The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.” Startled, we all turned to him. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued, ”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home,
always run to greet them.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
When you’re happy, dance and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’re not.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
(My edits Story found many places on internet….)
Only two of the spies gave a good report: Joshua and Caleb, and it was Caleb who spoke while Joshua appears to be silent: READ Num. 14:6-9. Let the dog take the blame! The people’s answer? stone Caleb... God’s response to rejecting Caleb and his wisdom ~ wander another 40 years in the wilderness to let the entire generation die out before Israel enters the promised land ~ the 2 exceptions: Joshua and Caleb. Num. 14:24 is a caption fo Caleb’s life ~ READ.
Fast forward to today’s Bible verses, Josh. 14:6-15. Joshua is an old man, 85, and the promises of God many years previous are now coming to pass. If my math is correct, Caleb was about 20 when he was a spy… Caleb is like a faithful dog waiting for the master. Caleb was never the leader, yet he was ever faithful, a big hearted man ~ the world could use a lot more people just like him. 3 things about Caleb worthy of consideration: 1) His loyalty, 2) his dependence on God to provide for him, and 3) his inner secret.
Caleb is loyal. We need people in our lives who quietly walk with the Lord, who are consistent and sincere, like a faithful dog who is always there. This is Caleb, “a dog” is his name. He has a different spirit, the Bible says, something different about him. Wholehearted service of God. He was always available. Diane Bolin has told me…just ask…
We need steady people in our lives as we go through transitions. Like a dog, loyal, dependable, a strong inner character. Caleb, a big heart, a dog. Dog’s just “know how to love people all the time and be nice.” I am so grateful for the loyal people in my life, not loyal to me, but loyal to God. The steady people. Not a lot of drama. Sure and steady. READ Josh. 14:14. Wholeheartedly. Enthusiastically follow God whatever is needed.
Caleb was to Joshua, perhaps what George Beverly Shea was to Billy Graham: a steady person, available. As a young evangelist Billy Graham asked Beverly if he’d sing at an evangelistic crusade. When Bev died a few years ago at the age of 104, the two were together over 60 years ~ it is estimated Bev sang for 200 million people. Here’s a story Billy Graham tells of his friend, showing Bev Shea’s character. Graham brought Shea with him on a trip to visit the troops in Vietnam at Christmas time 1966. Graham remembered the trip as quite tense: "Much of the time we were there, it was cloudy and rainy, and we had to fly into these little places where they didn't even have an airport—just a grass strip. Once, conditions were so bad that we couldn't get anybody to fly us. They said, 'you shouldn't fly in this weather,' but I was scheduled, and I said we should go, no matter what the risk. We finally found this colonel who was guts enough to fly us. Several times, it looked like a bad mistake. Once, we came straight toward a mountain in dense clouds. We were in one of those two motor planes with the big hole in the back, and this colonel pulled it up as hard as he could as the back end scraped the trees. I looked over at Bev [Shea] and he was just sitting there. He's never afraid of anything, nothing ever bothers him—no nervousness at all." Do you think Beverly Shea was a calming influence to Billy Graham…
Loyalty may be one of the first words you think of when you think of a dog. The world needs loyal people. In Josh. 14:7-8, Caleb is referring back to the time when he was one of the 12 spies. READ. “ Convictions” is in this scripture. When you are wavering in your faith, when you are afraid, find faithful friends of conviction. I so much appreciate talking things over with the elders and being affirmed to do our best to do the right thing, to hear their convictions, not what will please people, but what we believe are God’s priorities.
“Wholehearted” is a word I can only dream about becoming a reality in my life… But for Caleb, he is a wholehearted man. A man of conviction, integrity, wholehearted. If you look back at Caleb’s life, he is willing to do anything the Lord asks of him ~ carry clusters of grapes or fight the giants. The watch phrase of Caleb’s life could easily be, “Lord, not my will, but yours.” Caleb is loyal to the Lord. That’s what we need. I don’t need to be around people loyal to me…but to the Lord, the master.
Caleb was loyal, constant, sincere, like a dog waiting at the door for the master to come home. When you find a Caleb, you are a blessed person.
