The World Needs More Calebs

I love dogs, and there is one veteran I know who has the most incredible service dog! His name is Caleb, and when I see this vet with Caleb “running with a scooter” or Caleb chasing a ball, it fills me with so such joy. Here is a man who dedicated his life to our country and he lost a leg to it as well. And here is God, using Caleb as his “new leg” – his new lease on life, so to speak. My eyes well with tears and the creativity of our loving God!

So I looked up the meaning in Hebrew for the name Caleb and I was stunned: in the Hebrew language Caleb means ‘dog.’ I know, takes your breath away doesn’t it? Why a dog for a name? Because the character of a dog in Hebrew was “a symbol of devotion to God.” And Caleb was the proper name given. Let’s look at another Caleb from the Old Testament, Number 14:24, where is says:

“But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully,
I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.”

Caleb was whole-hearted, brave and bold, a constant and faithful companion to Joshua and Moses. Caleb was also devoted to God and God rewarded him for this devotion by having Joshua bring him into the Promised Land. In other words, I like to think that Caleb had a “different spirit” about him and we know that to be true as he was not afraid to go scouting to see the Promised Land when others were scared to do so.

A Different Spiritit’s what we need today. Our generation and the ones who follow us need a different spirit from this polluted culture. Like David, we need to cry out, “Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me.”  We need a different spirit and only God can give that to us! Think of the words of St. Francis of Assisi, who after living a wealthy and often “wild life-style” in his time, fell ill at the age of 20 and his thoughts began to focus on eternity and his relationship with God. He asked God to renew him, give him a different spirit that focused on God and how to life a godly life. His prayer continues to resonate through the centuries … see the opening picture and read his prayer, copy it and put it on your bathroom mirror-memorize it, we need to live by this God-inspired prayer!

Like Caleb in the Bible, and yes, like Caleb the dog, devoted to be a helper, a guide, and encourager, we can walk with the Holy Spirit, releasing God’s presence in every sphere of our lives. Imagine with a different spirit than the one our world is swirling in, we can rise above so much that brings us and others down. A new spirit filled with Christ will change us and it will change others.

So, the question is are we willing to do so? I know I need to do so. I can get on social media and before even thinking shout out something I should never say or post. Or listen to the news and start spouting about him or her or them or … you get it. Read these words that God declared to Ezekiel (11:19-20 NLT):

“And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them.
I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them
a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations.
Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.

Spell the word ‘God’ backwards—yep, it is ‘dog.’ I think there is a unique connection here with God, dogs, and the Calebs of the world. I want to be one of them, too. How about you? Speaking of our canine friends, here’s a link to read—get your tissues out!

I’ll end this devotion with one more incredible picture of a ‘Caleb’ – but his name is Jake! Jake was one of the 9/11 heroes. He began his life out on the streets, abandoned, but a lady firefighter found him and the rest is history. He took to training like a dog to a bone!

Jake was ready to work wherever needed and on 9//11 he was the “first call” to work the “pile”. Jake worked 17 straight days on the pile and found both live and deceased, plus human parts that could help identify the persons who died that day. He stayed at Ground Zero until it was certain that no survivors remained. His handler would tell you she couldn’t get him away, he was determined to find anything that would help families.

On the pile Jake was subject to toxic air, shards of glass and steel, etc., but he never gave up. Jake was called to work at both Katrina and Rita hurricanes. His exposure to toxic air and waste caught up with him and he died of cancer, yet he did live 12 years and in that time he cared for those he never even knew—in their life and in their death. ‘God’-‘dog’ there is a spiritual connection that only God understands!

So get out there and be a Caleb or a Jake…someone needs you and God has equipped you for all that you need-AMEN!