WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–As a chaplain in the U.S. Army, Major Jeff Struecker said he admires those — like Caleb — who are willing to risk it all.
The decorated chaplain, who was depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down” on the battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, was the guest speaker in chapel at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Struecker spoke on the example of Caleb, preaching from Joshua 14:6-15 recounting Caleb’s request to move into the promised land.
“I’m a fan of men and women who are willing to risk it all for Jesus Christ,” Struecker said. Noting that Caleb and Joshua were the only two who had enough faith to desire to move into the Promised Land, Struecker said believers likewise must “practice faith if you’re going to learn to risk it all.”
This is what Joshua and Caleb had been doing since first seeking to go into the Promised Land against the advice of 10 of their companions, Struecker said. “Joshua and Caleb were the only two men who have the kind of faith to say, ‘Our God is big enough,'” the chaplain said. “You can’t say you’ve exercised your faith until you’ve stepped into the dark and risked it all.”
It was this faith that stirred Caleb — 40 years later — to confidently take on the God-sized task of, once again, making the request to go into and take the promised land, Struecker said, paraphrasing Caleb’s words to Joshua: “… if you will let me, my family and I will go into the land, and I know God — who has always been faithful — will be faithful to us in the future.”
“It is this that inspires me more than anything else,” Struecker said. “This man is saying, ‘Without God on my side, there is no way I’ll win, and with Him on my side, there’s no way I’ll lose.'”
In God’s army, Struecker said, all believers are “generals” under the command of the Great Commander, with certain expectations of actions in battle.
“He is calling you to take risks. If you think you want a ministry that is comfortable, you have something seriously wrong,” Struecker said in his Oct. 27 visit to SEBTS’ North Carolina campus. “Some of the most difficult mission fields are still out there and it’s my prayer you will say, ‘Give me the most difficult mission and I’ll go, knowing You will be faithful to me.'”
Because of this faith in God’s faithfulness and ability to conquer, Caleb received a God-sized reward, Struecker said. “God overwhelmingly gave him victory and ‘the land had rest from war,'” he said, quoting from verse 15.
“Because he was a man of faith, willing to bet it all on the Lord, there was really no battle at all and the city of Hebron belongs to Israel today,” Struecker said. “My prayer is that you would do something radical across the globe because of your faith in Jesus. Say, ‘Give me that hill country. Give me victory for our Savior Jesus Christ.'”
Lauren Crane is a writer for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.