Give Me This Mountain

By Warren Henderson

The entertainment industry capitalizes on our desire to see common people accomplish the impossible. Superheroes are thus created to excite our imaginations about being more than what we are. Biblically speaking, we understand that there are only two authority structures with supernatural power – God’s and Satan’s, but the influence of the latter is limited by the first. Rather than wasting our time fanatisizing about imaginary heroes, we should be exploring how real people in their frailty can accomplish incredible feats in the tangible world. Caleb is a good biblical example of someone God empowered to be a true superhero. But why did God choose to use Caleb in a miraculous way to display His glory and not someone else? Let us study Joshua 14-15 to answer this question.

Historical Setting 
Seven years of invasion and conquest in Canaan had concluded; the military garrisons, fortifications and the main armies of the enemies were destroyed. Joshua was then given the task of dividing the inheritance among the tribes of Israel. Having allotted the land east of the Jordan to the two and a half tribes (Josh. 13), Joshua turned his attention to dividing and apportioning the land within Canaan to the remaining tribes. This would be determined by the drawing of lots (14:1-2). 

Caleb Requested His Inheritance 
Before any allotments were made in Canaan, the veteran Caleb stepped forward to assert his claim. Until now he had been quietly waiting because Joshua had been attending to the distribution of the land east of the Jordan. Caleb’s interruption was warranted and he reminded his life-long friend, Joshua, of what Moses had promised forty-five years earlier: “Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it [the Promised Land], and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the LORD” (Dt. 1:36). The fortification of Hebron was to be the city of his possession, still requiring the expulsion of the powerful Anakim (giants, see Deuteronomy 9:2) who resided there. 

Caleb,* a Kenizzite, would not have received a land allotment with the tribes of Israel; thus he presented a short autobiography as a prelude to his appeal (Josh. 14:6-12). Moses had promised him Hebron as an inheritance when the years of wandering concluded and the nation entered into Canaan and conquered it. Moses rewarded Caleb, 40 years old then, for being a faithful scout in Canaan and for withstanding the rebel spies at Kadesh Barnea. What was Caleb’s motivation for standing with Moses at that turbulent junction? Caleb declared, “I wholly followed the LORD my God” (v.8). Forty-five years later, Caleb was still devoted to the LORD. He was faithful among a faithless nation and one of the few who refused to establish an alliance with the Canaanites. He stood faithfully with Joshua as a spy of the land and now he stood faithfully among his people in the land. 

Caleb Was Strong In The Lord 
The 38 years of wandering and the seven years of warring in Canaan had passed since that tragic day of disbelief at Kadesh Barnea. Despite years of blistering desert heat and numerous military engagements, the LORD had wonderfully preserved Caleb. He was now 85 years of age (14:9-10). Despite his age, he remained strong in the LORD: “Yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said” (vv.11-12).

The King James Version of the Bible translates verse 12 as: “If so be the LORD will be with me.” There was no question of Caleb’s mistrusting the LORD. Rather, he mistrusted himself. Caleb is a great example to us in our present day of weakness and complacency. His character upholds the finest virtues to be found in soldiers of the cross today: one who is sold out for the Lord and yet mistrusts oneself. He exhibited unabated [sustained] divine strength because he lacked self-confidence. His humility and continued dependence on God was unrelenting, and thus inspire every true believer to rise above the doldrums of earthly existence to experience real spiritual vitality.

Caleb understood that his dependence on the LORD infused him with divine power; thus, it did not matter to him that his possession was a fortification occupied by giants. Hebron, which the Anakim called Kirjath-arba, was his inheritance, and he wanted to bravely claim it for God (14:15). This city had special significance for the Jewish nation as Abraham and Sarah were buried there (Gen. 23:19, 25:10). Even though he was 85 years of age, he knew the LORD was with him and therefore he had confidence that he would drive the Anakim from his inheritance. 

Caleb Receives His Inheritance 
Joshua was moved by his friend’s address and responded by blessing him and granting his request. Hebron was Caleb’s possession (Josh. 14:13-14), and in the power of the LORD he subdued the giants and restored to the city its proper name (15:13-14). Caleb’s fortitude demonstrates how God’s people in any dispensation are able to overcome their adversaries and adversities: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts” (Zech. 4:6). May we, like Caleb, experience ongoing personal revival by wholly following and depending on the Lord GOD. Then, we too will be strong in the Lord and live in the enjoyment of heavenly things as we patiently engage in earthly conflict. Certainly, the abundant blessing of our True Joshua, Jesus Christ, resides on every Caleb-like Christian. 

Caleb Claims His Inheritance 
Hebron was located within Judah’s portion and Caleb not only took the city from the Anakim, but with the help of his courageous nephew Othniel, he also captured Debir (Josh. 15:14-15). Caleb had promised that whoever was victorious at Debir would have his daughter Achsah’s hand in marriage, so Othniel (who would later become a judge in Israel; see Judges 3:8-11) became Caleb’s son-in-law (Josh. 15:16-17). Caleb bestowed Achsah and Othniel with land south of Hebron for their own inheritance. But after their marriage, Achsah asked her father Caleb for the springs near this land also, which Caleb granted her (15:18-19).

It is worthy to note that because Caleb trusted His God and engaged the enemy in His strength he was victorious and, as a result, increased his inheritance. The land allotments were to pass down from generation to generation within the same tribe. In other words, an individual or clan could not increase their inheritance by buying or stealing from their brethren, but only by engaging and defeating the enemy. The prayer of Jabez illustrates this truth: “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested” (1 Chr. 4:10).

While the Law prohibited Jabez from gaining land through financial acquisition, he could enlarge his territory through legal conquest (that is, by seizing land from those whom God said should be removed from the Promised Land). To further advance the kingdom of God today, believers must do more than entertain each other in conquered territories (their homes and church buildings). They must be willing to venture out beyond these safe havens with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. The Lord is building His Church through the earnest efforts of His people to evangelize the lost. Let us never be satisfied with status quo – may the Lord enlarge our capacity to serve Him as He enlarges His Church.

Caleb Shares His Inheritance 
Because Caleb conquered in the name of Jehovah, he obtained more, which enabled him to bless others more. Besides blessing his daughter and son-in-law with a gift of land which included springs of water, Hebron, the city he captured from the Anakim, became one of the forty-eight priestly cities and one of the six cities of refuge. Caleb did not object to sharing with others that which God had empowered him to possess. He was glad to bless others with what he had acquired in the LORD; this is a great example to follow.

Accordingly, Paul reminded the believers at Corinth that they should not be puffed up in themselves over their possessions: “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Cor. 4:7). Whatever we have comes from God; there is no room for pride. Paul further exhorted the Ephesians that, rather than stealing from others as they may have done before they were saved, they ought to work hard to supply their own necessities and then to assist those in need (Eph. 4:28). With this in mind, may we, like Caleb, not think so highly of ourselves and our possessions that we are unwilling to assist others with what God has graciously placed in our stewardship.

*Caleb’s example shows us that the more we trust in the Lord for what we need, the more we will have to share with others and the greater our own blessing will be. This is a true hero of the faith. Caleb was sold out for the Lord and accomplished the impossible. May we also with humble hearts rise above our own deficiencies [faults] through resurrection power and achieve the spectacular for God. An imaginary superhero will never lead a lost person to Christ, but a real hero of the faith experiencing supernatural power can!

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
—Francis R. Havergal (1836-1879)