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Give Me This Mountain

Joshua 14:9-12 (KJV)
10 And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. 12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.

Before I begin to talk about Caleb, let me leave him in his mountain and get down in the valley with the real people.  It seems to me that the sermons I preach that are received with the greatest appreciation and commendation are sermons about sad stories, losses, failures and defeats.

Life is tough and then you die.  Where am I going and why am I in this handbasket?  Things are bad and getting worse.  Woe is me! 

We seem to identify more with…

  • Cain and his murder.
  • Abraham and his lying.
  • Jacob and his deceitfulness.
  • Samson and his unfaithfulness.
  • Saul and his pride.
  • David and his adultery.
  • Ahab and his thievery.
  • Peter and his denial.
  • Judas and his betrayal.
  • Mary Magdalene and her harlotry…than anyone else.

They say misery loves company; sit down here and commiserate with us.  Pastor, I’m glad you understand just how hard it is to make it these days.  I like realistic preaching, you know, none of this pie-in-the-ski stuff!  I’m so encouraged to know how discouraging things really are!


Well, there is no doubt that there is plenty to see if we look on the bleak side of life. We can enumerate the job losses, the sickness epidemics, the political unrest, the international turmoil, drug problems, the cheating, swindling, backstabbing, murmuring, complaining, ad infinitum, ad nauseum if we want to…but my question is WHY?

I can’t make the night any darker, I can’t paint sin any blacker, I can’t make the devil any meaner, no matter how long and hard I preach about these things.

It was quoted here recently, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  Do you know what that means?  It means that today is bad enough.  Don’t make it any worse by borrowing tomorrow’s troubles.

If there are any mud-wallowers out there today, I have some advice for you.  If you have buried yourself in your troubles and traumas, if you have majored in self-defeating, self-loathing miseries, you are not doing yourself any favors by staying in that frame of mind.  When you ingest, digest and regurgitate trouble, you will dig yourself a hole so deep you will never get out. 

“Easy for you to say”, you say.  Right, it was easy for me to say…and it can be just as easy for you to say.

It is time for us to understand that the Bible…my Bible and your Bible…is not a doom and gloom book.  It is a book of faith.

Romans 8:26-28 (KJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalms 27:1-6 (KJV)
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.  3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.  4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.  5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.  6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

It is time that we started identifying with the heroes of the Bible, instead of the losers.  It is time for someone to crawl out from under their circumstances and declare victory and freedom.


It is time to identify with someone like Caleb.

Time passed by - about 40 years.  Moses had been dead for over five years. He had led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and through the wilderness for forty years.  After Moses’ death it was his successor, Joshua, who led the people into their Promised Land by crossing the Jordan River, when God divided the waters, and conquering the city of Jericho. The fighting went on for five years.  Then the men of the tribe of Judah approached Joshua, Caleb of the tribe of Judah

Joshua 14:6b-12 (NIV) “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, `The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God wholeheartedly.’  “Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert.  So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this [mountain] that the LORD promised me that day.  You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

Caleb knew what he wanted: ‘Give me this mountain.’  Caleb was seeking to claim what belonged to him by virtue of God’s promise. He asserted his right to this particular inheritance in Canaan for himself and his family. He was not asking for a favor.

He didn’t ask for an easy job. It was a very hilly area infested by giants. Israel’s enemies were strongest here - the most difficult part of the whole Promised Land to subdue and Caleb at 85 said ‘give me that.’ Caleb feared no foe and desired no rest. 

At age 85, this man had a right to sit down and take it easy - take off his army boots and put on his slippers. He’d survived 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, and then the five year campaign taking Canaan. Of the thousands who left Egypt as slaves, he and Joshua were the only ones the Lord allowed to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  God helped Caleb take over his inheritance, but Caleb had to exert himself in order to do it.

Yes, there are times we should “let go and let God.”   Do you know when that is?  It is when we have done all we are capable of doing, using the strength and good sense God has given us as we confront life’s challenges.

I will say this; God isn’t into blessing laziness, cowardice, fear and capitulation to the enemy.  God won’t bless an evasive, pass-the-buck, non-committal kind of spirit.  If your feet get cold at the first sign of opposition, don’t think you are exercising some kind of superior faith. 

Life is a struggle, a warfare When you are faced with the mountain of adversity, the Apostle Paul tells us what to do:

Ephesians 6:10-18 (KJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;


He told Joshua, “The Lord helping me, I will drive them out …” (Joshua 14:12) That’s the key: “The Lord helping me.”

God doesn’t call us to claim our mountains alone. If God plans for you to face a mountain, remember He plans to help you conquer it! The question is whether or not you’re planning to let Him help you.

Jesus and the Mountain

I began thinking about Caleb’s mountain.  Then I remembered what Jesus said about the mountain in Matthew.

Matthew 21:21-22 (KJV)
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Many people don’t realize that this saying of Jesus was not meant to refer to a literal mountain.  There’s no point in picking up an actual mountain and throwing it into the ocean.  It was a Jewish idiom, or figure of speech.  They used it frequently to mean overcoming a difficulty.  It’s a great word picture.  Too many of us let the mountain do the talking.  “Who do you think you are to come up against me?  You don’t have a chance.  I will swallow you up.  You will fall to your death, you will starve on my rocks, and you will be ravaged by the wild beasts that live in me!”

