Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XII: Overcoming A Complacent Spirit To Continue Doing God's Work
(Joshua 13:1-8; 14:5, 6-15)
  1. Introduction
    1. When they reach age 65, most Americans retire, "going out to pasture" to play golf and spend their waning days in rest and solitude. But are Christians ever supposed to retire from serving the Lord?
    2. Joshua 13:1-8 and 14:5, 6-15 give us our answer with a dramatic charge to all believers.
  2. Overcoming a Complacent Spirit To Continue Doing God's Work, Joshua 13:1-8; 14:5, 6-15.
    1. God did not let Joshua spend the waning years of his life "out to pasture," but vibrantly serving Him.
      1. When the Lord spoke to Joshua in Joshua 13:1, he was around 100 years of age, cf. B.K.C., O.T., p. 355. Most Americans would have been retired already for 35 years so they could finish out their remaining years in peace, quiet and repose!
      2. However, it was because Joshua was close to death that the Lord encouraged him to get busy and finish his work, for he didn't have much time left to finish obeying the Lord, Joshua 13:1, 7!
        1. Joshua was quite old and there remained much land still to be possessed by the tribes of Israel, 13:1.
        2. Thus, God ordered Joshua to divide up the land into its allotted inheritances for the various tribes so as to motivate them to finish conquering their respective allotments, Joshua 13:7a!
      3. Accordingly, Joshua got with the task and divided up the land into the portions assigned, Jos. 14:5.
    2. God did not let Caleb spend the waning years of his life "out to pasture" either, but preserved his strength so that he could finish the task in his divine assignment, Joshua 14:6-15:
      1. Caleb with Joshua were two of the three leaders in Israel who risked their lives to side with Moses at Kadesh-Barnea, believing God that they could take Canaan in spite of its warring giants, Num. 14:3-10.
      2. Because of his faith in particular, Caleb was promised by God as his inheritance the very land upon which he had trekked as a spy, Num. 14:24.
      3. Accordingly, when Joshua apportioned the land out to the tribes, Caleb at age 85 years came to Joshua, requesting permission to inherit and invade the land around Hebron, Jos. 14:6-12.
      4. Interestingly, God had preserved Caleb's physical prowess so that at age 85 he still had the vigor of his early 40s to complete the task God wanted him to do in taking Hebron, Joshua 14:11! There was no retirement for this 85 year old man unt il he had taken his promised parcel!
      5. Joshua blessed Caleb and allotted to him the land upon which he had walked so long ago as a spy according to the promise of God, the land of Hebron in southern Canaan, Joshua 14:13!
      6. Caleb conquered Hebron so that it became his inheritance, Jos. 14:14-15.
      7. In fact, Caleb was concerned that the next generation get a vision of possessing all of the blessings God had for the nation: accordingly, he baited young men around him, promising his beautiful daughter's hand in marriage for taking a side parcel in his territory, Judges 1:12-13. This motivated the daughter whom Caleb was giving away in marriage to ask her suitor to ask Caleb for springs of water needed for livestock on these lands, 1:14. Caleb was so thrilled by this drive among his youth for a vision of taking more land that he gave them sets of springs in the upper and lower pastures, Judges 1:14!
Lesson: For Joshua and Caleb, there was no such thing as "going out to pasture" in retirement and letting the world roll on by. God had work for these men to do in their old age, and their lives' works were incomplete until they had accomplished t hese eleventh-hour tasks!

Application: (1) It is an incorrect assumption that advancement in years means that we must cease serving the Lord, or that we're too old to be effective for Him. There is no such thing as retirement in God's service although there may be a change of pace or job to match our current reserves. (2) All we need for the strength to do what God wants us to do in our waning years will be provided by God (Caleb, Jos. 14:11). Our only concern should be to DO the job, not worry about where w e'll get the resources to do it! (3) Like Caleb, we should have an abiding interest in our waning years to pass the torch of divine service along to succeeding generations.