The Power of One Vision
The Power of One Vision
Dr. Reggie Ogea
For our time together, let’s consider “The Power of One Vision.” Our biblical text is Joshua 14. This section of Joshua narrates the story of Caleb. The historical context of Caleb rewinds back to Numbers 13. Along with Joshua, Caleb was one of the twelve scouts sent out by Moses to investigate the land of Canaan, the territory promised the Israelites after their escape from Egypt. When the committee of twelve submitted their findings, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who expressed a favorable report. Ten of the spies acknowledged that the land was indeed magnificent, but impossible to conquer because of the military might of the inhabitants, the fortified cities, and the giants who lived in the land. However Caleb, along with Joshua, stood that day against the majority, “We must go up and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it.” (Numbers 13:30) Caleb believed in God’s promise and God’s ability. But his faith in God’s promise and God’s ability did not prevail. The majority ruled the day and the Israelites retreated from Kadesh Barnea. Their fear and impossibility-thinking caused God to declare that all of the Israelite adults age 20 and older who had experienced God’s deliverance from Egypt would die without ever seeing the Promised Land – except for Joshua and Caleb. Numbers 14:24 confirmed God’s promise concerning Caleb: “But since My servant Caleb has a different spirit and has followed Me completely, I will bring him into the land where he has gone and his descendants will inherit it.” Joshua 14 is the fulfillment of that promise.
6) The descendants of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord promised Moses the man of God at Kadesh-barnea about you and me. 7) I was forty years old when Moses the Lord’s servant sent me from Kadesh-barnea to scout the land, and I brought back an honest report. 8) My brothers who went with me caused the people to lose heart, but I followed the Lord my God completely. 9) On that day Moses swore to me: ‘The land where you have set foot will be an inheritance for you and your descendants forever, because you have followed the Lord my God completely.’10) “As you see, the Lord has kept me alive these forty-five years as he promised, since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel was journeying in the wilderness. Here I am today, eighty-five years old. 11) I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then. 12) Now give me this hill country the Lord promised me on that day, because you heard then that the Anakim are there, as well as large fortified cities. Perhaps the Lord will be with me and I will drive them out as the Lord promised.” 13) Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as an inheritance. 14) Therefore, Hebron still belongs to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite as an inheritance today because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, completely.
Vision is the ability to see the future in advance. Every great achievement began when
somebody saw it in advance. We didn’t put a man on the moon until President John F. Kennedy
challenged us as a nation. That was in the early 1960's. At the time of his challenge, the space
technology had not even been invented. President Kennedy organized the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA). In 1969, less that ten years after President Kenney believed it before
he saw it — we put a man on the moon. But President Kennedy never lived to see it – he was
assassinated in 1963, but he saw the future in advance. When Disney World was completed, Walt
Disney had already died. Mrs. Walt Disney was invited to give the keynote address at the grand
opening of Disney World. The person who introduced her said, “It’s a shame your husband couldn’t
have lived to see this today.” Mrs. Walt Disney began her speech, “We are here today because
Walt did see this.” The power of one vision. Listen again to Caleb’s visionary response : “You
know what the LORD promised Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was
forty years old when Moses the Lord’s servant sent me from Kadesh Barnea to scout the land, and I
brought back an honest report… as you see, the Lord has kept me alive these 45 years as He has
promised. [14:6-7] Caleb’s Vision Was Still Alive After 45 Years! The vision he experienced at
Kadesh Barnea had not dimmed or diminished.
Helen Keller became violently ill as an infant, which left her blind and deaf. At age six, she was sent
to the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, where she was assigned a personal teacher and tutor
named Anne Sullivan. Miss Sullivan taught Helen Keller Braille and sign language. At age 24,
Helen Keller graduated magna cum laude from Radcliffe College, the first deaf/blind person in
America to graduate from college. Keller became a world famous speaker and author – an advocate
for people with serious disabilities. Helen Keller was once asked, “What could be worse than being
blind and deaf? She responded, “To have sight, but no vision!” Is your vision still alive? Have you
lost your vision? It is a personal and individual question. It is also a congregational question. With
your mind on those questions, consider the motivators for keeping vision alive.
VISION REQUIRES DEVOTION. Caleb had remained loyally devoted to God. “My brother
who went with me caused the people’s hearts to melt with fear, but I remained loyal to the LORD my
God.” (14:8) For 45 years, Caleb chafed under the stinging accusation from the majority of the
scout committee that Jehovah God was incapable of overcoming the giants and removing the
obstacles to possessing the Promised Land. Caleb wanted to prove once and for all – God is Able!
