LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
Joshua 14:13 – Friends in High Places.
Joshua 14:13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.
… And Joshua blessed Caleb.
You know I actually laughed when I saw this just now (Thursday 5th June 2014, 7:17 am). I laughed because when I tried to apply the setting to our current practices of Christianity and church stuff, I don’t see it happening much.
It would have been easier if it had read “Moses blessed Caleb”. Moses was the mighty man of God, much older than Caleb and He was the one who prophesied over Caleb the pleasure of the Lord over the state of His heart after they spied out the land. In a sense, it was Moses who ordained Caleb “into the ministry”. It would have been so much easier but it says Joshua blessed Caleb.
To bless someone and actually have that blessing rest practically, one would need to have a certain divine authority to do so, a power over and above the blessed. The Bible says “without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” (Romans 7:7). Also, to receive a blessing, the blessed would of a necessity, recognize and submit to the authority of the blesser. It is so much easier to do when the blesser is a senior believer and minister for Jesus.
But Joshua and Caleb were colleagues. Although Joshua was “in the ministry” before Caleb, Caleb was the pioneer of the “good report” that earned both of them the commendation of God and the blessing of living long and physically entering into the promised land; Joshua joined him later (Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9). So Caleb had some right to think that he and Joshua were at the same level in the ministry. To add credence to such an idea, many years later, only Joshua and Caleb were left alive from their generation of Israelites. I guess they must have been seen together often, inseparable pals, the two senior elders in the “Church of Israel, Desert Headquaters”. What Joshua knew, Caleb knew; they were the only two who had certain information so in a way, Caleb could stand in for Joshua at any meeting. It must have been easy to see them as equal.
The only two spectacularly supernatural things in Joshua’s diary of exploits was the parting of the River Jordan and the leveling of Jericho’s walls. That would have impressed the young generation of Israelites but remember, Caleb saw the plagues that leveled Egypt, walked across the bed of the vast Red Sea, and a host of other jaw dropping stuff that the last administration had on file. So Caleb could have easily said, “yeah, big deal, Joshua. You’ll have to do better to impress me”.
But Caleb did not make that mistake which many of us make today. He recognized Joshua as the head of the “ministry”, bore in mind that God had Moses lay hands on him to transfer the spirit to Joshua by which Joshua led the nation. And when it was time to claim his portion of the promised land, Caleb did not make a demand of his friend who happened to be the president, nor did he just walk in to take the land, he appealed to the nation’s leader, God’s appointed man over Israel, including himself, to let him have that land.
Think about this, when your buddy was appointed the leader of your department, did you submit to him in everything? When he gave a directive, did you respond as quickly as you did with the previous boss or did you wait till the last minute because you know he can’t fire you because of your friendship? When your friend was appointed a Pastor and he was declaring a blessing over the congregation, did you submit to him to receive that blessing or did you have to wait for the Senior Pastor before your faith was stirred. Possibly, the conflicting relationship is between you and your husband. When he is blessing his family during devotion time, do you say amen on behalf of your entire family, yourself inclusive, or just the children?
It’s my experience that a lot of people in leadership have to sacrifice their relationships and friendships in order to be able to do their jobs righteously, without fear or favour. It’s my experience that many of us turn against our friends when he starts acting like he is “one big oga (boss)”. We call it “see finish” others say ‘familiarity breeds contempt”.
If you have been guilty, you can repent. You can walk up to that friend of yours and offer your support and submit yourself to his authority, publicly and in the privacy of your heart. Believe me, you’ll be the better for it because it makes his job of being a blessing to you a lot easier.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Matthew 10:40-41 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
The flip side of the coin is those of us who have been appointed to serve in leadership positions, whether in secular settings or church settings; we should ensure we do what we have been assigned to do – bless the people. It’s still quite tough for me as a person, but the truth is this, “I have received a commandment to bless” so I should not refrain from declaring the blessing over God’s people. I have been appointed to lead so I should; else I am failing in my duties.
I used to refrain from “acting” like I have any authority over people just so I would not be seen as being pompous on account of my new found authority and power but over time, I have found that I was not helping the people I was put in the position to help either. And the first day I stood in my office and declared stuff over people because that was what they needed, their lives changed and they blessed God.
If your friend is your reason for “falling God’s hand” in your place of assignment, call that friend and discuss as friends. Remind him of your commitment to him as a friend and then ask for his permission to be a blessing to him as you should because the fact is, your friend is one of the reasons God put you in that place; he needs to be blessed too. God chose you to be the channel of blessing to him, he needs to accept you otherwise the intended blessing will not reach him. And when your friend is in pain because he didn’t receive from you, it won’t be easy on you either.
Mark 6:4-6 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
Romans 3:3-4 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar
Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
One of my leaders (I call him elder JP) said to me back in 1995, “It takes a special anointing to be your Pastor’s friend”. I agree; I’ve seen it. It’s not easy to maintain close friendship with your leader and still be his committed follower but it is possible; David and Jonathan did it, Joshua and Caleb did it, so can we.