“Give me this mountain.” (Joshua 14:12)
Forty-five years before, Caleb had seen a mountain. He and eleven other men had spent forty days in a secret hike through what was then enemy territory. On the trek they had spied on the Amalekites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites. But what most caught Caleb’s eyes was a mountain where the gigantic sons of Anak lived in fortified cities.
The leader of the reconnaissance party had been Caleb’s friend Joshua. Together they had felt the assurance of the Lord surge in their hearts as they quietly looked upon the doomed enemies. Their souls were alive with the optimism and certainty of a victory guaranteed by their almighty God.
I think Caleb mentioned his particular interest to his partner. Maybe the two of them clasped hands on the idea, prayed together, and praised the Lord for His goodness.
But to their dismay the attitude of their ten friends began to sour. Day after day the tone of conversation became more despondent. What had started out as an exciting adventure was turning into a terrifying nightmare. The overwhelming number of their opponents had chipped away the surface faith of the other men and exposed their unbelief.
All this had happened nearly a half a century before. Now, five years into the Promised Land conquest, Caleb once again set his eyes on the mountain he and Joshua had sighted. The promise God had made to the faithful young spy was alive and healthy in the now old fighter’s mind. Although he had had to wait for an entire generation of Israelites to die off, the Lord had preserved his strength and brought him to this moment. The time was ripe for the fulfillment of his dream.
So Caleb stepped forward to claim his mountain prize.
It should not surprise us that Joshua had not forgotten it, nor had God.
It is never fun to watch youthful dreams fade into mist, but the Bible is full of examples of just that. Abraham waited decades for the promised son. Joseph spent years wondering how on earth the bowing sheaves and stars could possibly become a reality. For forty years the shepherd Moses silently grieved over a mission that appeared lost forever.
Using our own mistakes or those of others, God will often weave into our life’s work lengthy seasons of waiting. Do not give in to disheartening thoughts of weakness, age, or liabilities. Stay ready and expectant, and definitely don’t rush matters your own way. Abraham and Moses tried that and both regretted it deeply. When the time is right for us to claim the mountain God has promised us, the wisdom and strength will be there.
Dear Father, it is in me to always want answers right away. I feel like ignorance is necessarily bad, and that if I can’t understand everything around me, I am missing something I deserve. Teach me to relax and trust when dreams seem to fade into the distance. Knowing You is my highest priority and Your will, in Your good time, is all I want. Amen.