The spies are returning, and they’re carrying fresh fruit. The grape clusters are so heavy that two men must carry them. The first report brought joy to Moses and Aaron, “It’s a land flowing with milk and honey.” You should agree. Look at the size of the fruit.
Nevertheless, the joy is short-lived. The people in Canaan are giants. They live in walled cities—the hearts of the Israelites melt in despair. Fear overwhelms them.
Forty-year-old Caleb (Joshua 14:7), one of the returning spies, stands to speak. He encourages his beloved nation to go and possess the land that God has for them. Ten spies disagreed, saying, “the inhabitants are bigger and stronger than we.” Fear sweeps through the crowd. Israel chooses to remain in the wilderness rather than obey God.
Picture in your mind the nation disagreeing with God’s leaders to the point where they wanted to kill them. Moses and Aaron bow their faces before God and millions of Israelites. They began to pray. Joshua and Caleb ripped their clothes, saying, “the land is good.” (Numbers 14:7-9).
Israel wanted to stone the four men (Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb). But Moses prayed like no other human. He intervened for the nation, and God consented to his prayer. God stated, “All Israel from twenty years of age and older would die in the desert because of their disobedience; only Joshua and Caleb enter the promised land.”
Forty years later (Numbers 14:33), Joshua, Caleb and a new generation of Israel walk through the Jordan river. Five years later, Caleb approached Joshua (Joshua 14:10) and said, “Give me this mountain” (Numbers 14:12). This is the same land that Caleb, the oldest in all of Israel, spied out two decades before. The land he claimed in his heart to love. He wasn’t afraid of the big inhabitants; he depended on God. The same God who extended his life while others died was the same Almighty God who divided the Red Sea and the Jordan river. The one who promised Abraham the land of Israel to him and his descendants.
Eighty-five-year-olds are supposed to retire, but not this one. God still uses the elderly. They learned a few things in life and appreciated where and how God protected them.
Caleb knew the Canaanites were mighty; he saw the fortified walls were high. But this man remembered seeing God crumbling the walls of Jericho and providing manna and quail in the mornings and evenings for decades. So, finally, he concluded God could defeat every enemy in the promised land.
By faith, Caleb believes God uses old people to do what youth cannot do. His physical strength may have diminished, but his spiritual muscles were reaching their prime.