I am excited to dive deep into the story of Caleb in the Bible with you. In part, because it is the name of my oldest son and I named him Caleb because of the strong moral character we see in scripture. This was before I realized how very popular the name would become.
Over the years I have often reminded him of his namesake and prayed that he becomes this strong man of faith. This verse is the basis for my prayer. May my son follow God fully and may the spirit of the world not be in him.
But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. (Numbers 14:24)
We are going to answer questions like:
- What kind of man was Caleb in the Bible?
- Did he enter the promised land?
- What is significant about the life of Caleb?
- What made him different?
- When did Caleb die?
- What is the meaning of Caleb in the Bible?
Who Was Caleb in the Bible?
We first meet Caleb in the Book of Numbers. Moses has led the people out of Egypt after an incredible display of God’s power. The plagues, a major exile, and the parting of the Red Sea are all behind them now.
They have met with God and been given instructions of how to live a righteous life as well as the building of the Tabernacle. God had revealed Himself unto them, giving them the tools to live according to truth and how to remove the pagan darkness they had experienced in Egypt.
It is now time to return to the land promised to Abraham. This is the time they had been talking about and dreaming about for hundreds of years.
Moses chooses 12 spies, 1 from each tribe, all known leaders amongst their people. They are instructed to go into the land and assess the situation.
Can you imagine with what eagerness they enter the land? They had been told about this land their whole lives. It was finally coming to pass.
While journeying through the land they were excited to find that it really was a land flowing with milk and honey. Grapes grew in bunches so large that they put them on a pole and carried them between two men. They picked pomegranates and figs to bring back to show the people.
They also saw strong fortified cities and giants.
The people gathered around excitedly when the spies returned. No doubt they had been anxiously awaiting the news.
They told all about the amazing things they had seen but ended their report with the strong people that inhabited the land. There was no way they could fight against them.
Caleb jumps in and hushes the other spies declaring that they should take over the land immediately. He is fully confident that they could overcome it.
Sadly, not everyone shared his same faith.
The spies protest loudly telling of the giants which in turn scares the people. A shameful display follows.
So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” (numbers 14:1-4)
Now Joshua (yes, the same one with Jericho) joins Caleb and intreats the people not to rebel and to trust in the Lord.
God has enough and punishes the Children of Israel. All of the unbelievers would not enter the promised land. They were now forced to wander the wilderness for forty years until the adults in the group die and then their children will receive the honor of entering the land.
Joshua and Caleb are excluded from this punishment as they were the only ones who stood with God.
Fast forward 45 years and we see Caleb again. He comes to Joshua and reminds him of God’s promise 40 years earlier. He asks for the area of Hebron.
He is just as confident at 85 as he was at 40. He reminds Joshua that the sons of Anakim (giants) dwelled there and declares that God will help him remove them.
And God does!
Interesting Facts About Caleb in the Bible
- The meaning of Caleb is “dog like” with an indication of loyalty and courage. Very strange.
- Caleb was 40 years old when he was a spy for Moses
- At 85, Caleb was just as strong as when he was 40
- Caleb’s faith never wavered
- Caleb’s daughter Acsah is just as bold as her father (Joshua 15:17-19)
- I couldn’t find anywhere the age at which he died. If you know what it is, leave it in the comments!
Check out these amazing women of faith from the Bible!
What Can We Learn From Caleb?
So, what can we learn from Caleb in the Bible?
Right now, I am picturing the two of us sitting across from each other at a coffee shop table, both of us deep in thought about the significance of a great man of God. We are sitting with our weaknesses while a fire burns in our hearts.
That fire is faith and a strong desire to serve the Lord with all of our hearts. To follow Him fully, just like Caleb. But what does that mean in a different age and culture?
Faith is the same in any dispensation. God requires the same from each of us, it just looks different according to your situation and personality.
Caleb understood who God was because He chose to believe. He didn’t hesitate to act upon that faith nor did he allow the naysayers to change his mind.
He stood for truth when the majority doubted. He remembered the promises of God and acted upon them.
Faith is not passive. You act upon it, grow in it, allow it to surround you so that it rules your heart and mind and actions.
Caleb saw the giants just as everyone else did, but he believed God was greater.
Do you believe God is greater than the giants in your life?
Did you know that after God sentences the Children of Israel to wander in the desert that a group of them decided to invade Canaan on their own in rebellion to God’s decree.
The did not succeed.
May this be a lesson to you.
What are your thoughts on Caleb in the Bible? How do you relate to this story? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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