MEETING AIM: To be inspired by Caleb’s life and to examine our life in the light of Caleb’s life and challenges.
BIBLE PASSAGES: Numbers 13:27-33; 14:5-8, 24, 38; Deuteronomy 1:35-36; Joshua 14:7-14; Judges 3:9-10
BACKGROUND: Caleb went out on a limb for God. When ten out of the twelve spies sent into the Promised Land focused on danger and fear when they returned to the Israelite camp, Caleb and Joshua knew that the Lord could be victorious over all the dangers they would face. That fear of the unknown or of perceived dangers is still with us today. Caleb has a lot to teach us all about living for God and trusting him in difficult situations.
Welcome the young people and share out any refreshments you have brought. Chat together about what has happened this week. Rejoice in the young people’s triumphs and sympathise with their difficulties. Use this time to build relationships and settle into the session.
You will need: flip-chart paper; marker pens
Sketch out on a sheet of flip-chart paper the things that the young people (and you) find hard about the Christian life.
Ask what things we feel God would want us to do that we find particularly challenging: talking to our friends about God, not going with the crowd, inviting friends to youth group and so on. Feel free to instigate and put challenges on the table. Ask your young people why we find these things so hard.
You will need: Bibles; flip-chart paper and marker pens
As a group, read Numbers 13:27-33, Numbers 14:5-8 and Numbers 14:24-38.
Explain that the Israelites have left Egypt after some powerful miracles, they have crossed the wilderness and are approaching the land of Canaan that God has promised them. Caleb and Joshua have gone out with others to spy the land and are bringing back a report for Moses and the people.
On a sheet of flip-chart paper, write down all the words that the group might use to describe Caleb. What does this tell you about his character?
Read Deuteronomy 1:35-36 and Joshua 14:7-14 together. Explain that Caleb had to wait nearly 40 years while God dealt with those around him who did not believe, but God never wavered on his promise to Caleb. As a much older man, Caleb was given the whole land of Hebron.
Finally, read Judges 3:9-10. Explain that years later, after Joshua and Caleb had died, the people of Israel were in need again, being oppressed by the King of Aram. They had no leader and God raised up Caleb’s son, Othniel.
Othniel had learned from his father and was willing and ready to serve God.
He stepped up and helped to deliver the Israelites from oppression. We are told that the land then had peace for 40 years. Caleb had to wait 40 years to inherit the promised land that God had prepared for them. But later on, God granted Caleb’s family 40 years of peace in that land under his son.
Look back at your word picture of Caleb. What more could the young people add to this sheet of paper?
Continue your exploration of the passage by discussing these questions:
- What is Caleb’s response to the rebellion of the people? Would you have responded in the same way?
- If the other spies had known what was going to happen, do you think they would have agreed with Caleb in the first place? Why? Why not?
- What does the story of Caleb tell you about God?
- What does it look like to follow God wholeheartedly? How does this work out in your life (if it does)?
- What would courageous Christianity look like for you?
You will need: flip-chart paper and marker pens
Encourage a leader (or young person if they are comfortable) to share a story from their own life where God answered a prayer, even when they had to wait a while, or things did not go as they expected. Also share a time where obedience was costly but worth it.
Using the flip-chart paper, ask your young people for suggestions and draw up a list of things that God does and doesn’t promise us. This is a means of separating the myths and lies from the truth. Say: what we see in Caleb is that God does not promise us an easy life, a quick fix, a battle / trial-free existence or popularity with our peers. But he does promise us his presence, strength and faithfulness to his word. He gives us his gifts and we have the assurance that we will never be alone.
You will need: worship music (such as ‘Pocketful of Faith’ by Tim Hughes) and the means to play it.
Begin to gather prayer requests – see if everyone can think of one thing they will need God’s help with in following him wholeheartedly.
Bring your doubts, your fears and anxieties to God. Perhaps you, like Caleb, face giants in your land, oppression for your faith or discouragement from those around you. Pray for the same heart that God gave Caleb. Play the worship music you have brought and reflect together in prayer. Pray for boldness, courage and a heart of obedience.
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