Endurance: Joshua 14:6-15

Coincides with Sunday,  October 23, 2016

Often elderly people can be made to feel irrelevant, especially in cultures that place a high value on youth. The story of Caleb feels like, in some ways, the battle cry of the aged. Due to his fellow Israelites’ sin of unbelief, Caleb was forced to wander for 40 years in harsh wilderness conditions. Even after all that time, however, he had not given up, but remained focused on the promise God had given him. He teaches an important lesson about enduring to the end, equipped only with the promise of God.

Preliminary question

  • In what ways do people generally improve or diminish with age?

TAKING IN: Understanding?

  • What are the repeated words and ideas?

  • Observe that in verse 6 the people of Judah come to Joshua, but then the focus is immediately on Caleb. In fact, in this section on inheritances (Joshua 13-19), Joshua and Caleb are the only two individuals who are given land. What is the significance of this?

  • This is the middle of three Caleb stories. Read both the succeeding and preceding stories to get a fuller picture on this man and his character: Numbers 13:30-33; 14:6-10, 24 Joshua 15:13-19 (repeated in Judges 1:11-15, and then followed by 3:7-11, a story about his son-in-law, Othniel.)

  • Think about the phrase used to describe Caleb in Numbers 14:24: “a different spirit.” What does this mean to you? How is Caleb different generally from the other Israelites?

  • In the Joshua 14 story about Caleb, what stands out to you about him?

  • Consider the repeated phrase, “wholly followed the LORD my God” (14:8, 9). How would his circumstances have made this difficult for Caleb?

  • Why does Caleb mention his age? What stands out to you about his age? To what do you attribute Caleb’s unusual strength at the age of 85? Do you think in this regard he is an example to us of what we can be, or a special case?

  • What does Caleb say about the LORD?

  • Why do you think he says that the LORD “may” be with him so that he could drive them out? (The Hebrew word means “perhaps.”)

  • Consider the concluding phrase, “and the land had rest from war.” What do you think this phrase means? (In light of the fact that war was ongoing in subsequent chapters and in the book of Judges.)

LIVING OUT: Applying

  • Do you feel that Hong Kong culture places too great of a value on youth to the detriment of the elderly? How should the church respond?

  • What does Caleb teach you about aging well?

  • What does it mean to you to wholly follow the Lord?

  • In light of this story, read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 to see Paul’s experience. What is the difference and similarity between him and Caleb? Do you think most Christians are experiencing 2 Corinthians 4:16-18?

  • What is the key to growing stronger internally even as our bodies fall apart with age?

  • How does Jesus fulfill this story? (See especially Hebrews 12:1-2.)

Go to top