Caleb – The Man with a Great Distinction

Caleb – The Man with a Great Distinction

Scripture portion : Numbers 14:23-24; Joshua 14:6-15


What makes a man’s life distinct or stands out from the rest? We have a very encouraging incident in Numbers 14.

  • Caleb and Joshua stood different from the rest of the spies who went to spy the Promised Land.
  • The Lord spared Caleb because “he…has followed Me fully” – Numbers 14:24.
  • A similar statement about Caleb made time and again – Numbers 32: 11-12; Deuteronomy 1:36; Joshua 14:8-9, 14
  • What a wonderful epitaph: “He wholly followed the LORD God of Israel.”

We see in Caleb’s life three great distinctions that made his life different from the rest:

  1. Caleb’s Distinguished Spirit (v 24a)

Caleb was noted for a having a different spirit – Numbers 14:24

  • Different than the spirit in the other ten spies, who were defeatists – Numbers 13:31
  • Different than the spirit in the rest of Israel, who complained – Numbers 14:1-2
  • Spurgeon said, “He had another spirit—not only a bold, generous, courageous, noble, and heroic spirit, but the Spirit and influence of God . . .”

We can be strengthened by a different spirit:

  • This is a life controlled by the Holy Spirit of God.
  • Certainly the spirit faith and trust in Christ will help – Phil 4:13
  • How much more so, with the Spirit of God helping us! Rom 8:12-13; Eph 3:16
  1. Caleb’s Distinguished Heart (v 24b)

Caleb followed the Lord “fully”, “wholly”. This means Caleb followed the Lord fully, that is, sincerely without pretending. He was no hypocrite; he followed the Lord with his whole heart.

  • That is, with his whole heart
  • The perfect role model for what Jesus called “the greatest commandment” (Matt 22:36-38)
  • This is different from a divided heart (1 Kings 11:4)
  • This is different from seeking to be friends with the world (James 4:4)
  1. Caleb’s Distinguished Life (v 24c)

The Lord said regarding Caleb, “his seed shall posses it.” Caleb was able to receive a distinguished reward—Hebron became his inheritance. He lived for another 45 years, and go to the Promised Land, be part of Joshua and the rest of the Israelites in conquering the Land, and finally conquer for himself the land of the Anakim.

  • Caleb had the honor of enjoying what he had once seen.
  • Having come back from spying the land, Caleb said, “we are able to take it.” He lived not only to take it, but to enjoy it for himself, and pass it on to the generations to come (Josh 14:12-15; 15:13-17).
  • And the Land had rest from war (Josh 14:15b).
  • Indeed, Caleb had a fulfilled life.

What is truly a distinguished or a fulfilled life for us?

  • Our forefathers desired and lived for Canaan: Hebrews 11:10, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”; Hebrews 11:16, “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”


In John 12:26, Jesus said, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”

  • We follow the Lord with a right spirit, right heart, and a right understanding of what life really matters.


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