Caleb, the spy with “a different spirit”

Caleb of the Old Testament is one of my favorite biblical characters. I am inspired by his enthusiasm and optimism. I love that at age 85 he felt as strong as when he was 40 and went to explore the land of Canaan. While he was there, he fell in love with a mountain, and he asked Moses to make that his inheritance. But he had to conquer it!

How could he feel as strong at 85, as when he was 40? It was the manna diet! We’re talking about a man who spent 40 years in the desert, eating manna every day. There was no variety in his diet. He ate the same thing every day! But it was bread from heaven. Read about the manna in Exodus 16.

God did not give his people any kind of food. The “dew” that covered the face of the desert every morning contained all the nutrients the body needed to stay strong and healthy.

Moses ate manna. Moses died at 120 years old. His eyes were not weak, nor his strength gone (see Deuteronomy 34:7). I wish I had the eyesight of Moses! And his vigor! It was the desert air and the manna diet that sustained him. The manna, that white thing like coriander seed that tasted like wafers made with honey (see Exodus 16:31), was an extraordinary food.

This week the story is about the spies that Moses sent to explore the Promised Land. One of the spies was Caleb, who had “a different spirit.” God himself said those words about his servant Caleb.

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Numbers 14:24

What was that “different spirit” like? Caleb faithfully followed the Lord. That kind of people we need to be.

When the spies returned from their exploratory trip, ten of them discouraged the people. Caleb and his friend Joshua were the only ones who believed that God would be with them to conquer the land. When the people of Israel heard the bad reports of the unbelieving spies, they cried all night! They even wanted to choose another leader and return to Egypt. As for Joshua and Caleb, the people even talked about stoning them!

God, tired of the complaints, punished the people by making them wander for 40 years in desert, until the unbelieving generation died.

But his servant Caleb, because he had “a different spirit” and faithfully followed the Lord, would go to the Promised Land, and his descendants would possess it.

Read Numbers 13:1-14:38; Deuteronomy 1:19-40; Joshua 14:6-14.

Read the story #12 in The Great Escape: The Twelve Spies of Israel

The land that Caleb went to explore is now Israel. Since the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century the Jews have lived in exile. It is a different people, a people that has maintained its identity, its language, its God Jehovah. The people of Israel returned to their land, and 70 years ago, David Ben Gurion declared the nation of Israel. This year Israel has celebrated its anniversary. We live in a historical moment. This one of the signs that Jesus is coming soon.


Nancy, my friend who translates these stories from Spanish needs our support in prayer. Her husband, Dave, has been in a very freak accident. He was rescued at the last minute from burning alive in his truck. A tree fell on it and it caught fire. Three weeks he has been in ICU with Nancy by his side. We need to pray for his healing and recovery, and for Nancy to be rereshed and have the energy needed in this difficult situation.

Absalom-Leon Sixco, the artist that does the pictures for our stories is in the hospital with a blood infection. He has been very sick but the last report I received from Costa Rice, where he lives, stated that he is slowly recovering. Please pray that he will gain his strength back.






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