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Who Gives Kudos:
TheotherPaul (2)



A well trained Dog

Well its been a busy couple weeks around easter.  I am back and I hope you will be encouraged and challenged by what God has had percolating in my brain.


            Have you ever seen a poorly trained dog?  These are the ones that people to tend to talk about after the fact.  This type of dog is wild and doing only what it wants to do; going only where it wants to go and listening only when a treat is offered.  What the master says is completely and totally ignored.  The dog hears, but simply does respect or respond to the master.  You all know this type of dog because you have heard the master calling for its attention by repeatedly yelling its name and repeating commands.  The real question is:  Have you seen a very well trained dog?  The older of my two dogs is very well trained… well at least when I have him out hunting.  He has learned to trust my voice and if I tell him to come, he comes and if I tell him to change directions and hunt in a different spot, he does it.  He has learned that there is a good reward for listening to my voice.

            There is a man we read about in the OT in a number of passages.  He is not a really high profile character in the scriptures and yet he is an individual that has been described by the Word of God as one who ‘followed God fully’.  Most of you probably have heard of him, his name is Caleb.  Now up until recently I had understood that his name meant “dog”; however some research I came across suggested that his name comes from two Hebrew words that have been compounded.  One meaning “whole” and the other meaning “hearted” and thus his name actually mean “whole hearted” or “faithful”.  These two words when compounded are very similar in spelling and form to “Caleb”.  Now does this take away from those that have said his name means dog?  Not at all.  In the same way a well trained dog listens to his master, so too did Caleb whole heartedly listen to voice of God his master.

            Caleb’s story in the bible basically starts with sending of the 12 spies into the land of Canaan.  Over a span of 40 days these 12 men (of which Caleb was one) went through the land of Canaan determining its strengths and weaknesses as well as observing the produce and richness of the resources found there.  Upon their return 10 of those sent to spy were opposed to going forward with the plan to conquer this land due to the ferocity of the Canaanites and because some of the inhabitants were giants.  Now Caleb and Joshua however had a different take.  For them they saw that the land was good- full of produce and resources.  They admitted that the locals were giants and formidable opponents.  There was also the admission that the cities were heavily fortified.  Yet Caleb himself said: "We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it." (Numbers 13:30 NASB)  The whole issue of trusting the voice of God was not one that Caleb struggled with. He was by this time in their journey well aware of the promises made by God.  It was a promise made to Abraham over 400 years before (Gen 15:18).  It was a promise that was reiterated to all of Israel in the wilderness (Ex 6:6- 8).    Unfortunately, the testimony of the 10 and the lack of faith of the congregation resulted in none of that generation (save Caleb and Joshua) was allowed to enter the Promised Land.  Yet of Caleb the Lord said: "But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.” (Numbers 14:24 NASB).

            So 40 years passed, those of the sinful generation died off.  The mantle of leadership passed to Joshua and a new generation of people marched into the Promised Land and the decree of God about possessing Canaan was reiterated again (Josh 1:4).  For about 5 years the Israelites battled the people of Canaan taking for themselves the land promised by God.  We don’t hear anything again of Caleb for half of the book Joshua while the land is being conquered.  Then in Joshua 14 after much of the land is settled, Caleb (God’s whole hearted dog) appears on the scene again asking for permission to go up and conquer the land to be given to him as a possession.  You gotta love his request:  "Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today.  I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.  Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken." (Joshua 14:10-12 NASB)  Bold and Powerful- even at 85 years of age this man who followed God was ready to go and take on the giant Anakim clan; to possess and obtain for himself the rewards promised to him years before. 

I have seen many old dogs in my life and I love their desire to please and work for their master even in their old age.  In my days hunting I have seen dogs who can hunt for only short spurts as they don’t have the strength or endurance to make a day of it as they did in their youth.  Their hips hurt, their breath is laboured and their noses don’t scent like they used to.  But they try….. Wow do they try.  They still have the singular purpose:  find the bird.  They hear the master’s command and they hunker down and do everything in their power to get out and find one more bird- to be faithful just one last time.  They will even do this to their own detriment, exhausting themselves and requiring days to recover.  There is just a special relationship that a well trained dog has with his master- they just want to do what their master says. 

Today, many people at 85 years of age are just struggling to remain mobile- not Caleb.  Like the old faithful dog, he was going to do what he was called to do.  Interestingly he wasn’t weak and tired like an old dog though.  By his own admission, he was as strong then as he was at 40.  His heart was not set on just seeing God’s promises fulfilled- but to act upon the word of the Lord when it he heard it.  His desire was to step up and out and be the man that God had named him to be.  I have blogged about God’s faithfulness to his promises in the past.  Today I want to challenge all of us to not just expect the promises to be fulfilled, but also to step out and claim them.  As God calls us to action we need to be like Caleb who didn’t shy away even though the fulfillment of promises seemed distant and even impossible.  He was still willing to go and take the land even in the face of gigantic odds.  People say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, fortunately Caleb didn’t need to learn a new trick- his life had been dedicated to just one, which he repeated every time that his master called.   


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TheotherPaul | Mon Apr 08, 2013, 17:04


I saw the Giant of Prayerlessness upon the mountain high;
He laughed so hard at my unbended knee.
No longer in the Wilderness I'll stay, and so I cry:
I want that mountain, it belongs to me!

    I want that mountain!  I want that mountain!
    Where the milk and honey flow, where the grapes of Eshcol grow,
    I want that mountain!  I want that mountain!
    The mountain that my Lord has given me.

There was a Giant of Laziness who said I wouldn't go
And witness for the One who set me free.
I'll come from out the Wilderness, I'll witness now I know;
I want that mountain, it belongs to me!

    I want that mountain!  I want that mountain!
    Where the milk and honey flow, where the grapes of Eshcol grow,
    I want that mountain!  I want that mountain!
    The mountain that my Lord has given me.

One faithless Giant upon the crest of Hebron's lofty height
Has vowed that he's the one to make me flee.
I'll climb from out the Wilderness! and trust Jehovah's might!
I want that mountain, it belongs to me!

    I want that mountain!  I want that mountain!
    Where the milk and honey flow, where the grapes of Eshcol grow,
    I want that mountain!  I want that mountain!
    The mountain that my Lord has given me.

Let ev'ry Giant of Distress and Unbelief and Sin
Get ready now to vacate, for you see:
I've come from out the Wilderness! I know I'm going to win!
I want that mountain, it belongs to me!

    I want that mountain!  I want that mountain!
    Where the milk and honey flow, where the grapes of Eshcol grow,
    I want that mountain!  I want that mountain!
    The mountain that my Lord has given me!

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