THE SONG OF CALEB

 




If you think faith is for the starry-eyed,                                1

For dreamers whose poor thoughts are nebulous—

When all the men who came from Egypt died,

Six hundred thousand, and just two of us

(The only two who did not raise a fuss

When God said, Take My good and promised land)

Were living—Well, what was there to discuss?—

The more so since the strength of my right hand

Had not diminished since the Lord gave His command.


The men who perished in the wilderness

Discovered faith has value. Better late

Than never, surely—but their great distress,

As they at last accepted their estate

And understood the causes of their fate,

Was not an easy thing for us to see.

Joshua and I had to learn to wait;

Through forty years of watching patiently,

We came to comprehend and honor God’s decree.


When Joshua gave me my inheritance,

The proud inhabitants were more than tall;

But though my enemies were so immense,

I’m not a man that’s easy to appall.

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall”

Was what I thought, for in the days of yore

(And these are so important to recall)

The Lord had saved us at the Red Sea shore.

I’d seen Him work, and I was eager to see more.


You have to bear in mind what God has done,

If you want faith effectual and strong.

You must recall the course that you have run

(The better if it has been hard and long,

Not lacking places where you have gone wrong)—

But if you’ve never dared to take a chance,

Then what will be the substance of your song?

Through our mistakes and danger we advance,

For faith and risk are both essential to romance.


Now I admit it can be hard to tell                                        5

A fool for God from just a simple fool;

Those who in such discernment would excel

Will patiently apply the Bridegroom’s rule:

Their fruits reveal them. By this method you’ll

Not get your answer in a single day;

But patient study in the Master’s school

Prevents a man from going far astray,

Discerning those who talk from those who will obey.


If we would walk by faith and not by sight,

We must remember how all toddlers learn:

Their falling puts their parents in a fright,

And mothers’ understandable concern

Is heightened greatly when their children spurn

The helping hand that would prevent a fall.

But children of the Lord who truly yearn

To answer when they hear their Father call,

Will hardly serve Him well, if they can only crawl.


So all disciples have to take their lumps

Before they run to do their Father’s will,

And I knew much of bruises and of bumps

Before I told the people they must still

Their fears, and trust their Father to fulfill

The blessings He had promised in His Word.

But they had not experienced the thrill

Of walking in faith, which they thought absurd:

From fighting giants they were easily deterred.


He’s Lord of us, and of the giants too;

The fate of every creature’s in His hand.

Your strength is His relationship with you,

And yours with Him. No matter how grand

The giants’ fortress is, it’s built on sand,

And in its time it will come tumbling down.

Giants exist so we may understand:

God’s smile is greater than a giant’s frown,

And he who fears the Lord will wear the giant’s crown.


The key to fighting giants is their guilt.

It matters little that they have much gold,

Or that they feel secure in what they’ve built,

Or in the conquered peoples they’ve controlled.

When we are unafraid of them and bold

As lions are, the giants will learn fear,

(Or like Goliath, they’ll be dead and cold).

Their guilt will sap their courage and their cheer;

Our faith is like a foil that makes their guilt more clear.


Our weapons are not carnal; they are full                        10

Of the grace and the Spirit of the Lord.

By repentance and by innocence we pull

Down the philosophies of the high horde

Who make the pagan intellect their sword.

Yet all their exploits in the end are vain:

We conquer those by whom we are ignored.

Because our tactics are to them arcane,

They cannot see how we could vanquish them and reign.


I hope you have a mountaintop in mind,

That God gave you because you follow Him.

May it have giants, whom He has assigned

To you to kill, because they look so grim,

And in the world your chances seem so slim,

That everyone will know it was not skill

That gave you courage when their hope was dim,

But trusting God His promise would fulfill.

The dowry that He wants is just that giants’ hill.












Notes:


The Song of Caleb: Numbers, Chapters 13 and 14; 23:63-65;  Joshua 14:6-14; 15:13-14.


Caleb, stanza 2, forty years, Numbers 14:30-34.


Caleb, stanza 3, inheritance . . . more than tall, Joshua 14:12-14; 15:13-14.

The Anakim whom Caleb defeated were giants, Numbers 13:22, 13:32-33.


Caleb, stanza 5, Bridegroom’s rule: Their fruits reveal them, Matthew 7:20.


Caleb, stanza 10, weapons . . . carnal . . . philosophies, II Corinthians 10:4-5.







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