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Verses of Numbers 14

24

Numbers 14:24 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

DISCOURSE: 157
FOLLOWING THE LORD FULLY

Num 14:24. But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

THE fewness of those who shall finally be saved is strongly declared in the Holy Scriptures; yet they who venture to suggest such an idea, are deemed uncharitable in the extreme. But it is not owing to a want of mercy in God that any perish: it is utterly their own fault: God delights to bless his faithful and obedient people; but the unbelieving and disobedient he will eternally condemn. The numbers that are found in either of these classes make no difference with respect to him: if there were only one or two ungodly, they alone should perish, and all others should be saved: but if a whole nation be ungodly, and only one or two of them be observant of the divine commands, those individuals alone shall find acceptance with him, and all the rest shall meet with their deserved doom. None but Noah and his family escaped the deluge: none but Lot and his daughters were delivered from the judgments which came upon Sodom and Gomorrha: thus, in the passage before us, we are told that Caleb alone, together with Joshua, was permitted to enter into the promised land, because they alone had followed the Lord fully.
To elucidate this record, and to bring it home to our own hearts, we shall shew,

I.

When we may be said to follow the Lord fully—

The whole nation of Israel might be considered as followers of the Lord, because they had given up themselves to him as his redeemed people, and depended on him for guidance and protection. In the same manner the whole body of Christians may be called followers of Christ, because they profess to have been redeemed by him from the far sorer bondage of sin and death, and because they look to him, in profession at least, to guide them by his Spirit, to keep them by his grace, and to bring them in safety to the heavenly Canaan. But as the great body of the Jewish nation deceived themselves to their ruin, so, it is to be feared, the greater part of the Christian world will ultimately be disappointed of their hopes. To follow the Lord will be to but little purpose, unless we follow him fully. Now this implies, that we follow him,

1.

With unreserved cheerfulness—

[The Israelites at large were pleased with God’s service no longer than while their inclinations were gratified to the full. As soon as ever they were called to exercise any self-denial, or to suffer a little for his sake, they began to murmur, and repented that they had taken his yoke upon them. Especially when they heard the report of the spies respecting the power of their enemies, they proposed to cast off God’s yoke altogether, and to return to their former masters in Egypt. But Caleb “had another spirit with him:” he considered himself as altogether at God’s disposal, and cheerfully obeyed him, as well in circumstances of difficulty and danger, as in the ways that were more pleasing to flesh and blood.
Now this disposition characterizes every faithful follower of Christ. It is not for us to choose our own way, but to follow the directions of our Divine Master. No commandment of his must be esteemed grievous; nothing must be called “a hard saving;” but we must cheerfully conform ourselves to every part of his revealed will, and account his service to be perfect freedom.]

2.

With undaunted resolution—

[Caleb had seen with his own eyes what difficulties he should have to encounter in subduing the land of Canaan; yet was he not in the least dismayed: yea, his whole nation were so offended with his fidelity to God, that they gave orders that he should be stoned to death. But nothing could intimidate him: he knew the will of God, and he was determined to execute it at all events.
Thus the Christian whose heart is right with God, is not deterred by any difficulties from proceeding in the path of duty: he knows that the world will be against him; and he often finds his greatest enemies to be those of his own household: yet he determines to go forward, and to obey God rather than man. Like the Hebrew youths, if he behold a furnace prepared for his destruction, he will still hold fast his integrity, and submit to death itself rather than violate his duty to his God.]

3.

With unshaken affiance—

>[The report of the spies was doubtless very discouraging. The people whom they had seen were of most gigantic stature: the cities in which they dwelt, were walled up to heaven: and it is probable that there was a dreadful pestilence at that time ravaging “the land, and swallowing up the inhabitants thereof.” But Caleb had the promise of Jehovah to rest upon; and therefore he knew that he could not fail of success; yea, he was assured that, however numerous or mighty his enemies were, they should be “bread for the Lord’s people,” and be as easily crushed and devoured by them as a piece of bread.
In this also the faithful follower of Christ will resemble Caleb: he knows that Omnipotence is engaged in his behalf; and he rests securely on the word of God. If his corruptions were yet stronger than they are, and the world, with the confederate hosts of hell, were tenfold more powerful, he would not fear; “he knows in whom he has believed,” and is persuaded that “He who has promised is able also to perform.”]
The character of those who follow the Lord fully, being thus delineated, we shall proceed to notice,

II.

