Sent: Friday, December 28, 2001

Subject: Scaling Walls at 85!

Dear Ethan & Emily:

Well today is my 56th birthday….just doesn’t seem possible!  Thank you for the cards and greetings I have already received…and it’s not even yet 6:30 in the morning as sit here to begin my morning time of Bible study.

God has blessed me with good health and a lot of energy, and I want to use it for the glory of the Lord as I look to the future.  My inspiration…hands down…is Caleb, another of my very favorite Bible persons.

In a great passage in Joshua 14: 6 – 15, Caleb, one of the original men sent out by Moses to explore the land of Canaan many years earlier, reminds Joshua as the land of Canaan is being divided up:  “I returned and gave from my heart a good report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people and discouraged them from entering the Promised Land.  For my part, I followed the Lord my God completely.” (v. 7b)  All of the rest of the reconnaissance party saw overwhelming opposition…Caleb saw the same fortified cities and giants that possessed the land,  but he saw not defeat…but victory with God on their side.  (Read the entire report in Numbers 13.)

For his faith, Moses promised Caleb that when they did eventually conquer the land, he would personally receive an inheritance of land…an honor given to no other person, as land was to be given only to the tribal descendants (sons) of Jacob.

Swayed by the majority report, the Israelites had grumbled and rebelled against Moses’ leadership at that time, and demonstrating their complete lack of faith, even considered returning to Egypt and slavery.  God would have destroyed them if Moses had not intervened on their behalf.  God did spare them but declared that not one of the adult generation (except Joshua & Caleb) would enter the promised land.  So for 40 years they wandered in the wilderness until that generation had passed away.

Caleb was 40 years old at that time and now in this meeting with Joshua after 40 more years and then 5 additional years conquering the land, he now asks Joshua for his inheritance.  He declares:  “Today I am eighty-five year 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 I’m asking you to give me the hill country that the Lord promised me.  You will remember that as scouts we found the Anakites living there in great, walled cities.  But (this is a great word!) if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.” (Joshua 14: 10b – 12)

Well, I don’t know if I still have the strength and stamina I had at 25, but I am blessed with good health….and just as Caleb, I want to look to the future and “scale the walls” of new opportunities and challenges of service to the Lord.   Even as senior citizens God can use us…He never puts us “on the shelf.” 

My prayer is that all of us will have Caleb’s “can do” attitude and that at every stage of our life…whether in our prime or in our “golden years”…, others will be able to say of us as Moses did of Caleb:  “…you wholeheartedly followed the Lord….” (v. 9)

When we do, with God’s help, we can do amazing things as we “scale walls” at 85!

Have a wonderful day seeing, as Caleb did, a future of possibilities…

All my love,