Monday, September 26
In 1933 two Jewish boys had an idea for a super hero. This hero was an outsider, taken from home, and dropped in a strange land. He believed in justice and truth. His role would be to save people. This soon became the legend of Superman. This brings to mind a similar story. Moses was dropped in the land of Egypt and became the hero God’s people needed. He stood up to the Pharaoh and delivered the Israelites from slavery. As we moved through the Bible, Joshua becomes the Moses 2.0. Joshua 11:15 reminds us “As the LORD commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses.” Joshua followed God’s commands and led Israel to ultimately take over all the royal cities and their kings. Chapter 12 reiterates, without any exaggeration or embellishment, the many victories of God’s hero, Joshua. The Israelites had followed this great man through warfare and were now ready to receive their inheritance.
Joshua, the chief priest, and the heads of the twelve tribes oversaw the allotment of God’s Promised Land. Joshua seems to barely wrap up his military duties and has to quickly take on the responsibilities of property management and administration. He assigned lots as God commanded through Moses. The Levites had not been granted an inheritance in terms of land. The sons of Joseph had become two tribes (Manasseh and Ephraim), since Jacob had adopted them as his own (Gen 48:5). This made it possible to have the twelve part nation. The Levites carried out religious duties for the Israelites. They were given cities to live in, but were not land owners “because the Lord the God of Israel himself is their inheritance” (Deut. 18:2).
We need heroes that show us how to follow God wholeheartedly. Caleb, from the tribe of Judah, had joined Joshua 45 years earlier as one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to scout out the Promised Land. Caleb boldly approached Joshua, on behalf of his tribe, and requested exactly what both men had heard Moses promise to Caleb, because he “followed the LORD wholeheartedly” (Josh. 14:8). This is where the hero-status jumps up to a whole new level! The land Caleb was requesting was not void of “bad guys”. As a matter of fact, if you remember the “giants” that terrified 10 of the 12 spies – they were inhabiting this land. Caleb admits he’s 85 years old and says he’s still as strong as the day Moses sent him out. He says he’s ready to go out to battle. “Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard 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.” (Josh.14:12). Why does the Bible name the folks living there? The 3 sons of Anach (Sheshai, Ahiman, & Talmai) were also known as 3 clans of giants – the stuff legends are made of. We watch 85 year old Caleb request the large, fortified cities, full of giants, & on a hill – for his retirement package. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he requested land near the river, shaded with palm trees, and free of his enemies! In his old age, he did what the rest of Israel could not and would not do – he believed in God’s word & defeated the giants (and their fortified cities) on their home turf. (Josh 15:14). He won and took up residence in Hebron, something he’d probably envisioned for his tribe for more than four decades.
2 Cor.16:9 tells us “the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”. Young and old can learn from Caleb’s example, as he followed God wholeheartedly – that’s the stuff heroes are made of! I’m sure those two imaginative Jewish boys heard their fair share of Old Testament Bible stories. Superman is fun to read about, but as we continue our journey through God’s instruction manual, we have some truly super men to learn from.