In Joshua 14 we read of the blessings received by a man who “wholly followed the LORD”. Caleb was the other man who with Joshua spied out the land and brought back an optimistic report; this was after the people had miraculously escaped from Egypt, been fed in the wilderness, built the tabernacle and received the law. Surely the whole nation had evidence on which to base their faith – and today, God’s book is available for all to read and provides much evidence to build up our faith.
Caleb is now aged 85 and seeks his promised reward. We read his testimony to Joshua of the time “when Moses … sent me … to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart” (verse 7). His was a good, positive report, spoken in faith. Sadly, he adds, “my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD” (verse 8).
A prophecy about Egypt features in Isaiah 19 – and today the Coptic Christians there are an unhappy and somewhat persecuted group. Verse 17 came true after Israel was re-established in 1947-48. We read, “In that day the Egyptians will be like women and tremble with fear before the hand that the LORD of hosts shakes over them. The land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians …” (verses 16,17). This never happened in history – until then! But then Isaiah looks further into the future to the time when “the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship …” (verse 21). In that day all the world will become dramatically aware there is a Creator – and a divine law to be obeyed (see Isaiah 2:2,3).
Let us “wholly follow the LORD” now, for, said Jesus, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Caleb saw – yet in seeing he was aware of all the difficulties, but he “wholly followed the LORD”. We see the unfolding fulfilment of prophecy, especially with Israel, as an aid to strengthening our faith; may we be able to say in that day, “yet I wholly followed the LORD”.