I wholly followed the LORD my God

Joshua 14:7-9
7 “I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart.
8 “Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the LORD my God.
9 “So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.'”

One cold and slushy day as I was driving with my family in our minivan, we pulled up to a stop light and saw a woman standing on the corner with a cardboard sign asking for help. My wife Pam and I quickly discussed what we might do for her. Then my wife’s son Elijah piped up and said, “Glenn, you’re a man of God. What would a man of God do?” That was all it took for me to pull around the corner and into the parking lot behind the woman, and we spent the next half-hour listening to her story and taking her to get food and paying for a motel room. It wasn’t much, but it was what a “man of God” would do.

Up to that day, I had never really thought of myself as a man of God. A child of God, perhaps, but not a man of God – certainly not like others who had been called “man of God,” such as Moses or Elijah (the prophet, not my step-son). I’m no great patriarch nor prophet, and although I am answering God’s calling to teach, I came to Christ late in my life. Until recently, I haven’t exactly lived a life so dedicated to God. And yet this seven-year-old boy who had known me only a year or so was calling me a “man of God,” and it convicted me so quickly and so profoundly that I cannot forget that moment. Not only that, but the way Elijah asked the question really put me on the spot: “What would a man of God do?” Ever since that day, that is the question I always ask myself.

Caleb didn’t consider himself a man of God, either. He wasn’t part of the Levite priesthood, and he wasn’t an eloquent speaker. At the time the Israelites first came to the Promised Land, Caleb was just forty years old and he was not the leader of his tribe, the descendants of Judah. But when he and the other spies came back from spying out the land of Canaan, only he and Joshua were honest and confident in saying the land could be taken. The people grumbled and complained that it would be too hard, but Joshua and Caleb stood their ground.

Numbers 14:6-9
6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;
7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.
8 “If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’
9 “Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”

Caleb and Joshua held fast to their faith in the Lord their God and refused to speak or to do anything other than what the Lord laid upon their hearts. Do you remember the result? Of all the six-hundred-thousand men of Israel at the time, ONLY Joshua and Caleb lived to enter the Promised Land. Forty-five years after that spying mission, as the lands are being divided among the tribes, Caleb speaks today’s verses and says, “I wholly followed the LORD my God.” (Joshua 14:8)

THAT is a “man of God”: someone who wholly follows the Lord. When my step-son Elijah put me on the spot that day, he was asking in all innocence if my walk was the same as my talk. It really is that simple. Does our Christian talk about love and faith and giving and prayer and providing for “the least of these” really line up with what we DO in our lives? That is what I call Integrity – a wholeness of character and faith that displays itself consistently in a person’s life.

Do we wholly follow the Lord our God? Are we ready to speak His Word and do His will without question? How does that sort of integrity display itself in our lives? Do we ask ourselves “What would a man of God do?”

John 13:34
34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

You and I may not be men or women of God in the same sense as Moses or the prophet Elijah, but we can act with the same integrity and whole-hearted faith as Caleb and Joshua. We can be mature children of God by seeking God’s will in all things. Looking back on that day in the minivan, I still am amazed at the innocence and sincerity that prompted my “little prophet” Elijah to call me a “man of God” and convict my heart. His simple question bears a remarkable resemblance to the ever-popular query, “What would Jesus do?”, but the way he asked it brought it back to what I myself would do in my own life and in my own integrity. Go ahead, ask yourself: What would a man or woman of God do?

Gracious God, Holy Father, search my heart today and root out whatever is not there to serve you. Help me to be wholly yours, to seek and to serve only You in my life. Let my walk be the same as my talk as I seek Your will every day. Show me always what a man of God would do. Amen.


About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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