“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert.” (Joshua 14:10a)
When’s the last time you kept a promise that you made to someone from 5 years ago? How about from 45 years ago?
Do you remember being a kid and promising things like:
“I’ll never do that again…” (to our parent)
“I’ll make it up to you…” (to our sibling)
“We’ll be best friends forever!” (to our best friend… at the time)
How about as an adult?
“You can have this if you’re good…” (to our kid)
“I’ll get this to you by today…” (to our co-worker)
“If I get this raise, I’ll start tithing…” (to God)
Unfortunately, as humans our promises often come up empty and short. But fortunately, God’s never do!
If you remember Caleb from the book of Numbers (13 & 14), he was one of the 12 spies of Moses. Caleb and Joshua were the two spies that, despite seeing the strength and ferociousness of the inhabiting people in Canaan, didn’t doubt that God would deliver the Promised Land into their hands.
Aside from my opening thought, there is a lot that jumped out at me from Caleb’s story from Joshua 14, so I’ll just touch upon a few points from this brief passage.
God rewards our faithfulness. Because of Caleb’s faith and obedience, God made a promise to reward him.
“The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.” (Josh. 14:9)
God will use both the young and old to accomplish His purpose. Regardless of whether you’re in middle school or a senior-citizen, just like Caleb, God will use those who desire to be used.
“So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.” (Josh. 14:10b-11)
God will empower us to overcome the most difficult challenges. The land promised to Caleb was still inhabited by the intimidating, giant Anakite people at the time; but again, Caleb was confident that the Lord would deliver victory into their hands.
“You yourself heard that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Josh. 14:12)
God keeps His promises. Even though it took 45 years to get from the day of the promise to the day of delivery, God was absolutely faithful to His word.
“Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.” (Josh. 14:13)
God rewards faithfulness, uses all who desire to be used, will empower us to accomplish things for His glory, and keeps His promises. And since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then in essence all of these attributes of God, are also promises to His children.
While sadly our promises may change because of our circumstances, or the mere fact that we are fickle due to our human emotions and often careless with our words, God is quite the opposite. He is the very essence of faithfulness, integrity, and reliability when it comes to His character and His words.
What about us? We should not take what we tell people so lightly, and we especially shouldn’t take what we tell God so lightly. Yes, while our intent is often good at the time and we are subject to our humanity, we should still ultimately strive for our words to matter and for our promises to be kept. We should strive for our character to remain true regardless of whether we’re with people from church, with people from school or work, or at home alone.
I can trust in Jesus because He is faithful. I can trust in Him because He never shifts with the world or changes. I can trust in Him because the promises He made even thousands of years ago, He has kept and will keep.
My prayer is that each of us would become more and more like Jesus every day of our lives. We can depend on His words, and as His children, people should be able to depend on ours.