Give Me This Mountain

Bible Book: Joshua  14 : 6-12
Subject: Senior Adults; Faithfulness of God; Christian Living; Dedication
Introduction

Joshua 14:6-12

"(6) Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the LORD said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea. (7) Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. (8) Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God. (9) And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God. (10) And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. (11) As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. (12) Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said."

Let us first recall that the Book of Joshua is about living the victorious Christian life. When we arrive at this Bible book we no longer see the people wandering around in the desert without hope. No, here we see them entering in to the promise that God had given them. You will remember that we learned last week from 1 Corinthians chapter 10 that the events which occurred during the days we are studying from the Old Testament are examples for us in the New Testament age. That means that there are lessons for us in the here and now from this old story in the past. We can learn how to have victory in our lives too, if we are wise and understanding regarding these truths.

Sadly, many are floundering during these modern times. The Lord is eschewed now more than ever by the world. Someone recently said that Christianity may soon be seen by the world as a virus that needs to be wiped off the earth. The songwriter penned:

"Our Lord is now rejected
And by this world disowned,
By many still neglected
And by very few enthroned."

It is true that very few have enthroned Him as Lord. Many know Him personally, some know Him prominently, but only a few know Him preeminently! Someone has well said, "If we are not sold out for the Lord, we may well be selling Him out."

I heard about a preacher who was asked by a man in the community to do his brother's funeral. Neither of the men had been church goers or showed any religious inclinations. The man offered to give $25,000.00 to the church if the preacher would call his brother a saint at the funeral. The brother had been a real sinner in the community and everybody knew it. A friend of the preacher asked, "You are not going to do it, are you?"

The pastor said that he was going to do it because the church needed the money. The word got out that the preacher had sold out to the family for money and the church was filled for the funeral. The preacher stood up and this is what he said, "The man we are burying here today was a liar, a cheat, and a drunk; however, next to his brother who is sitting here today, he was a saint!"

The preacher did not sell out after all. We must never sell out to this world or what it may offer us.

In our Bible passage today, we find a man who was sold out for the Lord. He was committed. He was so committed that the Bible says of him at least seven times that he "wholeheartedly" served the Lord. This man was Caleb. He was one of the spies sent to spy out the Promised Land when the people had first left Egypt. He brought back a good report, along with Joshua, but the other spies brought back a negative report and made the people to fear. Thus, they people wandered in the wilderness for forty years until all of them except Joshua and Caleb had died. Now a man of 85, Caleb is ready to receive what God promised him forty-five years before. He wanted the mountain, which had been his aim and goal. He kept his enthusiasm for all those years; nothing had deterred him from that goal. Nothing had diminished his hope and dream.

I want to share with you today the secret of Caleb's incredible enthusiasm and devotion. There are seven steps to being a wholehearted Christian, a believer who moves from the desert to Canaan, a believer who goes from victory to victory.

I. Communication From God - Joshua 14:6

"What the Lord said..."

Caleb's entire commitment began with listening to "what the Lord said." Too many voices clamor for our attention today. We must learn to get our goals and ambitions from God and His Word for us. There is hardly a minute in the day when we are not connected to some social network or entertainment media. With cell phones, digital tablets, satellite television, digital music players in our homes, pockets and/or automobiles, we seem to be aflutter with activity and interchanging information from one person to another. My dear friends, we must take time to here "what the Lord" says. He was communicating wirelessly long before Marconi, Gates or Jobs thought about it. And, what is even better, you don't have to buy a device or pay a monthly connection fee to communicate with HIM!

Now let's note how Caleb got this communication from God and what it meant to His life. Look in Numbers 14:24. God promised Caleb some land in Canaan, land which he had entered as a spy. This land was Hebron, the hill country south of Jerusalem. So Caleb set his goals according to God's plan for his life.

Listen to me carefully. We are living in a day when many people are trying to discover who they are. So many people talk about "finding themselves". You will hear someone say, "I've just got to find myself." The fact is, you are not meant to discover who you are; you’re supposed to follow God's plan and allow Him to determine who you are to be! As God directs you, you follow. As you follow Him, He will determine your growth and development. You discover who you are by determining to live for the Lord daily with all your heart.

There is no substitute for setting goals. A study of the most successful people on in history has revealed that almost all of them had specific goals - and most of them had those goals fairly early in life. Listen to God giving you direction and follow after Him with all your heart. Set you goals within His will and you will live victoriously.

II. Conviction About God – Joshua 14:7

People determine success by several standards.