Caleb = loyalty to the Lord. Three times in his visionary testimony, Caleb affirmed, “I remained
loyal to the Lord.” The Hebrew word translated “loyal”, means “to make full or fill up.” The
Hebrew verb is intensive, meaning intentional, not accidental. And it is in the perfect tense, meaning
a completed action in the past. Caleb had settled the issue of being fully and wholeheartedly devoted
to God long ago, and for the last 45 years had been living out that devotion. Caleb maintained his
loyalty under pressure. Even when ten of the twelve scouts spoke against him, Caleb held firm his
convictions. Even when the Israelites were ready to stone both Caleb and Joshua, they remained
devoted in their faith. Caleb maintained his loyalty under difficulties. Caleb endured 38 years in the
wilderness for a sin he did not commit. He watched his family members and friends die in the desert,
yet he remained loyally devoted to God. Furthermore, he remained loyal even under the shadow of
another leader. Caleb was not God’s choice of a successor to Moses. He had just as much right to
succeed Moses as Joshua did. Instead of becoming bitter and frustrated, Caleb served faithfully in
the assignment God gave him.
Many if not most of us here today have lived long enough to experience pressure, difficulties, and
disappointments. The real test of life is can you, will you, remain loyally devoted to God while
under pressure, under difficulties, under disappointments. Success in life is measured by simply
NOT GIVING UP! Galatians 6:9 – “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the
proper time, if we don’t give up.” What have you given up on? What would it take for you to
quit? We need more Calebs -- “I, Caleb, remained loyal to the Lord my God!”
VISION REQUIRES DESIRE. In addition to his devotion, Caleb’s desire kept
his vision alive. “As you see, the LORD has kept me alive these 45 years as He promised….here I
am today, 85 years old. I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength
for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then.” (14:10) Caleb = High Spiritual
Vitality. Caleb maintained his spiritual vitality at the highest level of excellence – for 45 years,
so that now, at age 85, he’s still maintaining a high level of spiritual vitality. Age is mind over
matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
How Old Would You Be If You Didn’t Know How Old You Were? Psalm 90:10 – “our lives
last 70 years, and if we are strong, 80 years.” If we divide life into quarters, I’m early in my
fourth quarter. And I’m not about ready to slow down, retire, or quit. I’ve been sharing with the
Pastor Search Committee the external demographics of Lafayette, as well as internal demographics
of First Baptist Lafayette. The internal demographics conclude that 27.4% of the membership of
your church is currently in the fourth quarter – ages 60 and up, and 14%, or one-half of those of you
in the fourth quarter are identified as “wealthy households in exclusive neighborhoods, enjoying all
that life has to offer.” Here’s our challenge – what kind of church do we want to leave behind for
generations of our children and grandchildren? We not only need more Calebs with loyal devotion,
but we need more Calebs who have not surrendered to age. Caleb was not ready for retirement.
The worst attitude in the church is a retirement mentality – that at a certain age, we’ve earned the
right to sit back and let the younger people do it. Whatever happened to “the longer I serve Him the
sweeter He grows?”
VISION REQUIRES DETERMINATION. Caleb was motivated by a devotion,
a desire, and finally, a determination. “Now give me this hill country the LORD promise me on that
day….Perhaps the LORD will be with me and I will drive them out as the LORD
promised.” (14:12) “Give me this mountain!” (KJV) Caleb = a Survivor – he and Joshua were
the only two survivors of their generation – everyone of their peers died in the wilderness. Caleb
had seen it all -- slavery, Egypt, Red Sea, golden calf, manna, death of Moses, conquest of the land.
But even though he’s seen it all, Caleb is more determined than ever to claim the promise. He’s not
looking back at the difficulties or disappointments. He’s moving forward.
Herman was driving down the interstate, when his cell phone chirped. Answering, he heard his
wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Herman, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the
wrong way on Interstate 77. Please be careful.” Herman’s response: “Are you kidding?” “It’s not
just one car. It’s all of them!” What will keep your vision alive is a determination to Keep Moving
Forward, and be sure it’s In the Right Direction!
Caleb’s request was honored: “Then Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him Hebron as an
inheritance.” (14:13) Does that name sound familiar? Hebron, the stronghold of the
giants. Hebron, the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Hebron, the second most significant
place to the Jews next to the Temple in Jerusalem. Hebron was in full view of the spies 45 years
earlier. For 45 years, Caleb had dreamed, devoted, desired, and determined to climb that mountain.
What’s your next mountain?
What’s Your Vision for the Rest of Your Life? If You’ve Lost Your Vision, What Would It Take To
Get It Back? Does First Baptist Lafayette Need a New Vision?
Back to where we started. Numbers 14:24 -- “Celeb my servant has a different spirit and has
followed Me completely.” We need more Caleb’s today – with a different spirit from perhaps even
the majority, willing to follow completely a God-given, God-sized vision.