16 Apr 2018
Following the Lord Wholeheartedly
In Joshua 14:6-15 we read about Caleb, who we are told “wholly followed the Lord”. Of the twelve spies, he and Joshua were the only ones who believed God’s word to Moses. They were confident He would give them the land of Canaan (see Numbers 13:1-31). Because they both unreservedly trusted God, we are told they were “wholehearted”. This reads like a glorious, inspirational banner over their lives.
The definition of wholehearted is: “completely and sincerely devoted”; “determined”; “marked by commitment”; “free from reserve or hesitation”; characterised by unqualified enthusiasm.
We might say, “Oh, to be like Caleb!” But wait… maybe we are! Why is that?
Because Caleb was not born Jewish. He was a Kenizzite Gentile who had had become adopted into the tribe of Judah (see Numbers 32:12). We too are uncultivated (Gentile) branches grafted and adopted into God’s cultivated (Jewish) olive tree (see Romans 11:24).
Joshua and Caleb are the first biblical examples of this ‘one new man’; Jew and Gentile serving the Lord wholeheartedly together. They are united in heart and mind by the will of God. The plan of Jesus is for us to stand wholeheartedly as one new man in His Kingdom (see Ephesians 2:14-15). This example serves two purposes:
- As Jew and Gentile united in the Messiah.
- As a symbol of individual, Spirit-filled, born-again believers, nurturing our foundational Jewish roots and sharing in “the root and fatness of the olive tree” (see Romans 11:17).
I love this account of Joshua and Caleb. I’ve longed to be wholehearted towards God and ‘one-new-man-minded’! I’m comforted that, with obedience and His grace and mercy, “with God all things are possible” (see Mark 10:27).
Pause and reflect: Be encouraged. Whenever we fall short, we can determine to take another step on this journey; step by step, and precept upon precept (see Isaiah 28:10).