  • Personal Standards - my own view of what is success.
  • Public Standards - the public view of what constitutes success.
  • Peer Standards - the view of those in my own field as to what constitutes success.
  • Preeminent Standards - what God says constitutes success.

Joshua was not interested in his own opinion, that of the world, or that of his friends - he wanted to know what God had to say and he was convinced that whatever God said was right, would come true and was for his best!

A wavering conviction is untenable. You cannot succeed in God's will if you are tossed about by every wind and doctrine. Faith please God and abiding faith will lead every Christian to God's ultimate goal in life.

When I was a young preacher in my first pastorate, God spoke to me. You need to know that I was in college, pastoring a small church and I had a family. My life was jam-packed with activity, but I didn't want that to keep me from praying. One day I was in the tiny, little office of my church, talking to the Lord, when they Lord spoke to me. His word to me was along these lines: "Study well. Keep your sermons. Study the sermons of others. One day you will help other preachers." I was startled. Why? I didn't know half of what I needed to know about preaching, much less how to help anyone else preach. But, I bowed my head and promised God I would obey. For the next thirty years I kept God's promise and word in my heart, but no door opened for me to actually carry out His will. I pastored churches through all those years, but I kept wondering how I might fulfill God's call for me to help other preachers as they prepare and preach God's Word. Then, in the year 2000, I shared an idea for a pastor-helps website with the CEO of the Georgia Baptist Convention. He asked me to build the site and get it online. and he pledged the convention's help. That was fifteen years ago, and for the last fifteen years I have been sharing some of my own sermons and marvelous sermons by other preachers on a website that reaches preachers around the world. Millions upon millions of pages of sermons, articles, illustrations, and commentaries have been viewed and downloaded from the website. What God put in my heart forty-five years ago is still moving forward today. I had a conviction through a word from God and I never gave up on completing it. God saw that it was done! And, what is more amazing, God did that even through all my weaknesses and failures through the years. In other words, I didn't deserve to carry out such a ministry but God chose to see that it was done. You see, it isn't really about us. It is about completing what He desires.

Has God placed something in your heart that you are to do for Him? Have you lost the dream? Keep His word in your heart. Don't doubt in the dark what He told you in the light. It is never too late to do what He called you to do.

III. Commitment To God - Joshua 14:8

"followed the Lord...wholeheartedly..."

Psalm 16:8 states, "I have set the Lord always before me." Paul said in Philippians 3:13, "This one thing I do."

"My heart to love Him,
My will to obey Him,
My mind to think on Him,
My feet to follow Him,
My tongue to praise Him,
My knees to bow to Him,
My lips to witness for Him!"

He was committed wholeheartedly to the Lord. Caleb was not worried about what anyone else did, said or thought, he only wanted to please God. After all, if you please God, it doesn't matter whom you displease. If you displease God, it doesn't matter whom you please. What God thinks is the key. True success means to reach the goals that God has for you in His plan, and thus to have God's stamp of approval on your life. This comes from an all-out commitment to Him.

Commitment begins and ends in the heart. If they heart is weak, your walk with God will be weak. Remember, man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. He knows you better than anyone else. Others may view you as weak or untalented, but God has plans for you. I think of Caleb as one of the spies. He came back and gave a positive and uplifting report regarding the ability of the people to go into Canaan - the Promised Land. The people, however, did not listen to him. He had too little influence. Don't you see how discouraged Caleb might have been. At that point, it would have been easy for Caleb to give up and regard his efforts and unworthy of God's will. Caleb, on the other hand, was not dissuaded by the way people viewed him. He kept God's promise in his heart and kept his heart wrapped up in love for God.

Don't let what others think of you keep you from God's will. Give your heart to the Lord - fully and totally! He will see you through whatever He has called you to do.

IV. Confidence In God – Joshua 14:9-10a

"Just as the Lord promised..."

You have to believe that God has good plans for your life. You have to believe that God cares for you, has a purpose for you, will keep His Word to you, or you will fail. Caleb believed what God told him, and he had the faith to claim what God had promised.

A great deal of what we experience in our walk with God is dependent upon our faith – out confidence – in His promises to us. You see, you cannot have what God has promised if you don’t believe that He meant what He said. Faith is a requirement. Caleb was convinced that God meant what He said, was able to accomplish it and had no intention of holding back His promise to him.

Every senior adult in this service can look back and see that God has kept His Word to you. If I asked you if that is true, a great number of hands would be raised in the affirmative in this service. Now, here is the question: Do you still believe that? As we grow older, we can become jaded and cynical. Never let that happen to you in your walk with God. He has not failed you and you can trust Him tomorrow as you have trusted Him in the past.

