Creating a name for something or someone does so many things. God wanted Adam to “…have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28b) One of the ways he established this was to have Adam name them all. The act of naming someone is not only a way of establishing dominion, but also setting the tone for the meaning of their life. God renamed Abram in Genesis 17:5 “No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.” And Jesus renamed Simon son of John to Cephas (Peter, which means Rock).
When we become parents we get to repeat this process by giving this new life a name. My wife and I had this pleasure twice. However, when you adopt young children, you have the option to “rename” them (casting a new vision for their new life). My wife and I also had this privilege twice. Although I know that the name we chose for our adopted son was very much given to us by God, I have to admit, had I done more research on the name, I may have chosen something else.
You see, we gave the name of Caleb to our youngest. Although I had known of the name, I had never really thought about the significance of who Caleb really was in the bible, and what this may just mean for our son. Caleb is the perfect example of “fearless”.
Living fearless is NOT living without fear, though this is a common misconception. On the contrary, living fearless is simply living in a way that is to make fear… less. Make it less important in your decisions, give it less power over your thoughts so it has less of an impact on how you live. And this is exactly how Caleb lived. Let’s take a look.
It’s been two years since Moses lead the Jews from captivity in Egypt. He has spent the last two years leading this growing population across the wilderness to the “promised land”. Two years of major issues and they finally arrive. God has promised this land to them but it’s currently occupied. So Moses decides to send in 12 spies to check out the land and the people. Out of the 12, there are only two we remember… Joseph and Caleb. After spending 40 days in the land, they had gathered good intel. They had gained excellent insight as to what they were really dealing with. And there was a lot to be fearful of. The first 10 spies allowed that fear to be their full report. They were fearful. However Joshua and Caleb gave the same report with a different analysis in the end.
Although they saw all the same things to fear, they made those facts less important that the fact that God had said He would give them the land. Caleb even addresses the congregation and says “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” (Numbers 14:7-9).
Joshua and Caleb did not get different information. They did not witness different things and their report did not contain any different data. They simply reduced the weight of the things to fear and increased the weight of the facts they should not ignore. God has promised this land. God was so upset that they listened to the fearful ones instead of the fearless ones, that he sent them back into the wilderness for another 40 years, long enough for an entire generation of adults to pass away. Joshua and Caleb were the ONLY ones of that adult generation that God allowed into the promise land (40 years later). And Caleb’s example of fearlessness continued then even at 85 when he said “I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming.” (Joshua 14:11).
So how does all of this relate to my son? He is truly fearless. He’s fearless so much that it sometimes scares us, but he’s fearless none the less. And while there are moments I myself have fear for his fearlessness, he continues to remind me though his actions that I need to remain fearless too.
However, Caleb’s fearlessness doesn’t only appear in daredevil like actions. It also appears in the most awesome and appropriate way, sharing the gospel. Today we set out to meet the new neighbors who had just moved in. Our kids were playing together in the street and we were preparing for a neighborhood bikeride, when Caleb asks the 7 and 8 year old girls, point blank…. “Are you guys Christians?” And then when they said no, what does that mean, he said it means we believe in Jesus and the gospels. His fearless attitude and direct approach made me very proud that I had given him the name of Caleb the Fearless.