A devotional look at eleven Biblical dads and what we can learn from them.
The next father I want us to look at is Caleb. You may recall it was Joshua, Caleb and ten others who Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land. Ten reported that the Promised Land was a land full of giants and that the Hebrews could never conquer the land. Caleb believed God’s word and told Moses, “yes, the land is full of giants, but our God is bigger and we can defeat them.” (Numbers 13:30 paraphrase.)
So, Caleb and Joshua were the only two to be given God’s blessing to cross the Jordan River and enter the Land of their Inheritance.
Fast forward now some years and look in the book of Judges, Chapter 1. Caleb has seen the giants in Caanan up close. They are “Nephilim” — half breeds — children of fallen angels and women. They are giants. And the land that Joshua gave Caleb had four known Nephilim cities. Caleb and Joshua had fought hard and long and defeated three of the four, but in his old age he needed help to defeat the last of these villages, Kiriath Sepher.
So, Caleb offered a challenge: To the man who would defeat this enemy village, he would give his daughter in marriage. You might think that offering his daughter’s hand would be something of a prize or property. However, Caleb was smart. You see, he was killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. He would rid the region of the cities of giants, and gain a God-fearing warrior husband for his daughter at the same time. He loved his daughter and only wanted a good husband for her.
It’s believed that many answered the challenge, but only one succeeded. His nephew Othniel. And so, through this unique dowry, Caleb provided for his daughter.
And look what happened next, the daughter, Achsah, approached her father Caleb and asked for a blessing. You see, Caleb had given the couple some land with which to begin their family, but the land was dry land. And Achsah knew where there were lands flowing with springs. Understand that this is Caleb’s only known daughter. Think of who her father was… one of two strong leaders of the Children of God to actually believe God. Don’t you think that Caleb’s trust in God had built some confidence in this young woman?
Judges 1:14-15 (NIV):
One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”
She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.
First of all I think it’s interesting that she and her husband had decided to ask her father for a field, then when approached by her dad, she asked for springs. Caleb, being the father who gives good gifts, gave her BOTH the upper and the lower springs. Complete provision. A double portion. More than enough provision!
I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in Luke 11:9-13 (Good News Translation):
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Caleb knew how to give good gifts to his children.
Oh, and the post-script of this story? Because Caleb had given his daughter Achsah and her husband Othniel lands with springs, they were successful and blessed. They had water for their crops and for their cattle and for those passing through the lands. And Othniel was rewarded for his courage and strength and his trust in God to defeat the enemy. He was given the woman, the lands, the springs AND he became the first Judge of Israel.
Judges 3:7-11 (NIV):
The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs… But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. … So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.
Can you see how Caleb helped his daughter thrive in a messed up world? Don’t we as parents have the responsibility to set the table for our children’s success? Caleb did just that.