Where did Caleb’s “can do” outlook come from? Numbers 14:24 says, “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” There was something special about Caleb. He had a different spirit because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.
In the Bible the heart is much more than a physical organ. It is the core of who we are. It’s the seat of our desires and dreams. Everything we do flows out of our heart. Caleb gave all of his heart to the Lord without reservation. He wasn’t a perfect man, but he knew the purpose of his life. This is God’s purpose for all of our lives. It’s much larger than success in a chosen occupation, secular or sacred. Our primary purpose is to love God with all our heart. Jesus said in Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” Everything else is secondary.
Notice what the Lord says about the Israelites in comparison. Numbers 14:22-23, “Not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times, not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors.” Every parent has said to their child, “I’ve told you now ten times to clean your room.” God says of Isreal, “You’ve tested me ten times.” This isn’t a literal number, but an expression of exasperation. Israel continually tested God. This is what we do when we go through Costco. We wander here and there, examining the samples of food. We get to pick and choose the ones we want to taste for free. Israel tried a little bit here and there but never made a wholehearted commitment to follow the Lord.
There’s nothing worse than living a life of indecision. “Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I’ll I have to see how I feel when I get up. I don’t want to get too committed. I might get burned.” Halfheartedness makes us unstable and miserable in all our ways. Anything done half-hearted isn’t worth doing. Most people who complain and murmur have never made a wholehearted commitment. Once you’re fully invested, instead of looking for problems you find solutions.
Canaan became known as the Promise Land because it was promised by God. Way back in Egypt God said in Exodus 3:17, “I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites…a land flowing with milk and honey.” God graciously repeated this promise throughout their wilderness journey. Caleb decided to build his life on the promises of God. We will go farther in life with a few “can do” Caleb types around.