The faithfulness of God. It is one of his sweetest promises and offerings to his children, this concept that He is always and will forever be faithful. Within the Old Testament, the most common word we see for faithful is, aman. This Hebrew word gives a picture of something that can be leaned on or built upon. And we see how God reflects this characteristic of himself throughout the book of Joshua. A specific instance we see is found in chapter 14.
Here Caleb approaches Joshua and informs him of the promise Moses made to him that because of his wholeheartedness toward the Lord, he would be granted an inheritance of land.
“but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’” ~Joshua 14:8-9
Caleb has such confidence in this promise of God that he builds upon it and encourages Joshua to allow him to drive out the existing Anakites who occupy this land that was to be inherited.
“Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” ~Joshua 14:12
And we see this chapter end with the fact that Caleb does, in fact, inherit this land of Hebron.
“So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.” ~Joshua 14:14
Like most stories of scripture, the main takeaway most of us want to grab is easy-to-spot and quick to apply: “God is faithful.” But I encourage us as women of the word to go a level deeper. Because often the quick and easy-to-apply takeaways are not always sound or fully flushed out.
So to avoid any misunderstanding, we must look at the why. Why was Caleb so confident that he would inherit Hebron?
Was it because he believed he was owed the land for being so obedient to God?
Was it just because God was good so He would give Caleb whatever he desired or earned?
Was it because Caleb believed God could do great things through Him?
Why does God’s faithfulness come through in this particular situation? All too often, we jump to applying the faithfulness of God for the reasons above.
We believe God will be faithful to deliver something we should get because of our obedience.
We believe He will be faithful to give us something we earned or greatly desire.
We believe God will be faithful in doing something great and mighty through us.
But the answer to all these why questions assure us that those beliefs are not where the faithfulness of God lies.
Caleb had faith that he would inherit Hebron because God had specifically promised it. God is faithful, yes. He is faithful to do the things He has specifically promised. And this is where we must land with this verse. For as much as God has promised us, his chosen children, there is also a lot he has not promised. And it becomes extremely dangerous when we begin to apply the faithfulness of God to things he has never promised us. This leads to confusion, disappointment, and ultimately a doubting or even rejection of God’s faithfulness.
I urge us women to spend this week wrestling with God and going to scripture to discover what He has actually promised us. And even more specifically, what he has not promised us. This will help us to learn and be more confident in the faithfulness of God. For whatever we discover He has promised, He is sure to deliver it and we are confident in building our lives upon it. But whatever He has not promised, we must be willing to surrender it, to part with it, and to never build our lives or our faith upon it. Rather, let us build our faith on God alone. His character, His works, His promises, His faithfulness.
Enjoy this song during your time of worship and prayer – Faithful to the End