Study 4 CALEB: WHOLEHEARTED FOLLOWING
(Scripture Portion: Joshua 14: 1-15)
On six separate occasions the Holy Spirit has recorded the fact that Caleb wholly followed the Lord. In a day when some who believed in God were content simply to follow, Caleb followed wholly, wholeheartedly - look up Numbers 14: 24; 32: 11-12; Deuteronomy 1: 36; Joshua 14: 8, 9 and 14. Are you a wholehearted Christian, or are you only a half-hearted Christian?
1. There were three witnesses to the fact that Caleb wholeheartedly followed the Lord, and the same will be true of us if we are wholehearted for Him.
- Caleb himself was the first witness. See what he was able to say of himself - look up Joshua 14:8. This was not a sinful boast; it was a sincere testimony. Can we say the same concerning the past years, months, days, day or hour?
- Moses was the second witness. See what he said of Caleb in Joshua 14: 9. If we are wholly following the Lord we not only know it in our own hearts, but those around us know it also. What do our unconverted friends say about our following?
- The Lord was the third witness. See what He said of His servant in Numbers 14: 24. Can the Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, say that of us? This is the supreme test, and the thing which matters most: what does the Lord say about my following?
2. These three testimonies suggest three great motives or reasons why we should wholeheartedly follow the Lord.
- That God may be glorified. There is only one kind of life that really glorifies Him, and that is the life that is wholeheartedly given over to Him. His command to every one of us is that we should be holy (Leviticus 20: 7; Hebrews 12: 14) - whole! – look up John 5: 6 and 1 Peter 1: 15-16.
- That others may be edified. Which life is the greater power and influence for the Lord – the life that is wholeheartedly His or the life that is only half His? One reason why the gospel is not making greater progress in the world is that many Christians who are wholehearted in everything else they do are only half-hearted in their Christian living.
- That I may be satisfied. This may sound a selfish motive, but it is not really selfish. We all seek satisfaction, and true satisfaction is only found in wholeheartedly following the Lord Jesus. It was at the end of his life that Caleb said – Joshua 14: 8.
3. What does it mean to follow the Lord wholeheartedly? What does it imply?
- Following the Lord wholeheartedly implies concentration. To follow the Lord wholly means to concentrate all, everything, on doing this one thing. We get a perfect illustration of this in the case of the apostle Paul, who said - look up Philippians 3: 13. Paul was determined to do one thing, and one thing only, and that was to follow the Lord wholeheartedly. To follow the Lord wholeheartedly implies an undivided loyalty - look up the searching words of our Lord in Matthew 6: 24. Here is the whole idea of concentration and absolute allegiance to our one rightful Lord and Master - look up Matthew 23: 10; John 13: 13, and compare the words of Psalm 16: 8.
- Following the Lord wholeheartedly implies completeness, i.e., following the Lord completely. To follow Him completely means to follow Him utterly, absolutely, with heart and soul, and without any reservation - compare Luke 9: 61. It means to follow Him in all that we are, in all that we do and in all that we say, and to do this wherever we are and under every circumstance - completely: my heart to love Him, my will to obey Him, my mind to think for Him, my feet to run for Him, my voice to sing for Him, my hands to work for Him, my eyes to see for Him and my lips to speak for Him. It means more than giving Him all that we have; it means yielding to Him all that we are – look up Romans 6: 13. God wants our gifts and talents, but most of all He wants - us!
- Following the Lord wholeheartedly implies constancy. Most of us are far too intermittent in our following. We follow wholeheartedly one day, and only half-heartedly the next! look up Luke 22: 33, where Peter’s intention was undoubtedly to follow the Lord wholly, and Luke 22: 54, where we read that he completely failed to do this. Peter was not constant. To follow the Lord wholly is to follow Him all the time, and to go on following Him all the time. It means to be a Christian of set purpose - look up Luke 9: 51, and compare Psalm 16: 8.
4. What is the secret of wholeheartedly following the Lord?
Who is sufficient for these things? We cannot wholly follow the Lord in our own strength. Yet Caleb did wholly follow - so what secret did he learn? It is an open secret, and Numbers 14: 24 reveals it. Caleb wholeheartedly followed the Lord because he had a different spirit with him. Now, this is very important; do not fail to look up and compare John 14: 16-17 - “another Comforter ”! Yes, that is the secret: strength and power to follow the Lord wholly is not in ourselves, but it is in the Holy Spirit, and with the Holy Spirit indwelling and infilling us we can then do as Caleb did - wholly, fully, follow Him, our glorious Lord!