Numbers 13; 14; Joshua 14-15:19; Judges 1:12-15
The story of Caleb waiting patiently to enter the Promised Land is still relevant to those of us who live with the expectation of Jesus’ return.
Drawing paper, colored pencils, whiteboard, markers
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
A. When you were growing up, did your family open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, or at some other time? Why do you think your parents chose that time for this annual tradition?
B. How did you cope with the excitement and expectation while you waited for Christmas? Has that experience helped you be more patient today?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
A. Read Proverbs 13:12, then use the paper and colored pencils to illustrate this text using a real-life event (possibly personal, or just a typical life event). Spend three minutes creating your illustration, and then explain to the group how your picture reflects the meaning of the proverb.
B. Thought Questions
Caleb was relatively young (40 years old—Joshua 14:7-11) when he spied out the Promised Land. How was he able to silence the pessimists in Numbers 13:30?
1. Young people who have honorable characters can gain the respect of their elders.
2. He commanded respect because he was a vigorous person.
3. People take notice when you are passionate about something.
4. God intervened and made sure they heard Caleb’s testimony.
5. They didn’t listen to him any more than we listen to young adults today.
Read Numbers 14:24, 30, 33, and 34. What must Caleb have felt when he heard these words of the Lord?
1. “What a roller coaster ride!”
2. “God has given me enough faith to handle this.”
3. “A hope deferred makes the heart sick.”
4. “Forty years! This is taking my whole life!”
5. “I’ll just suffer in silence. What else can I do?”
Read Joshua 15:13-15. Why is it significant that Caleb drove out the sons of Anak?
1. These were the guys the Israelites had been so afraid of 45 years earlier (Numbers 13:28).
2. It validates Caleb’s faith at the beginning—an 85-year-old man drove them out!
3. This encouraged the rest of the nation to be faithful when they saw the Anakites routed.
4. It struck fear in the hearts of the remaining Canaanites.
5. Caleb was 85, so it’s obvious that God did this in response to Caleb’s faithfulness.
Read Judges 1:12-13; 3:7-11. In your opinion, what is the greatest influence Caleb had on Othniel’s life?
1. Caleb was courageous, and Othniel was courageous.
2. Caleb had “a different spirit” (Numbers 14:24), and “the Spirit of the Lord came upon” Othniel.
3. Caleb patiently waited to enter the Promised Land, and Othniel patiently dispatched Israel’s enemies.
4. Othniel had a lot to live up to and didn’t want to besmirch the family name.
5. It’s not any one thing; Caleb’s character rubbed off on Othniel over time.
Applying the Message of the Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. After several minutes, report back to the larger group with your findings.
Option 1: When we pray for patience, we often receive trials that develop our patience. Make a list of the patience-building events you’ve experienced in your life. Describe a few of these experiences—and their corresponding results—to the larger group.
Option 2: On the whiteboard, list the character traits you see in Caleb that those who await Jesus’ return will need. Be prepared to briefly explain how and why each trait is important.
Option 3: Most of us have heard that we should live as if Jesus were coming today, and plan as if Jesus were coming in 100 years. Think of ways to help the young people in your life understand and practice this concept. How would you present it? In what setting? Like Caleb with Othniel, how would you pass this idea on to the next generation?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
A. For the next three minutes, honestly consider your own personal level of patience. Can you live with “hope deferred,” or do you need instant gratification?
B. At the end of three minutes, those who choose to may share their thoughts. Conclude with prayer.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
1 Samuel 1; 2:1-11, 21; Job 2:12, 13; Matthew 6:19, 20; Luke 12:16-21