May 2, 2019·Jon Berglund
“Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance.”
— Joshua 14:13
Hebron is a really important place in the Old Testament.
The story of Hebron goes back at least as far as Abraham, when God had promised the entire land of Canaan to his descendants. There, in this small, seemingly insignificant hill country, he settled his family and built an altar to the LORD. This place would become a symbol to all Israel – a place where they would look and remember God’s promises.
But Abraham was not the only great man to step foot in that place. At some point, a man named Arba appears to have arisen and established it as one of the very few fortified cities of the time (Kiriath-arba). Arba and his son, Anak, were so formidable that their children (the Anakim) were even thought to be a part of an ancient and legendary race of giants. No wonder that, when Moses had sent spies into this land, they were struck with fear and dissuaded the Israelites from entering the land and taking their inheritance. Only two spies, Joshua and Caleb, saw past these giants and on to the altar of promise, so they were the only ones allowed to enter the land of promise.
So, “Joshua blessed Caleb… and gave him Hebron.”
Tomorrow, in Joshua 15, we’ll read a few short verses about how Joshua expelled the children of Anak from the City of Arba and took his inheritance. Surprisingly, there’s no story of how the great City of Arba was overthrown or how the dreadful Anakim were defeated. In fact, there’s much more in the Bible about how Joshua and Caleb opposed their own people than there is about the battle they waged with the Anakim.
Why do you think that is? Why do you think the Bible seems a lot more concerned with the opposition between Caleb and the congregation of Israel than the battle for Hebron? I wonder if it’s because the conflict with his own people – when he and Joshua opposed the faithlessness of the Israelites – was the real battle. I wonder if it’s because the inner battles are more difficult – more fierce and more costly – than the outer one. They’re the battles with family and friends, with coworkers and classmates, with our very selves. They’re the battles that determine our victory.
Can you relate to Caleb’s story? Are you in a battle now and feeling the pressure from the inside? What might God be saying to you?
Pastor Jon Berglund