12 spys...1 gets the prize...

Read or hear the story from Joshua 14:6-13

Background check: Who was Caleb?
magnifying glassClue #1: 007
Clue #2: Numbers 13

After Israel escaped from Egypt and crossed the desert, they were supposed to enter the Promised Land and settle down. Moses sent 12 spies, one from each tribe, into Canaan to "spy out the land" -- just like Joshua later on sent spies into Jericho. So they went into Canaan, 40 days...from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunne...from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea [Joshua] son of Nun...and 10 others.

Spy Report:
It's a great land, flowing with milk and honey
The cities are large and so are the people.

Advice from the 10:
Forget it.
We would be devoured.

Advice from Caleb and Joshua:palmtree
God says we can do it.
We can.
Let's go!

pyramidDecision of the People:
Let's go back to Egypt.

Decision of God:
Only Caleb and Joshua get land. Everybody else of that generation dies wandering in the wilderness, 40 years.

God said to Moses, None of the people who have seen my glory...and have not obeyed my voice shall see the land that I swore to give to their ancestors...But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me wholeheartedly, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. (Numbers 14:22-24)

Moving up to Joshua 14:9...
45 years later...
Caleb reminds Joshua what Moses said:

Surely the land on which your foot has trodden
shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever...

Original meanings of inheritance:
Military compensation in exchange for service
It's God's land; Israel has stewardship,
        not private ownership (see Lev 25:23)
God cares about dirt (read Joshua and the Promised Land, pg. 88-90)

Write a noteWhat does inheritance mean to you? What have you inherited? What will you pass on? Consider both material and non-material things.
Click here to add your response and/or read others' responses.

...because you wholeheartedly followed the LORD

In this story, God rewards Caleb with prime land for faithful service.

Is this "works righteousness"?
Do rich people, or rich countries, have what they have because they deserve it?
What about "saved by grace alone"?

Think about it...
Do you think service and reward are connected?

Caleb followed the Lord wholeheartedly. Others throughout history have also.

Around 500 BCE
The editors of Joshua, the Deuteronomistic Historians (read Joshua and the Promised Land, pg. 6), distilled this experience into what became the most sacred Hebrew creed:
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart,
And with all your soul, and with all your might. (Deut. 6:5)
500 years later...
....... Hear, O Israel
Jesus of Nazareth, when asked, "Which commandment is first of all?" quoted this creed. (Mark 12:28-30)

Another time, Jesus said that those who give up all to follow him will inherit houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions -- and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10:30)

500 years later...
....... Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius of Loyola prayed:
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it.
250 years later...
....... John Wesley
Wesley prayed:
I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt...I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
150 years later...
....... music
The hymnist prayed:
All to Jesus I surrender; Lord, I give myself to thee; fill me with thy love and power; let they blessing fall on me. (Click on music notes to hear hymn tune.)
That was 100 years ago. What about now?
....... Write a noteDo you want to follow the Lord wholeheartedly? Compose a prayer that honestly expresses your answer, whatever that might be.
Click here to add your response and/or read others' responses.

Hebron, the land Caleb received for his inheritance, is the focus of contemporary land conflict between Palestinians and Jews, and is much in the news. (note*)

Palestinian perspective

Jewish perspective

Note* These links jump to outside sites for further information. Links do not constitute an endorsement by the Women's Division of the information on other web sites. These links expose United Methodist Women to diverse perspectives, afford us an opportunity to compare them to United Methodist positions, and encourage United Methodist Women to critically analyze the issues raised by the Joshua web pages.

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