A Long Obedience
Gracious Lord, thank You for the hope that sustains and for Your Spirit who empowers me. All praise to You.
Read Joshua 14:6-15
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“God … will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them” (C.S. Lewis).
I’m writing this note on my 57th birthday and I know exactly what I’d like to receive for a present: the same level of energy Caleb had at age 85! Maybe the younger family members rolled their eyes at his claim of physical prowess (11): “Sure, Gramps, you can still do it.” Even so, there was no questioning Caleb’s spiritual intensity.
But there’s more to this story than what seems like the bravado of an aging warrior. When Caleb was 40 years old, he accepted a mission from God to explore the Promised Land (Num. 13), and his report at the time finds an echo in Paul’s words centuries later: “If God is for us, who can be against us (Num. 14:8,9; Rom. 8:31)? Unfortunately the Israelites rejected Caleb’s recommendation and it cost them decades of heartache and wandering in the wilderness. That’s why Caleb’s statement in our passage today is so poignant: 45 years later he’s still on the mission God gave him in the Desert of Paran! What’s the secret to finishing well in our spiritual journey today?
Our passage offers an important clue, and mentions it three times: wholehearted (8,9,14). Caleb made it his lifetime priority to follow the Lord with unreserved enthusiasm, passion and commitment. That’s what wholehearted means. Caleb’s devotion was recognized by God (Num. 14:24) and God’s promise is now confirmed by Joshua (14). Caleb’s life embodied the idea captured in the title of Eugene Peterson’s book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Growing older definitely has its challenges, whether you are 57 or 85! But the key to making the most of whatever time God gives you is to find and lock in on your mission from God and never let go.
How is your commitment to following the Lord a priority in your schedule for today? How will you express that commitment with enthusiasm and passion?
Father, I thank You for the example of Caleb and others who model perseverance in their walk with You and faithfulness in following Your Kingdom goals.
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