So the land was distributed in strict accordance with the Lord’s commands to Moses.
A delegation from the tribe of Judah, led by Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb said to Joshua, “Remember what the Lord said to Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. So that day Moses solemnly promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’
“Now, as you can see, the Lord has kept me alive and well as he promised for all these forty-five years since Moses made this promise—even while Israel wandered in the wilderness. Today I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.”
The land was divided exactly as God had instructed Moses years before. Joshua did not change a word. He followed God’s commands precisely. Often we believe that almost is close enough, and this practice can carry over into life with God. For example, we may follow God’s Word as long as we agree with it, but ignore it when the demands seem harsh. But God is looking for leaders who follow instructions thoroughly.
Caleb was faithful from the start. As one of the original spies sent into the Promised Land (Numbers 13:30-33), he had seen great cities and giants, yet he knew God would help the people conquer the land. Because of his faith, God promised him an inheritance of land (Numbers 14:24; Deuteronomy 1:34-36). Here, 45 years later, the land was given to him. His faith was still unwavering. Although his inherited land still had giants, Caleb knew the Lord would help him conquer them.
Caleb is a great example of what it means to be faithful to God, not only at the start of our walk with God, but throughout our entire lives. Caleb put his faith in God, and God rewarded him for his faithfulness. In the same way, God will reward our faithfulness. This isn’t because we are so good but because God’s promises are so firm. It’s his promises that bring the blessing, not our faithfulness. Our faithfulness simply gives us access to them, just like Caleb faithfully waited and the land became his.