Dreams Made Possible

Bible Book: Joshua  14
Subject: Faithfulness; Fruitfulness; Dreams Heritage

Joshua 14

I wonder how many of you have dreams. I am not talking about the kind you have at night when you are sleeping. I am talking about dreams for your life.

Living life to the max involves dreaming the right dreams and doing the right things to accomplish those dreams. I dare say some of you here once dreamed, but due to circumstances within or beyond your control you find it difficult to dream anymore.

Today's message is all about not giving up on your dreams. Once again we turn to Joshua for direction. Joshua 14 is where today's lesson is found. The story is about Caleb. Caleb is not a high-profile person in the scripture. He is mentioned only a few times. He is a classic example of a man who dreamed big dreams and saw them fulfilled. The intriguing thing is he saw his dreams almost destroyed. He then saw them delayed. He never gave up.

There are some things we need if our dreams are to be possible.

I. A Faith That Produces Faithfulness

Caleb begins by reminiscing. He reminds Joshua of the time the two of them were faithful while the rest were fearful. He reminds Joshua as well that God had promised him this mountain. It is a good thing to reminisce about the things God has done in our lives.

The older we get the more we reminisce. When I was young I would sit and listen to my parents reminisce. Now I find myself doing the same thing. The stories get better and bigger with time.

Caleb then makes a very important comment in verse 8. He says, "I wholly followed the Lord my God." When you study Caleb's life here, in Numbers and in Hebrews you find the phrase used six times about him. The literal meaning is "I have closed the gap between me and the Lord." The phrase was used to describe hunters who were pursuing wild game. They were closing the gap between themselves and the animal. They were gaining ground. This is what some writers call the pursuit of God. This tells me that true faith produces faithfulness.

It is not what we say that proves our faith it is what we are. I have been intrigued with the iron man, the eco-challenge and other such events recently. Now, I could go out and put on the clothes these folks wear and say, "I am an iron man." That doesn't make me an iron man. Faith that doesn't produce faithfulness is phony.

We see this in salvation. We often quote Ephesians 2:8-9. We need to quote verse 10 as well. It says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

It is also true of the Christian life. Since you have been saved, have you closed the gap between you and God? Are you closer to God now, or is there a time when you were closer? You want your dreams to become possibilities it requires faithfulness.

II. A Perspective On Life That Produces Purpose And Patience

Vs. 10 gives us another very important statement. Caleb says, "He has kept me alive..."

The Lord had a purpose for Caleb's life. That purpose was not fulfilled as of yet. We are alive today because the Lord has kept us alive.

People who have a purpose normally live longer. God has a purpose for your life. If you are going to achieve your dreams there must be a purpose. We also need patience. Caleb says, "I am 85 years old and I am still waiting for God's purpose to be fulfilled in my life. He had waited for a long time and lived with a lot of negative people in the process.

This is an encouragement to those who are our senior adults. I love our senior adults. Let me encourage you, "Retire, but don't retire on Jesus."

II. Strength That Produces Success

Vs. 11 Caleb says, "I am ready for the battle."

Some of the very giants that had kept Israel from entering the land the first time are there. The people feared them then. Caleb didn't fear them at 40 nor did he fear them at 85. In fact, he was better prepared to face these giants now because of the development of internal and physical strength. You will never see your dreams fulfilled without battles. Those who are not willing to do battle will never see dreams fulfilled. Dreams remain dreams until battles are fought and won.

III. Behavior That Produces Blessings

Joshua 15:16-19 tells us that our lives should and can become blessings to others. Caleb had something to give to his daughter.

Remember, if he had not been faithful to God this would not have been possible. God blesses us that we may in turn be a blessing to others.

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep;
And miles to go before I sleep."

Robert Frost spoke these words years ago in a university meeting. Following his address a man asked, "What did you mean, Mr. Frost, by promises to keep?" He said, "I believe we have Promises to keep to those who've gone before us, to our ancestors, to generations of long ago.

Promises to keep to our contemporaries, our peers, to those we are living with right now. Promises to keep to those unborn generations, to those who will come after us. Promises to keep to ourselves and to God.

It's like the old man who was in his 90's who was planting a pecan tree. One fellow said, "It's foolish for you to plant that pecan tree in your yard. You'll never live long enough to harvest any pecans." He replied, "You know I have been eating pecans all my life, and I had never planted a tree, so somebody else had to do that for me. I want to plant this tree for generations yet to come, so they, too, can enjoy pecans." Our dreams need to include others.

IV. Focus That Produces Fellowship With God

God gave to Caleb, Hebron. That is especially significant to us. The word means fellowship. That is  a good word for our church. I wonder if generations ago saw what Hebron would become because of their faithfulness and their fellowship with one another and God? Caleb chose that mountain because it is where Abraham had stopped and the Lord had said, "I will give you all you need."

We need to say with Caleb, "I will not be content until I have sweet fellowship with God and receive all he has to give."