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Born For Greatness II: From Present to Promise

Sep 14 2015

Throughout scripture God calls men and women into His program of salvation for the earth. For example, the Lord told Abraham to: “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) (NIV) With this command came many promises that were later fulfilled in Abraham’s and Sarah’s life-time, and many others that were to be fulfilled later on in history.


You’ll recall how Abraham was 75 years of age when he received the promise, but didn’t attain it until 25 years later. Likewise, Joshua 14 records how Caleb was promised an inheritance of land because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly (v. 8, 9, 14), yet he didn’t receive it until 45 years later, at age 85 (v. 10). And even then, he still had to fight the Anakites out of the land to appropriate and attain the promise.

When it comes to fulfilling the promise of God on our lives I’ve noticed that it’s not something we can put in the microwave like popcorn and have fulfilled 3 minutes later, or something I can download in 30 seconds on an app. The promise of God always involves time, patience and perseverance that only come as we choose to FOLLOW the Lord wholeheartedly.

There are 3 things we can learn from the great example that Caleb displayed from the time He received the promise to the time he attained it.

  • He Followed THE LORD: “Following the Lord” is a literal picture of a person walking in the footsteps of another in front of them. I love that Caleb continued to follow the Lord for 45 years knowing that one day the promise would come. I’m sure he had every opportunity to follow the opinions of others but rather chose to hold to his convictions (v. 7) concerning what the Lord had promised.
  • He Followed WHOLEHEARTEDLY: “Wholeheartedly” carries with it the idea of following the Lord with one’s whole self. Three Hebrew words that can be found throughout the OT that help sum up the notion of wholehearted are; the whole heart (kolleb); the whole mouth (kolpeh); and for the whole duration (kolod). Hence, the heart, the mouth and how one walks/lives are vital to following the Lord wholeheartedly and attaining His promises over our lives.
  • He Followed TILL THE END: It’s always sad to see people taken out of relationship with the Lord through compromising convictions. Perseverance involves the decision to stay on course. In the example of Caleb, it was a slow and steady course that returned an incredible inheritance, as opposed to his contemporaries that compromised on the promise and failed to enter into its fullness. Caleb resolved to live by what God had promised and refused to bow to the compromising majority.

Caleb’s life is one that displays great qualities and characteristics for the Church and its leaders today. It’s one of perseverance, patience, conviction and faithfulness to God and His promises. For this reason the Lord said: ‘Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly.’ (Num. 14:24)

As exemplified by Caleb and many others throughout scripture, sometimes it takes a while for God’s promises to come to pass, but I’d rather be influenced by great men/women with great conviction, than be easily persuaded by small men/women with small opinions. #bornforgreatness

Lee Burns
Hillsong College Executive Vice President