MLToday: [Joshua Chapter Fourteen]: Give Me My Mountain. In this chapter Caleb demands Joshua to give him Mount Hebron to conquer. Caleb was an old man but his zeal was unabated. The mountain was held by the Jebusites whose name means “down trodden”. Everyone of us has a Mount Hebron in our lives that tempts us to live in the shadow of depression and negativity. By following Caleb’s example we can overcome and gain great victories even as the years of our life advance.

Today: [Joshua Chapter Fourteen]: Give Me My Mountain. In this chapter Caleb demands Joshua to give him Mount Hebron to conquer. Caleb was an old man but his zeal was unabated. The mountain was held by the Jebusites whose name means “down trodden”. Everyone of us has a Mount Hebron in our lives that tempts us to live in the shadow of depression and negativity. By following Caleb’s example we can overcome and gain great victories even as the years of our life advance.

[Jos 14:1-15 KJV] 1 And these [are the countries] which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them. 2 By lot [was] their inheritance, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and [for] the half tribe. 3 For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes and an half tribe on the other side Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them. 4 For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell [in], with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance. 5 As the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land.

The beginning of this chapter continues the narrative of dividing the yet unconquered lands of the Canaanites. How was the land divided? Did they take a census of the people and divide the land on a per capita basis in order to give everyone a fair share? That would see logical but that isn’t the way it was done. Verse 2 says the dividing of the land was “by lot” or in other words by “Urim and Thummim”. In the Pentateuch and the historical where it speaks of “inquiring of the Lord” after the time of Moses the referring was to cast of lots by the Urim and Thummim. These were a form of sacred dice that were kept in a pouch in the High Priest’s breastplate. When a question was put to them the supplicant would stand before the high priest and ask their question. The high priest would then reach into the pouch and cast the lots for a yes or no outcome. This was how Achan was discovered after the defeat at the city of Ai. Every major decision was made after the time of Moses by consulting the Urim and the Thummim. Some Jewish sources believed that what actually happened when a question was asked included all of the twelve stones in the breastplate of the High Priest. Some felt that lights would shine from the stones and spelt out words and sentences. Others believed that when a question was asked that the stones would move in the breastplate and form words to answer questions.

To seek answers by these means is known as “cleromancy” or “consulting the sacred”. What we see here then is a clear process of answer questions but supernatural means. Today we don’t use dice or something of this nature but we do have examples of important questions answered by something other than logical deliberation. In Acts 15:28 the question of Jewish law being imposed on Gentile believers was answered by ceremony indicated by the statement “it seemed good to God and to us not to put any other burden.” In Acts 1 a replacement for Judas was chosen by casting lots but there doesn’t seem that anything every became of Matthias so the casting of lots in this case wasn’t really fruitful. This difference between Old Testament inquiry and New Testament inquiry is that of following the inward witness of the Spirit of God. Paul spoke of this in Romans:

[Rom 8:14 KJV] 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

So the question is by what means are you led in the important decisions of your life? Are you following religious principle or common sense? Or are you listening to the voice of God in your life. Sometimes people want someone else to tell them what to do rather than get it from God themselves. This is a recipe for trouble and usually ends up in rebellion. It’s easy to discount what someone else thinks you can do – but quite another thing to sear your conscience from obeying the voice of the Spirit of God within.

6 Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea. 7 Forty years old [was] I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as [it was] in mine heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God. 9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God. 10 And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while [the children of] Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I [am] this day fourscore and five years old. 11 As yet I [am as] strong this day as [I was] in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength [was] then, even so [is] my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. 12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims [were] there, and [that] the cities [were] great [and] fenced: if so be the LORD [will be] with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said. 13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. 14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel. 15 And the name of Hebron before [was] Kirjatharba; [which Arba was] a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.

Caleb was a very interesting character in the Old Testament. Looking at his lineage we see he was the head of the tribe of Judah. Jewish commentators maintain that he was married to the Miriam, Moses sister who danced before the Lord. Abigail’s husband Nabal from 1 Sam. 25 was in Caleb’s lineage. This is interesting because Caleb’s strength is seen in his audacious boldness in the Lord. Nabal was also brash and audacious to scorn David and his mighty men but died as a result after having a stroke in a fit of anger. So Caleb and Nabal were very much alike except one feared God and the other did not.

Caleb’s name means “a dog” or in some commentators “a faithful companion”. He was one of the two spies who came back with a good report that they were well able to take the land when the 10 spies said otherwise. What can we learn from Caleb’s name? In the Gospel of John Jesus made some statements about worship:

[Jhn 4:23-24 KJV] 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.

The word worship here means “to lick the hand like a dog…” We have two dogs who sleep in crates at night. In the morning when I bring the smallest out and put her on a leash to go outside she greets me by licking my hand. It’s the first thing she does every morning. It’s a form of worship and adoration. What is our posture when we approach God? Is our worship an expression of casual acknowledgement or intimate worship? Do we come to God in aloof recognition or emotional abandonment?

Caleb being an old man was still full of fire for what God had promised him. He boldly demanded “give me my mountain…” When he asked for the mountain he was asking for a problem because the mountain was still held by the Jebusites. The name of the Jebusites means “down trodden”. When we get older we tend to be more tongue in cheek over the brashness of our youth. Our idealism is tempered by years of experience and disappointment. Every man or woman who walks with God will have this mountain to face as they come to middle age. Are you going to allow yourself to be disappointed and downhearted or are you going to defeat the Jebusite influence in your life? Hebron is where David ultimately built his summer palace and where the ark of the Covenant was kept in the Tabernacle of David. David places the ark there after bringing it from the house of Obed-edom. He then went on to appoint WORSHIPPERS to worship God there 24/7. David knew whose mountain this was – it was Caleb’s. He knew what Caleb’s name meant – “to lick the hand…” What is the key to overcoming depression, anxiety and being down trodden in life? God invites us even in the advancing years to worship Him – this is where Caleb’s boldness came from. He was a faithful friend of God who worshipped God intimately with abandon. Let us follow his example.

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