8 Several other men of Israel went up with me. What they reported terrified the people. But I followed the Lord my God with my whole heart. 9 So on that day Moses made a promise to me. He said, ‘The land you have walked on will be your share. It will be the share of your children forever. That’s because you have followed the Lord my God with your whole heart.’ (Deuteronomy 1:36)
10 “The Lord has done just as he promised. He made the promise while Israel was wandering around in the desert. That was 45 years ago. He has kept me alive all this time. So here I am today, 85 years old! 11 I’m still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. I’m just as able to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 So give me this hill country. The Lord promised it to me that day. At that time you yourself heard that the Anakites were living there. You also heard that their cities were large and had high walls around them. But I’ll drive them out, just as the Lord said I would. He will help me do it.”
13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb, the son of Jephunneh. He gave him Hebron as his share. 14 So ever since that time Hebron has belonged to Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite. That’s because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, with his whole heart
Joshua 14:8-14 (New International Reader’s Version)
Usually when we look at people who are blessed to do the impossible in later lives in the Bible, we’re quick to bring up Abraham and Sarah, or Elisabeth. However, Caleb is my fave when I read about those with later life achievements.
In tonight’s Scripture, we see the Israelities taking possession of Canaan-the Promised Land. This was a process done with military action. Here we have Caleb requesting the hill country of Hebron from Joshua. If you remember in Deuteronomy, Caleb was one of the 12 spies that entered Canaan to see if it could be conquered. Despite Canaan’s bounty, 10 of the 12 spies reported that the land was unconquerable and spooked the Israelites from conquering. Only Joshua and Caleb said that God has given them the land. In response to the negative reaction of the Israelites, God said that they would wander the wilderness until the fighting men (adults) were dead. In the end, only Joshua and Caleb made it into the promised land of Canaan.
Now 45 years later, we see an 85 year old Caleb still rarin’ to go and possess Hebron. He assured Joshua that he was just as strong as he was when he was 40. Joshua gave him Hebron; and from what I gather Caleb successfully drove the Anakites out of Hebron and claimed it.
Now many of us would tell Caleb to take it easy and relax. Of course, we’d give the pat, “You’re too old for that,” or “It’s too late to do that now.” Joshua however saw Caleb’s desire, plus the promise made to him 45 years ago. Joshua didn’t hinder Caleb’s request, however blessed it and the rest was history.
Many of us who have lived for some time-even those of us who are skateboarding into their 40s or 50s-had a dream from back in the day. Maybe it was something we desired as a child or as a younger adult. Maybe we had a glimpse of our “promised land” and knew that God would deliver it into our hands. However, we had our “10 spies”: parents; besties; teachers; pastors; spouses; someone we trusted who said it would be impossible; and we allowed their words to impact us. Then like the Israelites, we too wandered in our wilderness for years….
Now, we’ve lived some and things changed: Maybe your kids have grown up; your spouse has either grown up or has gone; your besties done beat it…whatever. Your now feeling that dream coming back to you-your “promised land” coming back into view. Now you want to try for it again after years of wandering. Well I have good news: it’s not too late! Like Caleb, you can still possess your “Hebron”; your “hill country”. Plus, God will empower you to drive out the “Anakites” of opposition out: nay-sayers and the lot.
Now I’m not saying you can fulfill your dream of being a professional soccer player you had at 25, or go into ballet as you dreamed at 20; and now you’re in your 50s. However you can coach a soccer team, or be a marketer for a local dance troupe. There are still ways you can reconnect to that “promised land” that evaded you for whatever reason in the past. Me? It’s being a full-time photographer. Even though I’m married with a child in my 50s, I can still do fine art and showcase my work. My ultimate dream is travel photography, which I can move towards as my child matures starting here in the US of A.
Tonight, let’s look at Caleb-a Biblical hero given a second chance. We too can see that God will grant us our second chance and show us that it’s not too late to follow our dream; to possess our promised land.
I hope you have been blessed and encouraged by tonight’s post. May God empower you to follow you dreams and reach your promised land, no matter you age.
(Image: Clock face at night. South Orange, NJ (?). 2015)