Caleb: Casualty or Conqueror?


Picture it.
You have an employer that has put a great amount of trust in you to get the job done. You have earned this employer’s trust, and you trust your employer with your life.
In the face of a major deal, the employer sends you and an entire team out into the field to assess a situation. However, they’ve already told you the next step. You’re just going on a mission to gather intell.
Upon reaching the competition, you see a challenge, but you know your employer has never over-estimated their ability in the past. They take their responsibility to each individual very serious. They would never risk the lives or livelihood of those in their care for naught.
So, you go back to the office and offer up an honest evaluation of the situation.
“It’s going to be a job, but it can be done. Let’s get started.”
Then the rest of the team steps forward. Their reports are less than positive.
They see the competition as impossible to even compete against, let alone conquer. They believe if you take on the challenge you will be walking straight in to slaughter, unarmed. They convince everyone else in the company, except for you and the employer, that it would be better to be beggars on the street than to go after this deal.
So, the employer says no one will chase this deal until all are gone except the ones who believed in my ability to lead you through the challenge.
Forty-five years later, everyone else is gone. It is finally time to close the deal. You are now eighty-five.
Which part of this challenge do you ask for? The same challenge you faced when you were younger? Or do you request an easier task for someone quite advanced in age?
I’m thinking that since I remained loyal when the assignment was first given, now I’ll ask for the easy job. I’m too old now to be out there slaying giants. Perhaps it would be better for me to sit in the office and complete the paperwork.
How often do we hear a plan from God and set off for the assignment only to get derailed by other members of the party?
12 spies
Joshua and Caleb were two of twelve spies. Ten came back and said impossible. Two came back and said we can do this.
The ten naysayers earned Israel forty years of wandering in the wilderness waiting for the ten spies to die off because God said they would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land.
Joshua and Caleb were exempt from the fate of death and non-entry, however, their reward was still delayed due to the behavior of the members of their party. Joshua and Caleb were faithful to God, but the sins of their brothers didn’t leave them unscathed.
I think after being disciplined for forty years I would have chosen an easy land to conquer and claim for my own. I think I might have felt entitled to it after all the time I had lost.
Caleb, however, was different. He made a request for his land in the Promised Land, the same land the Lord had promised him years ago. Land that wasn’t an easy land to claim.
“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.” Joshua 14:10-12
Forty-five years had passed. Still Caleb is requesting the roughest land.

Give me the hill country.


  • Caleb didn’t ask for the clear-cut pasture.
  • Caleb didn’t ask for the lowlands.
  • Caleb didn’t ask for the land closest to the point of entry.
  • Caleb said give me the worst land in the roughest place to travel to.

I can fight as well as I could then.

  • Caleb didn’t ask for his own army to fight for him.
  • Caleb didn’t request land that was no longer occupied.
  • Caleb didn’t ask for a fair fight.
  • Caleb didn’t push responsibility of the fight off onto the younger generation.
  • Caleb reminded Joshua that the land he was requesting was well-protected by great walls.
  • Caleb reminded Joshua that the land was inhabited by giants.
  • Caleb clearly stated that as long as the Lord was with him, he would drive them (giants) out of the land.
All in.
I’ve been thinking about that phrase a lot in the last week or two. Do you have to be all in or all out? Can we do things if we’re only partially invested?
I’m an all or nothing kind of girl.
Sometimes that’s a GREAT thing, and sometimes that’s actually a bad thing. I was once again reminded of something as I studied Caleb, though.
Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. Joshua 14:14
If the Lord leads you to it, you need to be all in. If it’s something you’re just chasing after, you should probably get yourself all out.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10
Which worker are you?
  1. It’s a challenge, but with God we can do it!
  2. We can never slay these giants. We would be better off slaves.
  3. I’ve paid my dues; It’s someone else’s turn.
  4. Give me the toughest assignment, God. With you by my side, we’ve got this!

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge. Each day in April (other than Sundays) I will post based on the next letter in the alphabet. Make sure to check out each letters person from the Bible!



  • Hi Carrie,
    Enjoyed your thoughts about Caleb. I named my two middle boys Caleb & Joshua because of their “can do” attitude and acts of obedience.
    There are so many valuable lessons found in the bible and its wonderful to see someone like yourself not just appreciate them, but write about them as well.

  • Enjoyed this post about 2 of my favorite people from the Bible. They have always inspired me with their seemingly strong, yet quiet, tenacity and patience on God’s will. Looking forward to your future posts!

  • I haven’t thought much about this story in a long time. As my children are growing and learning, I find that I am re-visiting more and more of the bible that I grew up with, but had put aside for a long time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  • You raise some interesting points in this post. Thanks for getting me to think about them in more detail than I normally would.

  • I love Caleb’s story. One of my favorite characters in the Bible. That verse in Joshua always stirs my spirit. I named my son Caleb by the way.

  • I really had to sit with this one a few minutes. Which is the mark of a good post. Thank you.

  • Thank you so much for the inspiring post. I really look up to these two people in the Bible! Looking forward to newer posts. =)

  • Interesting take on Caleb’s story. Point well made on the majority shying away from hard tasks and condemning everyone to wilderness

  • Oh gosh Carrie, what a thought provoking post to really pray about. You have inspired me to really search my heart and see where there are pieces of my life God led me to, that I didn’t say “All IN!”… And walk forward with this new insight discerning where I lead to, OR He takes me to. Those are really important things to pray about when we are facing some big decisions in our lives.

    Thank you for sharing His Truth through your wisdom, my friend!!

  • Excellent and thought provoking post.

    I’m a #1 myself. Only b/c I’m too much of a coward to be #3.

  • Ack! I meant #4! Dang it! Too much of a coward for #4!

    This is what happens when young Minions are climbing on you and you get distracted.

    *shuffles off in shame*