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When Caleb was 85 years old, he made a bold request: "Give me this mountain!" (see Joshua 14:12). Caleb was asking for the opportunity to conquer the city of Hebron. Hebron was the strongest stronghold in Canaan. It was the residence of the three sons of Anak—legendary warriors of great renown. Just the mention of them struck fear in all the surrounding regions. Hebron was also the highest city in the land of Canaan. It was situated near the top of a mountain range that was over 3000 feet above sea level.
Spiritual Seats of Government
In the ancient world, mountains were seats of government. Different mountains were associated with different gods. Hebron was a demonic seat of government that ruled through fear and intimidation. The sons of Anak were not only men of great stature and strength, they were demonically empowered. This wasn't a battle for the fainthearted. What gave Caleb the audacity to ask for Hebron? Caleb understood something about seats of government that was revolutionary. To understand his bold request we need to go back forty years earlier and stand at the foot of another mountain—Mount Sinai.
When Israel came out of Egypt they encountered God at Mount Sinai. God came down on the mountain. There were thunderings, lightnings, a thick cloud, a piercing trumpet sound, and fire and smoke. The mountain shook violently (Exodus 19:16-20). The sight was so awesome it caused every man, woman, boy and girl to tremble. False gods in the ancient world were hidden inside temples built for them. In contrast, Israel's God, the real and true God, was clearly manifested before them and always present with them. At Mount Sinai, God entered into covenant with Israel. God was now their covenant partner. This meant that, spiritual speaking, wherever they went the mountain went with them.
Caleb and Joshua were deeply impacted at Mount Sinai. The encounter was permanently imprinted on their hearts. Their spiritual vision was clearer than the other Israelites. This caused them to respond with deeper submission. When you see God as He really is, you can never get away from Him. That's why the living creatures around God's throne continually cry, "Holy! Holy! Holy!" (Revelation 4:8). Caleb and Joshua understood that Mount Sinai represented a seat of government that was both awesome and permanent. From this time forward they consciously and deliberately submitted to this seat of government. The fear of the Lord led to submission (Ephesians 5:21).
Still Bowing Before Mount Sinai
After the encounter at Mount Sinai, the Israelites continued to journey through the wilderness. Eventually they came to the edge of the land of Canaan. God gave them the command to go in and possess the land. Israel responded with a resounding, "No!" Only Caleb and Joshua said, "Yes." Instead of possessing their inheritance, that generation wandered aimlessly in the wilderness. Forty years later, Caleb and Joshua were the only survivors from that generation. They became the primary role models for the next generation. The second generation was given the same opportunity to possess the land. The second generation said, "Yes!"
Before leading Israel in their conquest of the land, Joshua encountered a Man with a drawn sword (Joshua 5:13-15). Joshua asked the Man directly, "Whose side are you on?" The Man declared that He was the captain of the Lord's armies and commanded Joshua to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. Interestingly, many years earlier, God told Moses to take off his sandals when God appeared to Moses in a burning bush at Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:5, 12). Mount Sinai represented a spiritual seat of government. Joshua understood the connection. In full submission Joshua took off his sandals.
What gave Caleb the audacity to take Hebron? The answer is simple: He was submitted to a much greater seat of government than Hebron. All of Israel trembled before Mount Sinai, but Caleb and Joshua understood that God was not only awesome, He was King of kings. Forty years later, Caleb was still bowed before Mount Sinai. He carried the revelation in his heart. As intimidating as Hebron was, it was no match for Sinai. This was a conflict of two mountains. The first generation didn't receive their inheritance because they were intimidated by the sons of Anak (Numbers 13:28). Caleb conquered the very stronghold that had stopped the first generation from inheriting the land! In doing so, he became a prophetic model for future generations.
Submitting to God as King of Kings
The generation that came out of Egypt submitted to God as Deliverer—and it was a glorious deliverance. But that's as far as their submission went. When God commanded them to enter the land they said, "No!" The second generation submitted to God as King. They obeyed His command to possess the land. But there was still a deeper level of submission. More than just King, He is King of kings.
Caleb and Joshua submitted to God on this third level. They understood that He was King of kings when they stood at the foot of Mount Sinai. Forty years later, when Joshua met the captain of the Lord's armies, he took off his sandals because he was in the presence of the King of kings. Also forty years later, Caleb obtained his inheritance when he took Hebron. Forty years is a long time to wait. During this time, Caleb didn't surrender to impatience or disappointment. In fact, during the forty years, his submission to Mount Sinai increased rather than waned. In deep submission he boldly declared, "Give me this mountain!"
God is preparing modern day Joshuas and Calebs. Their perspective is different. They see opportunities when others see impossibilities. Most importantly they carry a revelation of God's "mountain" in their hearts. With this revelation they will conquer "impregnable fortresses."
The same challenge that was released to a fledgling nation 3000 years ago is being released to us today. Each of us can choose whether we submit to God as Deliverer, as King, or as King of kings. The first level is glorious. The second level is exceedingly glorious. The third level is beyond description. What will your choice be? (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
Heart of David Ministries
Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Over the last twenty years he has been instrumental in ushering in significant moves of the Spirit in over ten different nations. Many have experienced life-changing prophetic encounters and dramatic visitations from God. Nathan is the author of two books: Passion and Fire and Unto the Least of These. Nathan is senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre, Dunedin (www.fireanddestiny.org) and Celebration Church, Mosgiel (www.celebrationchurch.xyz).
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