The blessedness of those who do so—

Here also the history of Caleb will serve as our guide. The text informs us, that he received,

1.

The approbation of his God—

[God confessed him before all Israel as “his servant.” What an honour was this, to be thus distinguished by Jehovah himself! And shall not every faithful servant of Jehovah be thus distinguished? Shall he not have an inward witness of the Spirit testifying of his adoption into God’s family, and enabling him with confidence to cry, Abba, Father? Will not God “shed abroad his love in the hearts” of his people, and “seal them with the Holy Spirit of promise, as the earnest of their eternal inheritance?” And though no authentic declaration shall be made to others respecting his state, yet shall his very enemies be constrained to reverence him in their hearts, even though, like Herod, they should persecute him unto death.]

2.

The completion of all his wishes—

[Doubtless Caleb earnestly desired an inheritance in the land of Canaan: and the very mountain on which his feet had trodden was assigned to him as his portion by God’s express appointment. But he surely looked beyond an earthly inheritance: nor can we doubt but that he is distinguished in the Canaan above as much as he was in the earthly Canaan.
And what does the faithful Christian desire? What is the great object of his ambition, but to inherit that good land which the Lord his God has promised him? And shall he come short of it? Will not God preserve him unto his heavenly kingdom? Yes: neither men nor devils shall deprive him of his inheritance: that very land, which by faith he has so often viewed and trodden, shall be given to him; and “all the seed of Caleb” and of Abraham shall have it for their everlasting portion. Behold, Christian, where Caleb now is, thou shalt shortly be: whatever difficulties may obstruct thy way, or whatever length of time may intervene, the period shall arrive, when He whom thou servest shall say unto thee, “Come, thou blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for thee from the foundation of the world.”]

Address,
1.

Those who have never set themselves to follow the Lord at all—

[Think not that the Christian name will avail thee, while thou art destitute of the Christian spirit. Nor imagine that thou wilt be screened from divine vengeance by the number of those who are in thy condition: for there were but two out of all who had grown to man’s estate, that were suffered to enter into the promised land: all the rest were excluded from it, that they might be an example unto us, and might shew us what we are to expect, if we give not up ourselves to the service of Christ. Let me then entreat you all to become followers of Christ, “not in word only, but in deed and in truth.” Look to him, that you may experience the full benefits of his redemption. Trust in his blood to cleanse you from your sins: rely on his Spirit to guide you in his ways: and depend on his grace to subdue all your enemies before you. But if you still persist in your rebellion against him, know for a certainty that you shall never see that good land which you profess to expect as your eternal inheritance.]

2.

Those who follow the Lord partially—

[A profession of religion may in a variety of ways conduce to the good of society, but it will never save the soul. We must follow the Lord fully, if we would find favour with him in the eternal world. It is no small matter to be Christians indeed. What Caleb was under the Law, we must be under the Gospel. The reason of Caleb’s acceptance is marked repeatedly, in the strongest terms [Note: Jos 14:8-9; Jos 14:14.]. The reason too of the rejection of the others is marked in similar language, and with equal plainness [Note: Num 32:10-11.]. And the example of those who perished is set before us by St. Jude, on purpose that the professors of godliness may be admonished by it [Note: Jude, ver. 5.]. O let the admonition sink deep into our hearts! and let us all be stirred up to diligence, that we may be found “Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile!”]

3.

Those who, like Caleb, are following the Lord fully—

[Fear not singularity in so good a cause. If you are singular in following the Lord fully, the fault is not yours, but theirs who presume to violate the divine commands. Go on then, though the whole universe should be against you. If God acknowledge you as his servants, you need not regard the censures or the threats of men. You are embarked in a good cause: you serve a good Master: you run for a good prize. The land of promise is before you. Press forward for the attainment of it: “Be faithful unto death, and God will give you a crown of life.”]


Verses of Numbers 14

24

Consult other comments:

Numbers 14:24 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Numbers 14:24 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 14:24 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Numbers 14:24 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Numbers 14:24 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Numbers 14:24 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Numbers 14:24 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Numbers 14:24 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 14:24 - Geneva Bible Notes

Numbers 14:24 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Numbers 14:24 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 14:24 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 14:24 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Numbers 14:24 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Numbers 14:24 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Numbers 14:24 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Numbers 14:24 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Numbers 14:24 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Numbers 14:24 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)