Story time:


Numbers 13 The Lord said to Moses, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites….” So Moses sent them …. 4 [Included in the 12 were]… Caleb son of Jephunneh  …[and] Hoshea son of Nun  16 Moses changed the name of Hoshea son of Nun to Joshua.

17 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up there into the Negeb, and go up into the hill country, 18 and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, 19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified, 20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be bold, and bring some of the fruit of the land.” …

21 So they went up and spied out the land … 25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. 26 And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the Israelites …; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. .”

30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 So they brought to the Israelites an unfavorable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size. 33 There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”


The Israelites ignored the minority report of Caleb and refused to go into the promised land because of the giants that lived there so God sent out again into the desert of 40 years, until all that unbelieving generation died, except for Moses, Joshua and Caleb.


Then God brought them back to the same spot. Moses then died, Joshua took over and into the land they went.  Then Joshua apportioned the Promised Land into the 12 tribes.


Joshua 14: 6 Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal; and Caleb son of Jephunneh said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me to spy out the land; and I brought him an honest report. But my companions who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’ 10 And now, as you see, the Lord has kept me alive, as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel was journeying through the wilderness; and here I am today, eighty-five years old. 11 I am still as strong today as I was on the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war, and for going and coming. 12 So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day; for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; it may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as the Lord said.” 13 Then Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14 So Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb … to this day, because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 … And the land had rest from war.


Here was Caleb, 85 years old coming and asking for his portion. One would have expected that he would be looking for a chance to put his feet up on an easy piece of land with no hurdles to climb over, no enemies to beat, nice flat land that did not need beating into shape

Yet he asked for the hard land – the land of the giants. The land that had scared the Israelites into not going into that land.  Caleb had not lost his resolve.  He still had the view that he had at the beginning: “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Hold that story in your mind.

Let me tell you another story: This time about an incident during the battle between the Israelites led by King Saul and the invading Philistines.

1 Samuel 14:1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. Saul was staying in the outskirts of Gibeah under the pomegranate tree that is at Migron; the troops that were with him were about six hundred men, ... In the pass, by which Jonathan tried to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on one side and a rocky crag on the other; the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh…

Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will act for us; for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” 11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines; and the Philistines said, “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” 12 The men of the garrison [taunted] Jonathan and his armor-bearer, saying, “Come up to us, and we will show you something.” Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me; for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer following after him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer, coming after him, killed them. 15 There was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people; the garrison and even the raiders trembled; the earth quaked; and it became a very great panic.


Some time ago we were invading another church in town on a Sunday night and the pastor was talking on this passage.  About how Saul the king cowered under the pomegranate tree whilst his son Jonathan and his armourbearer went to the edge of the canyon separating the Israelites from the Philistines. And how the 2 of them went across that canyon and routed the enemy.

Names in Hebrew are important clues. Bozez was the name of the rocky outcrop on the Israelite side of the canyon and it means glistening white, shining; Seneh was the name of the rocky outcrop on the Philistine side and it means the acacia, rock-thorn, or just the thorn.   The contrast is apparent, both in terms of spiritual and physical. Purity and wilderness. Safety and danger.

The pastor stopped and turned to us Eastsiders and said:  Most Christians are like Saul and want to stay in safety and stay in denial of what is happening in the world.  Some are like Jonathan and his armour bearer and that go into the enemy’s territory as raiders but return to their side of the canyon. But you Eastsiders live in the enemy’s territory and rout the enemy by being there all the time.


Wow. Prophetic words.


So what is the link between these 2 stories?


Listen to Caleb: I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.(v8); , the Lord has kept me alive (v10) I am still as strong today as I was on the day that Moses sent me (v11) The land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever (v.9), So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day (v12)


What comes to mind from the passages about Caleb considering our discussion over the previous weeks about abiding and being?  I hear the concepts of Faithfulness, provision, patience, trust, then reward.


What comes to mind from the passages about Jonathan, the Philistines and the prophetic word considering our discussion about abiding and being?  Again the same principles of Faithfulness, provision, patience, trust, then reward:




Gods is faithful to achieve his purposes in us. Charles Spurgeon reminds us that the faithfulness of God is the foundation and cornerstone of our hope of final perseverance. The saints shall persevere in holiness, because God perseveres in grace.[1]


Caleb said it may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as the Lord said.” He affirmed that God was faithful to his word.


Jonathan makes up his mind to attack the Philistines in the energy which he derives from faith in God. “God for us, God with us”, as we sang last week




The psychologists Cloud and Townsend tell us that we do not grow because of will power or self-effort, but because of God’s provision. God offers the help we need and then we have to respond to that provision.[2]


Caleb saw God’s provision in keeping his youthful strength even into his old age, so knew he could defeat the inhabitants of the land and take the land itself.


Jonathan saw that God was providing a way to beat the Philistines and trusting that provision so he and his armourbearer attacked.




For Caleb that required waiting 40 years. For Jonathan, it required waiting for a sign from God to proceed, that sign was the Philistines taunting him and calling him down.






Trust is confidence in the character of God.  Firmly and deliberately we say ‘I do not understand what God is doing or even when God is, but I know that he is out to do me good.’[3]


Caleb trusted God to deliver the land that Moses had promised him – the land where his feet had trodden


Jonathan’s success was not in his own power—but it depended upon God—and he expected success neither from his own strength nor his own merit.[4]


Caleb and Jonathan abided in the presence of the Lord and achieved success not from their own actions but through the power of God.


And finally reward. 


Caleb took the land, Jonathan defeated the Philistine army.


The prophetic word reminds me that we abide, in the sense of dwell, among the giants opposed to God – the powers of darkness and of principalities and powers, of addiction and oppression, yet we dwell, in the sense of sit, in the kingdom of God within that area.


We are not divorced from the realities that face the people of the world, we do not sit in a bubble, we bring the kingdom of God to bear on this side of the canyon. We occupy the land of the giants, because God has conquered them.


The sense of the faithfulness of God, the patience and trust in us waiting for God’s provision and timing are all for us.


The rewards will be people set free from the tyranny of the enemy. And as Joshua 14:15 says “the land [will have] rest from war


So let’s go into the mountain country of the giants; let’s go into the land occupied by the enemy, because God has already won the battle.



[1] Charles Spurgeon All of Grace  121

[2] Cloud & Townsend How People grow: what the Bible reveals about personal growth, 69

[3] Richard Foster Prayer: finding the heart’s true home