When Caleb said, Give me this mountain, he was saying, Give me the adversity.  The mountain may be bigger than me, but it is not bigger than my God! 

Don’t say “Be thou removed” unless you are willing to be the instrument and tool in the hand of God to do the removal!  Some people are so worried about the process that they forget all about the outcome.  Don’t let the mountain talk to you; you have to talk to your mountain.

Yes, I would fast, but is it going to hurt me?  Yes, I would pray, but I get so tired and my knees really hurt!  Yes, I would say no to my flesh, but my flesh gets so upset when I do that.  “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10.

May God give us a generation of people who will stand up to adversity, not wither in the face of it.  May God give us the fortitude to go on the offense against our challenges instead of playing defense and catch up all the time. 

Too often we approach a mountain of a challenge as if we were atheists. We don’t really figure God into the equation.  But, time and time again the Scriptures say that Caleb “wholeheartedly” served the Lord.

You cannot be halfheartedly committed to doing God’s will when facing a whole mountain of a challenge!  There are no half-hearted mountains! 

Caleb’s eulogy (Joshua 14:14): he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly (NIV) he ‘faithfully obeyed the Lord’ (GNB); he ‘wholly followed the Lord’ (RSV); or as the Jerusalem Bible translates it he ‘scrupulously obeyed the Lord’. I wonder if they’ll say that about me, about you?  Obedience means that when our Lord, our Master, our King asks us to do something there are no questions.  What mattered most was not his bravery but his daily walk with God.

Another Caleb?

Dr. Paul Brand, a doctor and author, was raised in India. His parents were missionaries there. In his book, “In His Image,” he writes about his mother. When she was 75 years old, she was still walking miles every day, visiting the villages in the southern part of India, teaching the people about Jesus.

One day, at age 75, she was travelling alone and fell and broke her hip. After two days of just lying there in pain, some workers found her and put her on a makeshift cot and loaded her into their jeep and drove 150 miles over deep rutted roads to find a doctor who could set the broken bones.But the very bumpy ride damaged her bones so badly that her hip never completely healed.


He said, “I visited my mother in her mud-covered hut several weeks after all of this happened. I watched as she took two bamboo crutches that she had made herself, and moved from one place to another with her feet just dragging behind because she had lost all feeling in them.”

He said, “At age 75, with a broken hip, unable to stand on her own two legs, I thought that I made a pretty intelligent suggestion. I suggested that she retire.” He said, “She turned around and looked at me and said, `What value is that? If we try to preserve this body just a few more years and it is not being used for God, of what value is that?’”

So she kept on working. She kept on riding her donkey to villages until she was 93 years old. At age 93 she couldn’t stay on her donkey anymore. She kept falling off. But she didn’t stop preaching. Indian men would carry her in hammocks from one village to another. And she continued to tell people about Jesus Christ until she died at age 95.

Paul Brand writes, “My most vivid memory of my mother is of her propped up against a stone wall as people are coming to her from their homes, schools, and places of work. I can still see the wrinkles in her face, and her skin so tanned by the weather and the heat.  “I saw her speaking to those people. I looked at them and saw the sparkle in their eyes, and the smiles on their faces. And I saw them deeply moved by the message of God’s love, spoken by this old woman. I knew what they saw was not an old woman who had passed her prime, but a beautiful person bringing tidings of love straight from heaven.”

This church is on an upward climb.  The leadership has embarked on a spiritual fitness course.  These men are praying every day, they are reading the Word of God.  They are reaching out in love to others in their families and their associates.  They are confronting major issues in their lives.

One of these men came to me last week and said, “Why didn’t you tell us how much the devil was going to fight against us by doing this?”  I guess I just assumed that they would know that.  You never take a step upward without opposition and resistance.  The “Prince and Power of the Air”, Satan, does not take kindly to losing ground.  But James tells us:

James 4:7-10 (KJV)
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

El Shaddai

When doing some research on the bible use of the word mountain, I came across something powerful.  We are familiar with the Old Testament name of God, El Shaddai.  We believe it in the sense of God being omnipotent, the Almighty. 

El points to the power of God Himself. Shaddai seems to be derived from another word meaning nursing, which implies that Shaddai signifies one who nourishes, supplies, and satisfies. It is God as El who helps, but it is God as Shaddai who abundantly blesses with all manner of blessings.  God desires to bless man and provide in abundance all of mans needs. This name is indicative of a God who is powerful enough to do just that. Only an all powerful God can bless all mankind with all manner of blessings.

The God of the Mountains

But a secondary meaning of shaddai is shadah, or “mountain.”  It is equivalent to the Akkadian word, shadu, meaning “the mountain dweller”, or “God of the mountains.”

Do you understand what that means?  It means that you don’t serve the mountain, you serve the God of the Mountains! 

Zechariah 4:6-10 (KJV) 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

When you run from your mountain, it will overwhelm you. 

Caleb did not just want to climb the mountain; he wanted to possess the mountain!  You need to tell the devil today that you are not just going to beat him, you are going to own him! 

I have some great news from someone today.  If you will embrace your mountain, you will find God is there. 

Genesis 22:14 (KJV)
14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Exodus 24:12-18 (KJV)
12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.
15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Mount Calvary

Jesus had a mountain to possess.  Luke 12:49-50 (NIV) 49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!

Hebrews 12:1-3 (KJV) 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Are you facing a mountain today?

Is it talking to you?  Is it threatening you?  Daring you?

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!”

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