Saint Paul, Alexander the Great, Vince Lombardi, Ernest Shackleton. What did these men have in common? Was it not the focus, the whole-hearted effort they exercised to achieve their goals? While Saint Paul’s call to preach the Gospel was directly from the Lord, the others seemingly followed unabated and with passion their own agenda.
Caleb, too, was a follower, and what a remarkable follower he was! He followed not his own will, but God’s. Of him the Lord said, “But My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed Me fully, him I will bring into the land. . . .” (Numbers 14:24 KJV) Five more times in Scripture we are told that Caleb “wholly followed the Lord.” Not to say that Caleb was sinless, but as much as any mere human can, he wholly followed the Lord. No one else was ever afforded this honorable legacy.
After the exodus from Egypt, Caleb was one of twelve spies sent to scout the Promised Land. The twelve reported back that there were giants in the land of Canaan, against whom the Israelites appeared as grasshoppers. Ten men advised that the plan of invasion was doomed. Caleb, along with Joshua, was the servant who was willing to faithfully follow the Lord. He exhorted the people: “Let us go up at once, and possess it. . . . The Lord is with us: fear them not.” (Numbers 13:30; 14:9 KJV) But to no avail.
As a result, that whole adult generation perished in the desert. After forty years of wandering, only Caleb (and Joshua) entered Canaan. It was because he wholly followed the Lord.
And because Caleb wholly followed the Lord, he was given as his inheritance the city and mountain of Hebron.
But to possess it, Caleb had to conquer it. At age 85, strong in the Lord and still strong in body, Caleb and his family possessed Hebron, driving from it the descendants of the same fearsome giants who had so terrified Israel years earlier. What a blessing it is to wholly follow the Lord!
There was another Who wholly followed God. And that was our precious Redeemer. Jesus followed the will of God wholly, fully, completely, and sinlessly. There was not a word He spoke that was not given to Him by His Father. There was not a miracle He performed that was not of the Father. There was not a minute of His earthly life that contained a single sin or misstep. And following His Father’s will absolutely, He willingly went to the cross to redeem all mankind. Indeed, our Jesus followed the Lord God totally wholly! What a gracious salvation is ours because He did so.
Who are we following? Our own passions, goals, will and agenda? Or are we following the Lord? Wholly?
When confronted with enemies that appear as big as giants; when we find ourselves a minority against the majority; when our trials and sufferings seem like a forty-year sentence in a parched desert; when tempted to doubt God’s abiding presence, His grace, His strength and His promise of an eternal inheritance—are we following the Lord with humble trust, fully and wholly?
Caleb, God’s servant did. So our Lord invites us to pick up our cross and follow Him—faithfully! Our dear Jesus instructs us: “If any man serve Me, let him follow Me . . . if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.” (John 12:26) That is today’s challenge and privilege: to serve and follow the Lord fully in body and spirit. That means to flee sinful lusts and follow after righteousness, faith, charity and peace (2 Timothy 2:22). All this is of the Holy Spirit.
Tomorrow’s glory: to possess our promised inheritance, to serve with honor, and to abide with our Savior God—eternally and completely holy.
Not to say that Caleb was sinless, but as much as any mere human can, he wholly followed the Lord.