Joshua 14:7-9, 13-14 “Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the LORD my God. And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the LORD my God. And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel. “

As a child going to Sunday school and junior church, one of my favorite songs to sing was Twelve Men Went to Spy in Canaan.  I remember really emphasizing the motions of 10 were BAD (with a vigorous thumbs DOWN) and 2 were good (with a hearty thumbs UP).  As I grew older, I learned the seriousness of this story and saw the result of the unbelief of the BAD spies, teaching me the lesson of the importance of trusting what God says.  How sad and tragic unbelief can be! Because of the slanderous report brought back to Moses by the spies about the Land of Promise, the people of Israel were swayed to not move ahead and take the land; thus, they were judged by God and forced to wander in the wilderness for the next forty years.

The above verses mention “the heart” of Caleb (verse 7) and “the heart” of the people (verse 8).  Two times in this text the phrase is mentioned that Caleb “wholly followed the LORD.” The word wholly as defined by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary as follows

  • completely

  • fully

  • without reserve

  • sincerely

  • Now it carries the meaning of thoroughly

In this context, Caleb is 85 years old now and giving his testimony of why he survived the wilderness wanderings and avoided death as the other spies.  He makes it clear that he had something that began in his heart (verse 7). For us to really make a difference in this world and for the Lord, it must begin in the heart.  Belief in God starts down deep in the heart for salvation but also for the life of service. Then, he makes it clear that this belief was one of being whole-hearted. He unashamedly speaks of him following the LORD with all of his heart!

There are too many people that put in half-hearted efforts in the classroom, in the music realm, in athletics, and for that matter, in life in general.  What’s worse is when the Christian does the same in his work for the Lord.  How can I settle for less than a whole-hearted living for the One who died and gave His life for me?  How can we really make a difference if we put only half of our efforts into something? Years ago, someone said it to me this way in a sermon, and I have never forgotten it: “Half-heartedness is trying to serve God in such a way so as to not offend the devil.”  My prayer for Christians, members of our churches, those in Bible college, and for our youth in particular is this – get a genuine belief in God down deep in your heart, and let that belief stir you to go all-out for God.

What if a husband or a wife made a promise at the wedding altar to be 85% or 90% faithful to that spouse?  How foolish does this sound? This wedding most likely would never happen. There is an understanding at that point, especially, that this wedding and union is one of total commitment (in sickness and in death, for richer or poorer, etc).  How much more foolish does the Christian give half-heartedness in his service for the Lord!

ILLUSTRATIONS

“A woman rushed up to famed violinist Fritz Kreisler after a concert and cried: ‘I’d give my life to play as beautifully as you do.’ Kreisler replied, ‘I did.”‘

Bits & Pieces, Vol. F, No. 41.

“I think of David Livingstone, the pioneer missionary to Africa, who walked over 29,000 miles. His wife died early in their ministry and he faced stiff opposition from his Scottish brethren. He ministered half blind. His kind of perseverance spurs me on.  As I run, I remember the words in his diary: Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever me from any tie but the tie that binds me to Your service and to Your heart.”

Joseph Stowell, Through The Fire, Victor Books, p. 150

“A missionary society wrote to David Livingstone and asked, ‘Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you.’ Livingstone wrote back, ‘If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”’

Good News Broadcaster, April, 1985,  p. 12

Evangelist Eric Ramos

eramos@fairhavenbaptist.org

https://www.fairhavenbaptist.org/tag/evangelist-eric-ramos