August 20, 2012

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

Joshua 14:6-15

Joshua blessed Caleb … because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.
—Joshua 14:13-14


Forty-five years earlier Caleb and Joshua had encouraged Israel to enter the land of promise to receive their inheritance. But God’s people were afraid, so they refused. As a result, God made the people wander in the desert for forty years. Only their children would enter the land. (See Numbers 13-14.)

It takes courage to serve God in the world—sometimes more so among God’s own people. Caleb’s generation feared the people of the land more than they feared God. In effect, they said, “It would be better to die in the desert or to have stayed in Egypt than to follow God and have to face those giants. It’s not worth the milk and honey.” (See Numbers 14:1-9.) So God let their whole generation die in the desert.

Discipleship has a price: it may cost no less than what our Master paid. Jesus Christ bought us for a price; we are asked to be worth the cost (1 Corinthians 6:20)—and that includes the patience to wait for God’s blessing, whether we wait a day, a year, or forty-five years, as Caleb did.

Good things do happen to people who pay the price of discipleship and patiently wait for the fullness of the blessing. Through Jesus Christ we have the down payment on God’s rich blessings of life and joy (Ephesians 1:14)—and the rest will come in God’s good time, when Jesus returns.

When the waiting gets troublesome, Lord, and I am tempted to complain about bad people who get good things, open my eyes to see what you have done for me. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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