Caleb was fully dependent on the Lord to provide for him. In this world, there are masters cruel to their dogs, but Caleb had no such worry. His Master is God himself. He gave his life fully to God. Follow God fully, and God will fully take care you. I remember watching on TV when President Reagan was shot, amazed at the secret service men instantly scrambling to get between themselves and the bullet. This would be Caleb. Ready to serve the Lord in whatever he was asked. When Queen Elizabeth sent a certain merchant over to Holland, he complained to her, "If I do your Majesty's business, my own business will be ruined." "You do my business," said the Queen, "and I will see to your business." It is so with our God…
Caleb was granted a long life full of energy. At eighty-five he was as strong as at forty, and still able to face the giants (READ Josh. 14:10-11, 14). I am so thankful for the people of faith that find enjoyment and satisfaction of the Lord in their last years. I can hear Caleb echoing the words of Simeon, the man at the end of his life who held the baby Jesus in the temple: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:29). Caleb is fully dependent on the Lord to shape his life anyway the Lord chooses. We may or may not live to age 85 ~~ whatever the Lord chooses it will be good…. The Lord is a good master, a good shepherd. The longer you walk with the Lord, the more experience, wisdom, and grace, will be granted to you as a gift from the Lord himself.
Caleb was cared for by God. He received a reward of land/ A place of honor. Do the math and at age 85 Caleb was 20 years older than the next oldest person, with the exception of Joshua. He surely was an honored elder in the community. Caleb’s life is not a formula in how the Lord will take care of us, but it is the principle that counts ~ Follow God fully, and God will fully take care you.
You know how else God took care of Caleb? This is a blessing that can be yours too, but most of you don’t want it. Caleb was given the most difficult tasks. That is always the lot of the most faithful servant of God. I hope you understand the honor of being given the hardest tasks ~ that’s the result of dependability, the reward for being available. For Caleb there were three huge warriors in Mount Hebron; no one will undertake to kill them, except Caleb. READ Josh. 15:14-15. These Anakims, we know from other Bible stories, with their six toes on each foot, and their six fingers on each hand, need to be driven out. Caleb volunteers. ~~ I am as strong as I was 45 years ago, Caleb says not in a bragging way, but in a desire to keep serving God. I hope the Lord sees fit to trust me with hard tasks. Don’t you? Here’s a water cooler conversation for you during the Potluck dinner, you tell me if women are wired the same as men ~~ the need to accomplish, to conquer. May God bless every one of us with difficult and meaningful tasks! Billy Graham said many times, the word “retirement” does not appear in the Bible. Be faithful to God and he will keep giving you tasks to serve him, and not just token tasks, but meat and potato service. This is Caleb. He faced the giants from Anak and won ~ nobody else was up to the task but the grand old man!
The secret of Caleb: He is loyal, he is fully dependent on God, and he has a different spirit. Num. 14:24: …my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly... A different spirit. There were many brave soldiers, Caleb certainly had that, but there was more. Courageous. Noble. Heroic. something more. A different Spirit. Maybe God has something in mind of Caleb like integrity. Here’s what I think: I’m thinking the different spirit needs a capital S, the SPIRIT of God, the Holy Spirit. God lives in him. That’s the secret that trumps all else. I believe Caleb had a personal relationship with God through the Spirit of God within him.
One person proclaimed: “Everything acts according to the spirit that is in it.” Whatever is in your heart is what will come out in your life. This is why the test of time is so important ~ many people say to me what they think I want to hear, but in time I find out who they truly are, what spirit is within? A lamp gives no light. Why? It has no oil. Another lamp lights a dark cell. Why? It is full of oil. Whatever is inside you will come out. The real way to make a new life is to receive a new Spirit. And the Holy Spirit can only come from God! God is offering you a new Spirit ~ a complete change of your heart, a new life in him… Will you receive… a quick prayer… “if there are those here who need a new heart, Lord, show them the way, use Christian friends…seek forgiveness…” On Easter I had people stand who were willing to listen…
Caleb means a dog. Let us learn from a dog. A dog is loyal. Our Master, Jesus Christ, is the most wonderful Master of all. Follow God fully, and God will fully take care you. He will reward you including the reward of hard tasks to serve him. The secret is a new Spirit. May you accept and receive the Spirit of God so that the people in your world will say of you, there is something different about you. Amen.