Let’s track the life of Caleb on his journey from Egypt to Canaan and learn the three stages of your journey to success. The life in Egypt, the life in the desert of Paran, and the life beyond the Jordan River.
Life in Egypt
Growing up, Caleb would have heard about Joseph and his contribution to the Egyptian kingdom and how his ancestors lived and were respected. He would have heard about Moses, how the princess of Egypt raised him as a prince in the palace, how Moses killed an Egyptian to protect an Israelite, and how he had to run away from the king of Egypt. Finally, Caleb would have heard stories about his great grandfather Jacob who came to live his final days in Egypt. Jacob’s life and his success would have been stories that grandparents shared with their grandchildren.
Abraham would have been another source of inspiration for Caleb. He would have heard about how God promised to make his descendants a nation, and the promise of the land of Canaan would have been part of the stories that Caleb would have heard. Unfortunately, all these things were in the past. Caleb’s current situation did not reflect any of the stories that he had heard. The promise seemed nowhere near to be true. Caleb would have longed for the promise to come true, but most of the details remained unknown to him. He had no idea how he would inherit the land promised to Abraham, but he was determined to do what was required.
Caleb realized that Egypt was not the promised land, but they had food to eat and a place to stay. The work was horrible, to say the least, but it provided for their basic needs at the minimum.
Over generations, many of the people of Israel had to come to accept their situation as a reality. They thought that this is how life is, their destiny, or it was not meant to be. There is no way to get ahead; the system is stacked against them. So some started to think that the idea of a promised land may not have been a promise after all but only a dream.
Your previous or current situation could be this way. Either you were in Egypt, or you are in an Egypt-like situation right now. Where you were born or what you are doing in terms of work seems like you are slaves, working for a minimum wage, and there is no real future for you. You may be debating if this is all life has to offer. But, if it was in the past, you remember exactly how you felt trying to make ends meet working a minimum wage and the feeling of hopelessness about life in general.
The people of Israel had to leave Egypt and cross the Red sea to move on to their next stage in life. How about you? Are you ready to make the journey? Nobody said it is going to be easy. Israelites had their own list of challenges to overcome, and so do you. Nevertheless, you need to leave Egypt to get to the next stage. It is out there and not where you currently are.
The Desert of Paran
This is the second stage of life in Caleb’s journey to success; life was better than in Egypt. He is not a slave anymore. All his needs are met. The trip to the promised land has begun. The dreadful life in Egypt is now starting to become a thing of the past. The Israelites thought from now on everything will be ‘rainbows and ponies, and so they were disappointed whenever they faced any obstacle.
How many times have we felt the same way? Finally, we overcome some obstacles and start to think it will be smooth sailing from here on out, only blue skies and wind in our sails, but we soon become disappointed when the wind blows against us.
The people of Israel press on, but they are a tough crowd. The turning of the bitter water in Marah, the manna from heaven, satisfies them only for a moment. How many times are we the same way? The miracles of life don’t seem to impress us anymore. When a challenge comes, we throw our hands up in the air and say, why this? Why me? And why now?
Israel and Caleb have gotten used to this routine now. They know where their next meal is coming from. No evil taskmaster is breathing down their neck. They have learned new skills like finding food for their flocks in the desert and navigating rugged terrain. They also realize that their work is much better than the one they were doing in Egypt. Their stress and anxiety levels have come down as they don’t need to fear their lives or their children anymore.
The temptation for many of us is, should we now put our feet up and say, I have come this far in life. I have faced my share of challenges and have made tremendous progress. Look where I have come from; look at my beginnings. My achievements are proof that I have made it. So let me give myself a pat on the back and take the rest I deserve.
Almost all the Israelites did not want to go into the promised land. The land that they had longed to go to. The land they had dreamed about. Why? They did not want to face any more challenges. They wanted a smooth ride. From where they stood, there were no enemies around, no one chasing after them. The passion and the drive to move forward had left them. They were ready to give up but not Caleb; his mindset was different.
In the Promised land
The promised land is on the other side of the desert. You have seen evidence of it sometimes in your own lives or other times in the lives of others. There is a lot more to see and experience in the promised land than where you are now.
Caleb knew his inheritance was on the other side of Jordan, and he was ready to go and take it. Read Joshua 14: 10 – 12
10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You heard then 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.”
Caleb is ready to take on the challenge ahead of him and stake a claim to his inheritance. Caleb asks and receives Hebron and the rest of his tribe (Judah) to acquire Hebron’s land. Caleb was able to carve out his own inheritance because he did not decide to settle on the outskirts of the promised land. Instead, he believed in the promise, and he worked to receive it.
Where are you in life today? Egypt? the desert? Or in the promised land?
The temptation is to settle for a portion on the outskirts of the promised land, but God’s purpose for you is to go and achieve more. Your goal should be to realize your full potential, everything that God has designed for you to succeed. Everything. If God had a list, then everything on his list. If God has a list of things you could accomplish, how many do you think you have completed? For example, on Moses’ list, God wanted Moses to redeem the people of Israel from slavery. What world problem do you think God wants you to solve?
Caleb demonstrates the mindset that you and I need to become the best we can be. By putting our trust in God and going after what he wants us to do with everything we have for His glory.