Expire or retire
I wholeheartedly followed the LORD my God. – Joshua 14:8
17 Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said,
18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected– even children in the third and fourth generations.’
19 In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.
20 Then the LORD said, I will pardon them as you have requested.
21 But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the LORD’s glory,
22 not one of these people will ever enter that land. . ..
24 But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.
Boomers have changed how retirement is viewed. “Baby boomers have rewritten the rules in every stage of life, and retirement is no different. They see retirement as more of a transition from full-time work” (Catherine Collinson).
A new model of retirement has been developed. Rather than work 40-60-hour workweeks, they stay active and involved on their own terms. With thought and planning, people find ways to live a life that keeps them active, focused, but provides continual growth and value.
“Retire? Never! I’m going to stay in show business until I’m the only one left” (George Burns).
The Father does not make promises that He does not keep. The Father solemnly promised that He would free the nation of Israel from slavery and bondage in Egypt and bring them into a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8).
But the Father never promised it would be easy.
The nation was freed by the Father’s mighty hand. He used ten devastating plagues, and the miracle of the Red Sea. He parted the sea for the nation of Israel while destroying the armies of Egypt. He brought them to the land of Kadesh-Barnea just a stone’s throw away the Promised Land.
A committee of 12 spies, one from each of the 12 tribes, was selected to secretly enter the land and spy it out. Were the promises of the Father really true? Was the Promised Land as He had described it?
Indeed, it was all true, but there was a catch. The land was full of walled cities, large armies, and worst of all giants, the sons of Anak. We are very familiar with one of them who lived and died 400 years later in the time David, Goliath.
Two reports were compiled. An evil report was given by the majority. Ten of the spies acknowledged the magnificence of the land, but they emphasized the fear that was in their hearts. They focused on the obstacles. For them it boiled down to simple facts, the fortifications were too strong, and the armies were too powerful.
Their exact words were, “we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:33).
Rather than growing in faith, they succumbed to fear.
Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, were of a different spirit and they gave a good report. They emphasized the promise of the Father.
6 Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb . . ..
7 spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.”
8 “If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us– a land which flows with milk and honey.”
9 “Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”
Just imagine, indeed their foes were strong and powerful, the Father, the Lord God Almighty had already removed their protection from them.
We forget that the kingdom of God is not a democracy but a theocracy. The will of the majority does not play well with the King of eternity. The supposed “adults in the room” accepted the majority report. The Father’s response was simple and harsh. If you’re afraid to go into the land, no problem! You will all die in the wilderness. Problem solved.
After 40 years of wandering, all those over 20 years of age at the beginning were dead. There were two notable exceptions Joshua and Caleb.
REFLECT & PRAY
The choice is always before us. Every day we choose to follow the Lord, more or less. Caleb demonstrates that ordinary people can have extraordinary conviction and courage. Rather than succumbing to fear, he grew strong in faith.
Father I recognize my human frailty. I am prone to wander and leave the God that I love. But You have bent my heart towards You. Encourage me to follow You wholeheartedly.
Caleb faithful and loyal to the Father, was bold and courageous. He was like a Navy Seal; quitting was not an option. Caleb’s only option was victory. He had no Plan B.
He claimed the Father’s promises and did not allow the long and arduous decades in the wilderness to wear down his belief. He fully intended to take possession of Canaan forty-five years earlier, and now nothing had changed.
10 “Now, as you can see, the LORD has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise – even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old.
11 I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then.
12 So give me the hill country that the LORD promised me.
The Father said of him, “My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully” (Numbers 14:24). Caleb was a profile in courage. He became mighty in war and put foreign armies to flight (Hebrews 11:34).
The Father does not have a generous retirement plan. He would rather have us expire on our feet moving forward than retire reclining comfortably.
If Caleb had a tombstone the words written on it would say, “He wholeheartedly followed the LORD.” What would yours say?
“When we choose to ‘wholly follow’ the Lord, He will move heaven and earth, if necessary, to fulfill His good promises to us” (Stanley).