Some years ago I was at Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, North Carolina for a international mission conference. Dr. Baker James Cauthen was the president of the mission board at that time. He was speaking one night in the conference and he introduced a group of retired missionaries who had spent their entire lives in foreign countries in service for the Lord and Southern Baptists who had supported them. Cauthen asked how many of those missionaries had been threatened with bodily harm or death while on the mission field and over half of them raised their hands. He then asked how many of them had been notified that a mother or father had died, but were so far away that they could not get back to America for the funeral. Again, a large number raised their hands. Then he asked how many had been robbed or molested physically in some manner while on the mission field. Well over half raised their hands. Then he surprised all of us present by asking each missionary who, if they were given another life to live, would go back and do it all again - he asked them to stand. Every single one of those white-haired, retired missionaries stood to their feet. As I young pastor, I wept that night as I witnessed their commitment to God's call. The reason those missionaries responded as they did is because they were confident that the God who took them through the water, the fire and the valley, was still able to do it again.

Do you have confidence that God is with you? Do you believe He is able to take you up a mountain to high for you to climb alone? You must believe that, if you would know His will, power and perfect peace.

V. Consistency For God – Joshua 14:10-11

Forty-five years had passed since God had made the mountaintop promise to Caleb but Caleb was the same man in heart and will. In order to arrive at this point with the same faith, desire and determination, Caleb had to overcome some things in his life that may well have prevented him from victory had he allowed them to do so. You and I face this same obstacles along to way.

A. He Had To Overcome Grasshoppers

When the people had first gone into the land and spied it out, they came back saying that giants were in the land and in the sight of the giants they looked like grasshoppers. Caleb, of course, did not see things that way. The negative spies looked at the giants from the human perspective, but Caleb looked at the giants from God's perspective. From down below, the giants looked large and foreboding; but from up above, the giants looked like ants. For Caleb to believe God, he had to overcome the crowd around him that expressed only negative, fearful, critical, frightened and defeated ideas of the future.

Dear friend, if you would stand tall for God, you will have to overcome people who say it can't be done. You will have to overcome people who always see the problems and never see the potential. You will have to overcome the grasshoppers.

B. He Had To Overcome Giants

The hill country which Caleb had been promised was held by the Anakites, and the Anakites were giant-like people. There had huge, tall, and massive men among their ranks. Three specific giants lived at Hebron. Their names are very impressive.

Sheshai was one of the giants and his name means "I am noble" or "who I am".

Ahiman was another of the giants and his name means "gift" or "what I have".

Talmai was the third giant and his name means "big enough to pull a plow" or "what I can do".

To win the victory and walk with God, you will have to overcome the giants of pride identified as who I am, what I have, and what I can do! Caleb was ready to take on those giants and he did! There will always be some giant-like obstacles in the path of your service for God. You can look at them from your perspective, or you can rise up into the presence of God and look at them from His perspective. Which view you take will determine your defeat or victory.

C. He had to overcome Gray Hairs

He was 85 years old. It would have been easy for him to sit down and do nothing, but he wanted the mountain and he wanted the fulfillment of God’s promises to him. Caleb was determined not to allow age to stop him from receiving what God had pledged.

Tennyson, at 83 wrote, "Crossing The Bar."

Michelangelo completed his greatest work of art at 87.

Immanuel Kant wrote his best philosophical works at 74.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes at 79 wrote "Over The Teacups" and wrote some of his most brilliant legal opinions at age 90.

At 89, pianist Arthur Rubenstein, though he could not see the keyboard, played brilliantly from memory at Carnegie Hall.

Albert Schweitzer still headed his hospital in Africa at the age of 89.

At 88 Konrad Adenauer was Chancellor of Germany.

At 82 Winston Churchill wrote his 4 volume work, "A History Of The English-speaking People."

At 81 Ben Franklin affected the compromise that led to the adoption of the United States Constitution.

You are never too old to set goals, especially goals that God has placed in your heart.

At the other end of the age spectrum, we can also say that you are never too young to set goals. Young people, God's purpose for your life begins right now. Whether you are 10 or 20 or 40, there are goals that you can set, dreams that you can begin to seek that are in line with God's purpose and plan for your life. The sooner you start, the happier and more fulfilling your life will be.

