. You will find that the majority of the people in church today fall into this category.
2. You give God a place in your life, but not your whole life.
a. You will allot a certain amount of time for Him as long as it does not interfere with your schedule.
b. He surely does not expect you to attend church on Super Bowl Sunday.
c. And who really needs church more than once a week?
3. God said to Jeremiah:
And you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.
4. It is interesting how that we want God to be wholly for us, but so often we are not willing to be wholly for Him.