I’m a nerd for names in the Bible. I love digging into their meanings. I love trying to discern what the Spirit is saying, even through something so simple and seemingly insignificant.
Nowadays, we usually just pick something that sounds cool for our kids. Something with a nice ring to it, or something that sounds strong. Or we get creative and do a mash-up of our own monikers to make something unique for the kid. But rarely do we think about the meanings of names before we give them, let alone listen for what God is speaking over the lives of our little ones.
Back in the day, it was different. Names were chosen carefully, often with an eye to the circumstances of the birth or the anticipated calling of the child. Some names were even specifically assigned by God Himself while the baby was still in the womb!
There are some great ones in the scriptures. There’s “David,” which means “beloved.” There’s “Jeremiah,” which means “appointed by Jehovah.” There’s “Moses,” which means “drawn out,” and “Judah,” which means “praised.” There’s “Caleb,” which means “dog”…
That’s right, this guy’s mom and dad named him “Dog.” Of all the people and things they could have named their son after, that’s what they chose. Who knows exactly what they were thinking, but as strange a choice as it seems, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it may have been a prophetic word about a boy who would become a great man of faith.
See, I like to think that Caleb’s name is connected to his character. And one trait in particular—tenacity. Ever heard the expression, “like a dog with a bone”? We say that when we’re talking about someone who just won’t let go. They refuse to relent in an argument. They won’t give up on what they know is a good idea, even when everyone is telling them it’s not. They absolutely refuse to not finish what they’ve started.
Caleb was like a dog with a bone.
Remember, he was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to scout the Promised Land. And he and Joshua were the only two who said there was nothing to fear when the other ten spies were preaching panic and despair. The other ten said the land was definitely good, just like God had told them. But they also said the people living there were so big that they looked like grasshoppers in comparison.
Caleb’s response? “Yeah, they’re big, but we got this! In fact, let’s go take it right now!”
So because of his faith, God told Caleb that he and Joshua would be the only ones to make it in, and that He was going to give him and his descendants a special portion (Numbers 14:24). At the time, Caleb was 40 years old.
Now fast forward forty-five years. The people (minus that faithless generation) finally enter Canaan, and Caleb—now 85 years old—is still holding on to that promise! When they start to divvy up the land, he boldly says to Joshua, “Give me this mountain!” No matter how much time passed, no matter what else happened in the intervening years, Caleb never let go of God’s word for his life.
And the powerful thing about it is, after all that time, Caleb was still in giant-fighting shape! Even as an old man, he was still able to go up and drive out the Anakites living in his land (Joshua 14:11–12). No cane or walker for him. Nobody pushing him around in a wheelchair. No, Caleb was still holding a shield and swinging a sword! That’s why the scripture says that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.
When you’re holding on to hope, it has an amazing way of holding you up until God makes good on His word!
What are you believing God for? What seed of hope has His word planted in your spirit?
What divine idea has been placed on your heart that just refuses to go away?
What has He promised to provide you as His faithful child that you’re eagerly waiting to receive?
Once you’ve found that bone, bite down and don’t let go. Print out the verse that has the promise you’re claiming. Hang it on the mirror so you see it every morning and every evening. Say it out loud several times a day. Ask God to help your unbelief when doubt starts creeping in.
Bite down and don’t let go! The hope that promise provides will sustain you through every storm. It’ll make every trial worth it, and it’ll get you past any pain. It’ll keep you focused through every failure and keep you moving despite every discouragement.
Bite down and don’t let go!
No matter how much time passes.
No matter how the odds seem to be stacked against you.
No matter who’s working to stop it from coming to pass.
If God said it, it’s as good as done. You’ve just got to keep believing.
If this article blessed you, please leave a comment, hit one of the share buttons at the top of the post, and/or subscribe to the blog. Be blessed and be a blessing!