I was called to preach shortly after being saved as a young boy. At twelve years of age, I made a commitment to obey the Lord and preach the gospel. Yet, a couple of years later I strayed from His path. I wandered down the wrong path till I was 23 years of age. All I thought about when I finally began my ministry was the years I had wasted. I still wonder what God had planned for me if I had only remained true to my calling when I was yet a lad. Also, however, it is never too late to do the right thing. I also stand amazed at what God has done with my poor, miserable efforts to serve Him these past 47 years. To put is simply, you are never too young to start obeying God and never too old to renew a commitment to Him.

VI. Conquering Through God – Joshua 14:12

"Now give me this hill country ... I will drive them out..."

Friends we need to know that Christians are not tip toeing through the tulips - we marching to Zion. Paul wrote, "Be a good soldier of Jesus Christ." We need to get serious about living for Jesus.

There is the story of a man way back in the country who wanted to buy some life insurance. He called the insurance man who came to his house. The agent said, "Now I will need to get some information about your family and the health information concerning your parents." The country bumpkin said, "Well, my daddy died a few years ago." The agent asked what killed him. The countryman said, "I don't know what killed, but it weren't nothing serious."

That is way many people feel about sin. It's nothing serious! Listen to me friend, we will never drive out the giants unless we have a God-given goal and realize that the only way to reach it is by the power of Almighty God!

Caleb conquered the hill country, the mountainous area, called Hebron. Hebron comes from a Hebrew word meaning fellowship. Caleb desired to have the place that was a symbol of fellowship with God. He did not want the seaside country of ease. He did not want the Valley of Eschol, which represented pleasure and satisfaction to the flesh. He did not want Moriah, which represented position. He wanted Hebron, which meant fellowship with God and a grand defeat for the enemy. How many of us really want the task which requires the most of us? Sure, we want God to gain glory through our lives, but we desire that without our having to climb in giant-infested mountains! You can't climb a mountain when your goals are only as high as molehills. Oh, that we would pray as Joshua, "Now give me the hill country."

VII. Channels For God – Joshua 15:18-19

"Caleb gave her the springs..."

Caleb was not just blessed, he became a blessing. That is the secret to serving God. To so walk with God that we not only have His blessing, we become a blessing. He gave the upper and lower springs to his daughter. He didn’t want the mountain just to have a mountain – he wanted it to give to the next generation as a blessing from God.

I want to say to every senior adult here today, God bless you. Your and I will soon leave behind the mountains we have climbed, let us leave them to the next generation. I pray that we shall be like Caleb – leaving behind the mountains God has given us and the inspiration it takes to hear and do God's will to the next generation coming behind us. But, you can't leave what you don't have. Let us remain faithful and true, so that we do leave behind a testimony of God's goodness and our faithfulness.

Conclusion
Caleb glorified God.
Caleb Edified Israel.
Caleb Multiplied Blessings.
Caleb Satisfied His Family.

The poet penned,

"When I am old, how glad I will be,
If the light of my life has been burned up for thee.
I shall be glad whatever I gave,
Of Labor, or money, one soul to save.
I shall not mind that the way has been rough,
That thy dear feet led the way is enough.
When I am dying, how glad I shall be,
If the light of my life has been burned up for thee!"

Moses, the tongue-tied shepherd, stood up to pharaoh and won!

Gideon, supported by an army of 300, armed only with trumpets and empty jars, fought the Midianites and won!

David, untrained and unprotected, challenged Goliath and won!

The early disciples set out to conquer the Roman world with nothing but the Gospel and they won!

Caleb, 85 years old, confronted the giants in Hebron and won!

Why did all of these apparent losers turn out to be winners? It was because of the power of God that flowed into their lives as they moved out for Him. "The Lord helping them," they reached their goals. We must trust God for something more than a "get-me-by" kind of Christianity. If you're not looking for mountains, you will settle for molehills!!!

After all, on the day we now call Good Friday, Jesus looked like the greatest loser of all time, but then came Sunday! The glee of the Romans was changed to fear. The rejoicing of the Jewish leaders turned to surprise. The sadness of the followers of Jesus, changed to amazement. God has a way of turning blues into blessings for those who faithfully follow Him.

Let us turn again to the Lord this morning. Will you reenlist in God’s army? Will you thank Him for bringing you to this point but make a new commitment to keep on keeping on till He calls you home?

Perhaps some young person in this service is sensing God’s call in your life today. He is calling you to pick up the mantle of those who have climbed the mountains God has provided. Will you answer that call today?

And, yes, there is likely someone here today who has never trusted Christ as Savior and Lord. Come to Him now. He died on the greatest mountain of all – Mount Calvary – for you. Turn from yourself and your sin and trust Him today.