O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance. (Psalm 16:5-6)
I often think of how Moses must have felt on first seeing the Promised Land after shepherding a few million whining and complaining Jews around the wildnerness for forty years. This was, after all, their covenanted inheritance, the fulfilment of the promise given to Abraham, the end of their wandering and the beginning of a great and glorious future. Sadly, it was denied him due to his not controlling his anger and acting in disobedience. Our human response is often to decide how unfair this is – after all, he did endure enough to try the patience of anyone. What we sometimes forget is that only two of the original generation to leave Egypt actually entered Canaan. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who saw the full truth and potential of what God promised and believed.
Joshua was a remarkable young man raised up by Moses on God’s instructions to be his successor. He was an astute military general and wholly committed to God – ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ Caleb was an older man, a brave, confident, bold military man who ‘followed wholly after God.’ While he had none of Joshua’s youth and brilliant strategy, he had wisdom, battle sense, and absolute determination so valuable in an officer. Joshua and Caleb were an astonishingly perfect balance of leadership for a people embarking on what was essentially a military invasion.
We must understand the signifance of the inheritance and what is required before we can say ‘give me my inheritance.’
Perhaps some of the most powerful words, at least to me, are Caleb’s words to Joshua in Joshua 14:6-15. His words are essentially: ‘Give me my inheritance.’ To understand this, we must look back to Numbers 13 in which Moses, as God’s mouthpiece, promises Caleb the ‘hill country’ of Hebron as his tribal portion as a response to his total faith and commitment to the purposes and plans of God. Where others saw giants, Caleb saw the power of God to accomplish anything that He had promised. This is the surrender and obedience that brought Caleb, after many years of campaigning and seeing the victories of God unfold, to the place where he could confidently claim what he had been promised.
I love the parallel we can immediately discern between this old, grisled war veteran and the young man – the writer of today’s psalm – as they both confronted the giants. They saw God, not Goliath, and stood firm in the absolute certainty of the power of God’s covenant promises. As a result, both men were granted a special inheritance. David received the ‘house’ – family lineage from which the Messiah would come – and Caleb received Hebron. But what was so significant about Hebron that made it special?
Studying Hebron is a fascinating journey, but we can summarise some of the highlights. First and foremost, it was a place of limitless potential due to an abundance of water through wells and springs. This fact alone made it a territory to be sought after. Hebron overlooks the plain of Mamre which was known as the ‘place of seeing’ or ‘place of vision,’ and this was where Abraham was led to settle temporarily. The first thing he did was build an altar, an act of worship from a man needing critical guidance. What an appropriate place and an appropriate response.
It was in Hebron that Abraham formed the much-needed alliance that enabled him to rescue Lot and from Hebron that he marched out to victory. The meaning of Hebron is ‘place of alliance or association.’ Significantly, we should always keep in mind that Abraham’s alliance was always first and foremost with God. He was fully surrendered and obedient to the will and purposes of God, much like Caleb.
Hebron is also the location of the tomb of the Patriarchs, a cave purchased by Abraham to bury his wife and later himself. It’s beautifully significant that the couple who manifested the promise of God (the covenant alliance) is buried at both the place of alliance and overlooking the place of vision. Our God certainly provides a wealth of layers upon layers of revelation if we care to look.
This is the inheritance that was entrusted to Caleb. A place of vision, a place of abundance, and a place of divine covenant or alliance with God. It was a truly remarkable inheritance for a remarkable man, one who lived, breathed, worshiped, and fought in the full and certain knowledge that God would never renege on His promises. Caleb’s most remarkable trait was humility, and in response, God entrusted him with a treasured inheritance. Through absolute faith, the boundaries surely fell in pleasant places.The cup in today’s verse signifies the cup of covenant, a cup which becomes, for every believer, the fulfilment of our covenant in Christ.
But the story doesn’t end there. Hebron featured significantly in David’s life as well. It was there that he received his anointing – the place of vision. Hebron provided protection and refuge during the long season in which David was forced to flee and hide from Saul. It was to Hebron that the tribes came to appoint him king – the place of alliance. And Hebron was the place from which David ruled for almost eight years before relocating to Jerusalem.
Today’s verse is all about receiving our inheritance. It’s about having the boldness to take hold of the vision in absolute faith. It’s about having the courage to drink the cup of covenant despite the difficulties and seeming impossibilities. It’s about trusting God to keep His promises so completely that we see Him rather than the giants that come against us.
In our psalm for today, David provides us with a crucial key to understanding the inheritance of God and being able, like Caleb, to say, ‘give me my inheritance.’ Our real inheritance has nothing at all to do with what we see, touch, hear, smell, or feel. It’s God Himself. Our lines have fallen in pleasant places. God Himself is our boundary, our place of refuge, our place of vision, our place of alliance, and our place of reigning. Hebron represents the place of the giving and fulfillment of God’s promises, and that place is Christ.
Receiving the promise of the inheritance is one thing, but we must remember that both Caleb and Saul had an extended period of hardship, difficulty, resistance, and battle in order to receive its fulfillment. It didn’t come easy, and through it all, their faith and unshakeable trust in the Word of God was put to the test, over and over again. Their focus was not on what they would receive, but who they would receive it from. Caleb had to take Hebron, and David had to hide there. These are significant truths that concern our inheritance in Christ.
We have the right to ask for the covenant inheritance only if we are living in the covenant. A covenant is never one-sided. God has His part and we have ours. It is our willing alliance with God in surrender, worship, and humility, that releases the vision He has given, a vision which is first of Himself as all we ever really require. When we live in that place, when we say like Caleb, ‘give me my inheritance,’ we are essentially saying, ‘give me Yourself.’ It is, after all, from our Hebron, who is Christ, that the springs of water flow for abundance.
Gracious Father, Your revelations are awesome, and Your wisdom complete. Thank You for showing the truth of Your inheritance, and for the grace that gave Your own Son to be our covenant promise and our inheritance. Lead us to a place where, like Caleb and David, we might see You rather than the giants, and grant us the courage and boldness to live according to Your Word and Your purposes in our lives.