A theme from the book of Joshua is to “claim the land.” This theme comes because Joshua is called by God to conquer the land of Canaan, so Jews can then claim it by driving out final enemies, and building their own houses.
Joshua fulfils the call of God by conquering almost all of the land till he can no longer fight. Sadly the Jews do a very poor job of claiming that land.
In Joshua seventeen the tribe of Joseph complained that Joshua had not given them enough land, but were unwilling to expand into new territory, because they were afraid of the Canaanites (Joshua 17:15-16). Then in chapter eighteen Joshua confronts many tribes who because of fear, had refused to claim the land that God had given (Joshua 18:3).
As a contrast to these passive individuals, the Lord gives us the example of Caleb. Who at the age of eighty-five (Joshua 14:10-11) conquered the areas that young men were afraid to attack (Joshua 15:14).
There are many things that we can learn from the life of Caleb….
But the most important is to win a complete victory
For most of the Jews, gaining large victories over the Canaanite enemies was good enough. There was no reason to drive them out, since they were so weak. Of course in Judges those enemies allowed to survive would eventually drive the Jews out.
In other words, most Jews were satisfied with winning the battle, instead of the war
But not Caleb!
The application the Lord brought to my heart through this passage is I settle for winning battles over my sin nature instead of the war.
After defeating a sinful habit enough times it will become weak, or something that we don’t struggle with anymore. At this point it’s easy to overlook that sin as something unimportant, and we allow it to remain.
But winning the battle makes little difference if we let sin win the war.
Of course it’s impossible to completely eliminate sin from our lives till the Lord gives us a glorified body. So like Caleb we must just keep fighting.
Continue to wage war on the indwelling sin with a sharp sword until the day God calls you home, or your’e taken up. Then, and ONLY THEN can you lay your sword down.