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                    "CALEB FOLLOWED THE LORD FULLY"

                             Numbers 14:24

INTRODUCTION

1. A familiar story of the Bible is that of the twelve spies of
   Israel...
   a. Sent to spy out the land of Canaan - Num 13:1-2
   b. Spending 40 days traversing the land - Num 13:21-25
   c. Bringing back both good news and bad news
      1) A land of milk and honey, as evidenced by the fruit - Num 13:27
      2) A land occupied by strong people and giants - Num 13:28
   d. One of the spies, Caleb, sought to reassure the people - Num 13:30
   e. Yet ten of the spies overwhelmed the people with their bad report
      - Num 13:31-14:4
   f. Only Joshua and Caleb had confidence in the Lord - Num 14:6-9
   g. But the people heeded the bad report, resulting in God's
      condemnation
      1) Israel was to spend 40 years of wandering in the wilderness 
         - Num 14:29-34
      2) The ten spies died by a plague before the Lord - Num 14:36-37
      3) Only Joshua and Caleb were spared - Num 14:38

2. The Lord spared Caleb because "he...has followed Me fully" - Num
   14:24
   a. A similar statement about Caleb made time and again - Num 32:
      11-12; Deut 1:36; Josh 14:8-9,14
   b. What a wonderful epitaph: "He wholly followed the LORD God of
      Israel."

[What does it mean to follow the Lord fully or wholly as Caleb did?  How
might we follow Christ fully today...?]

I. WHAT IT IS TO FOLLOW THE LORD FULLY

   A. TO FOLLOW JESUS ALL OUR DAYS...
      1. Such was the case with Caleb
         a. He followed the Lord in the wilderness
         b. He followed the Lord in land of Canaan, 45 years later 
            - Josh 14:8-10
      2. Yet many do not
         a. Like Lot's wife, they turn back - Gen 19:26
         b. Like the Galatians, they are easily bewitched - Ga 3:1
      3. What of us who follow Jesus today?
         a. Shall we follow Him in our youth? - cf. 1Ti 4:12
         b. Shall we follow Him in our old age? - cf. Tit 2:1-5; Ps 92:
            12-15
      -- Shall we follow Jesus like Caleb followed the Lord, all the
         days of our life?

   B. TO FOLLOW JESUS WITH ALL OUR HEART...
      1. Caleb followed the Lord "fully", "wholly"
         a. That is, with his whole heart
         b. The perfect role model for what Jesus called "the greatest
            commandment" - cf. Mt 22:36-38
      2. Sadly, many try to serve the Lord with divided hearts
         a. Like Solomon, who was influenced by his foreign wives 
            - 1Ki 11:4
         b. Like those in James' epistle, seeking to be friends with the
            world - Jm 4:4
      3. What of us who follow Jesus today?
         a. Shall we follow Him with all our heart? - cf. Jn 14:15
         b. Shall we follow Him with undivided affection? - cf. 1Jn 2:
            15-17
      -- Shall we follow Jesus like Caleb followed the Lord, with all
         our hearts? 

   C. TO FOLLOW JESUS DESPITE THE HAZARDS...
      1. Caleb followed the Lord despite the dangers
         a. He was willing to face the giants in the land - cf. Num 13:
            33
         b. He was willing to face the wrath of his brethren - cf. Num
            14:10
         c. He was willing to take a mountain from the giants in his old
            age - cf. Josh 14:10-12
      2. Many will serve the Lord only when it is convenient
         a. When it is popular, like the crowds who followed Jesus
         b. When it is safe, like Peter before confronted by the maiden
            - cf. Mt 26:69-70
      3. What of us who follow Jesus today?
         a. Shall we follow Him only when convenient?
         b. Shall we follow Him despite ridicule, persecution, dangers?
            - cf. Mt 5:10-12
      -- Shall we follow Jesus like Caleb followed the Lord, despite the
         hazards?

[Certainly the commitment of Caleb to his Lord is commendable.  How was
he able to be so committed?  How might we be so enabled...?]

II. HOW WE ARE ENABLED TO FOLLOW THE LORD FULLY

   A. BY KEEPING OUR EYE ON HIM...
      1. Caleb's faith was in the Lord, not himself
         a. He was confident they could take the land - Num 13:30
         b. But that was because he knew the Lord would be with them 
            - Num 14:6-9
         c. Thus his eye was on the Lord!
      2. So we need to keep our eye on Jesus - cf. He 12:1-4
         a. Looking unto Him as the author and finisher of our faith
         b. Considering the hostility He endured, knowing the Father
            will help us as He helped Him to endure
      -- Shall we look to the Lord for our inspiration and confidence,
         like Caleb did?

   B. BY HAVING A DIFFERENT SPIRIT...
      1. Caleb was noted for a having a different spirit - Num 14:24
         a. Different than the spirit in the other ten spies, who were
            defeatists - Num 13:31
         b. Different than the spirit in the rest of Israel, who
            complained - cf. Num 14:1-2
      2. We can be strengthened by a different spirit
         a. Certainly the spirit of a positive attitude will help - Ph
            4:13
         b. How much more so, with the Spirit of God helping us! - cf.
            Ro 8:12-13; Ep 3:16
      -- Shall we have a "can do" attitude, knowing we are clothed in
         the strength of God's might? - cf. Ep 6:10-13

[Finally, let us seek to discern to glean from the example of Caleb...]

III. MOTIVATION TO FOLLOW THE LORD FULLY

   A. IT LEADS TO A USEFUL LIFE...
      1. Consider how God was able to use Caleb:
         a. As a leader in Israel - cf. Num 13:2,6; 34:18,19
         b. As a servant of God, first to spy out the land, then to
            divide it - cf. Num 14:24a
         c. As an example of faith and courage - Num 13:30; 14:8,9
         d. As a reminder of God's justice - Num 14:29-30
         e. As an inspiration of service, even in old age - Josh 14:6-12
      2. How useful will we be, if we follow Jesus fully?
         a. We can be an example in youth - 1Ti 4:12
         b. We can be useful to the Master - 2Ti 2:20-22
      -- Don't we want to be useful to Jesus?

   B. IT LEADS TO A FULFILLED LIFE...
      1. Consider how Caleb was fulfilled in life:
         a. Only he and Joshua were blessed to enter Canaan - Deut 1:
            35-36
         b. He received the land around Hebron as an inheritance - Josh
            14:6-14; 21:12
         c. His land had rest from war - Josh 14:15
      2. What kind of fulfilled life does Jesus offer those who follow
         Him fully today?
         a. One that experiences love which passes knowledge - Ep 3:19
         b. One that experiences peace which surpasses understanding 
            - Php 4:7
         c. One that experiences joy inexpressible - 1Pe 1:8
         d. One in which our daily needs are provided - Mt 6:33
      -- Don't we want to have a fulfilled life?

CONCLUSION

1. Let the example of Caleb inspire you to follow the Lord fully in your
   life...
   a. To follow Jesus all the days of your life
   b. To follow Jesus with all your heart
   c. To follow Jesus despite the hazards

2. Shall we, like Caleb, follow the Lord fully so we too may...
   a. Have a useful life in service to the Lord?
   b. Have a fulfilled life that is blessed by the Lord?

Don't forget - Caleb and Joshua were the only two (out of 603,550 men)
who survived the forty years of wilderness wanderings and entered the
promised land (Num 32:10-13).  Their brethren did not enter Canaan, for
as the Lord said of them "they have not wholly followed Me".

How are we following the Lord?  Like Caleb?  Or like those who died in
the wilderness...?
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