There it is, up there in the distance. It’s not the easiest place, but it’s the place God has put on my heart. It’s been there for as long as I can remember and the joy of it has never left me.It’s the hill-country of my heart.
“Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” –Joshua 14:12
Caleb was claiming what the Lord had promised. He had held on to that promise for 45 years and was now “putting his foot down” on the promise.
The background is in Joshua 14: 6-8.
“Now the men of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.”
Remember, Joshua? I know you do, even though it was a lifetime ago. Other people might get discouraged and “melt with fear” but you and I saw it, didn’t we? And we knew what God intended for us!
The promise of the hill-country filled Caleb and kept him steady. He “followed the Lord wholeheartedly.” It was an attribute that Paul would have understood, when he said “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
Forget the disappointments of the past. Forget too, the small-mindedness of other people. Let that mountain loom large in your imagination. Let that upward call keep you steady!
“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old!”
45 years is a long time! But Caleb’s perspective was that it was the Lord who kept him alive for the last 45 years for the purpose of fulfilling his promise. Caleb saw his life and purpose according to God’s word. He didn’t make any other plans or purposes for his life. He didn’t have any thing else that he was living by, except God’s word. And that was enough.
In the same way, Peter encourages us to make God’s word our life and purpose – our hill-country. He said “God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Isn’t that incredible? “So that you may participate in the divine nature....” It’s God’s hill-country, rising up in the distance. I want to hold on to those “great and precious promises” in the firm faith that what he promised he will deliver.
OK then, said Caleb. “I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”
Today, don’t make any excuses or complaints because of your past disappointments or your present situation. Just claim the promise by faith. Don’t fight a faith-battle in the arena of reason! Stay strong because of God’s promise to you!
What’s your “hill-country”? What are you praying for today? Today, go for it with your whole heart, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…“ (Phil 1:6)
“Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.) Then the land had rest from war.”