Joshua and Caleb are two Israelite men whose stories offer an example of faithful commitment to the Lord. Both men came out of Egypt with the Israelites through the Red Sea and into the wilderness. Joshua and Caleb were selected along with ten other men to explore the Promised Land and give a report to Moses and the people.
After a 40-day exploration of Canaan, the explorers reported, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there” (Numbers 13:27–28). This report frightened the people (Numbers 13:31–33).
Caleb had a different attitude from the other spies. Verse 30 records, “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’” When the people complained that they could not go up to conquer the land, both Caleb and Joshua responded strongly: “Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh . . . tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, ‘The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them’” (Numbers 14:6–9).
God judged the people of Israel by making them wait 40 years to enter the land. He also promised that every person 20 years old or older would die in the wilderness and would not see the land with two exceptions—Caleb and Joshua. Why? “Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” (Numbers 14:24; see also verse 30). Verse 38 adds, “Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.”
This promise came true. After the death of Moses 40 years later, Joshua led the people across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Caleb received an inheritance in the Promised Land in his old age (Joshua 14).
The faithfulness of Joshua and Caleb teaches us that we are to stand for God even when others will not. When we do, God may choose to bless us in ways that will extend for generations to come.