Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks, “What is your life communicating today?” 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I don't find very many Christian women today, myself included many times, who are pictures of overflowing abundance. We're just kind of trying to hang on till the rapture, you know—exhausted, frazzled, frenzied, fearful. Ladies, our lives ought to exemplify the fullness that there is through life in Christ and in His Spirit. 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, November 3, 2014.

Through a good part of this year, we’ve been focused on the life of Joshua. Today we’ll learn a lot from one of the lesser-known characters in his story. Nancy continues in the series, "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 12): Leaving a Legacy."

Nancy: Well, I love teaching on different women of the Bible, and we've talked about many of them over the years on Revive Our Hearts. There's so much we can learn from women like Esther and Hannah and Mary of Nazareth. We've done studies on all of these women, but there's a lot we can also learn from some of the obscure women of Scripture.

You've probably never heard of a woman in the Old Testament named Achsah, A-C-H-S-A-H. Achsah is the daughter of Caleb, and Caleb was the friend and partner of Joshua. We've been talking about old age as we've look at insights from the life of Joshua and Caleb over the last couple of sessions, but I want to take one session here to just shine a spotlight on this very little-known woman in the Scripture.

Only a few verses about her, but this passage has been so rich to me. I just felt we couldn't skip over it. We're in Joshua chapters 14 and 15. Remember that Caleb has come to Joshua.

Caleb says, “I'm eighty-five years of age, but God has still given me strength. I still want to serve the Lord, and there's some unfinished business in Canaan. When we came here forty-five years ago and spied out the land, there were giants. They were named the Anakim, and the ten spies came back with the report of fear. They said, 'We can't take over those giants,' so we ended up not going into the Promised Land. Now we're in the Promised Land, and those giants are still there.”

Now, forty-five years later, Caleb says, “I want to take those giants. I want to deal with them.” So he has come to Joshua and said, “Could I have this mountain, this hill country?” Hebron (short E) is the name of the city or Hebron, (long E) as some say it. “I'd like to have this city because I want to show that God is able to deal with these giants.”

I'm thinking, it probably would have been easier to deal with them at forty than it is at eighty-five, but Caleb is not to be deterred. He wants people to see that God is greater than the giants. So in chapter 15 of Joshua, beginning in verse 13, there's a bit of a recap of what we read and talked about in the previous chapter. It says in verse 13,

According to the commandment of the LORD to Joshua, he gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh a portion among the people of Judah, Kiriath-arba.

Kiriath means “city” or “town” and Arba is the leading or the major person of that city. This is the town of Arba. He was a mighty man. That is called Hebron, as it was renamed.

“And Caleb drove out from there,” now this is an eighty-five-year-old man, he, “drove out from there the three sons of Anak,Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the descendants of Anak.” (through v. 14). Now, that probably is all Hebrew to you if you haven't been following along, and if you go back, you'll remember these were descendants of giants.

These were large, fierce, ferocious warriors and their descendants. And Caleb says, “We still have to drive out these enemies. We've been given possession of the land, but we have to drive them out. All these enemies that were so feared by the ten spies forty-five years ago, we want to deal with those.”

I might just ask you, is there any unfinished business that you need to deal with, anything that you want to see God display His power? It's not too late to exercise faith and say, “Lord, I may be eighty-five, but by Your grace, if this is when You want me to do this, I know that it can be done.”

Now, having taken over this city and driven out these giants and their descendants, Caleb is still not ready to retire. As you move on to verse 15, it says, “And he went up from there against the inhabitants.” By the way, we just read in one verse what he did, but this was a major battle. This was a major undertaking.

You'd think that after driving out these giants, he'd say, “Okay, now I can sit back and stare at the river, or whatever.” But no, he wants to press on. Verse 15,

He went up from there against the inhabitants of Debir [another city]. Now, the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher. [That's the city of Sepher.]

And Caleb said, 'whoever strikes Kiriath-sepher and captures it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter as wife.' And Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, captured it. And [Caleb] gave [Othniel] Achsah his daughter as wife (vv. 15–17).

Now, did you follow that? Caleb says, “I want to take over this city.” But he's going to use it as an opportunity to find a son-in-law, a husband for his daughter, Achsah. He throws out this challenge, and I see Caleb being concerned for the next generation. He wanted to make sure that before he died that his daughter, Achsah, was established and settled and that her needs would be met.

Now, if you go into the genealogies in First Chronicles, in those early chapters you'll find out that Caleb had at least three sons, but Achsah was his only daughter. So he had a particular concern that she would be cared for. As you read this passage, these few verses here in Joshua chapter 15, I think you see something special about the value that Caleb placed on his daughter.

He really cared about her. He wanted to make sure that she was cared for. He wanted a husband for his daughter who would have courage and faith.

Caleb had been a man himself of courage and faith, but before he was going to give his daughter to another man, he wanted to make sure that that man was worthy, that he would be a man who would care for and protect his daughter, so he sets up this challenge. He promises his daughter to whoever will attack and take Kiriath-sepher, and it's his nephew, Othniel, who accepts the challenge and wins Achsah's hand in marriage.

Now, after the death of Joshua, time and time again, as you know if you've read the book of Judges, the people of Israel would forsake the Lord and follow after other gods. Each time they did, God would bring up pagan nations to come against them and to oppress them. When the people in their desperation cried out to the Lord, “Deliver us; save us from this oppressor,” God would raise up deliverers who were known as judges, the judges. That's where we get the name of that book.

Othniel, this very same man, Caleb's nephew, who became his son-in-law, was the very first judge that God raised up after Joshua's death. So we see that he was a man of courage and faith not only when he was conquering to get a wife, but even later in his life.

You read in Judges chapter 3,

When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. The Spirit of the LORD was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed . . . So the land had rest forty years (vv. 9–11).

God used him later in life. The same courage and faith that he had demonstrated in the matter of getting Achsah, he demonstrated later as a judge when the Spirit of God came upon him and enabled him.

Now, as I think about Caleb wanting to get a husband for his daughter and taking care of that issue, I'm reminded by way of application how important it is, moms, that your children's choice of a mate should be of concern to you, should be of great interest, great concern. There ought to be a desire in your heart to see your children marry wise, courageous mates, to see your daughters marry men of faith and to see your sons marry daughters who are women of faith and purity. It's never too early to start praying for your children's mates, and I know parents who have prayed this since their children were in the womb.

Now, I wouldn't suggest necessarily by way of application of this passage that marriages should be arranged in exactly the way they were here, but I do think it's wise and ideal for parents to be involved in the process. Let me also say—I'm going a little far off here in terms of application, but I think it's an appropriate application of this passage—that it is the responsibility of fathers to give their daughter's hand in marriage.

That's a concept that's very foreign today. There's little concept of young men going and asking the girl's father, "Can I date your daughter? May I take her out?" There is no concept of girls expecting guys to do that. There is little concept of dads thinking that it is important. But it is the responsibility of dad's giving their daughters in marriage. It's the responsibility of young men to earn and to win the hand of their wife. They do that by demonstrating character and courage.

I would just say to those of you who are young, single women, girls, make him go to your dad. I know we have some teenage girls that listen to Revive Our Hearts, and moms and dads, if you're interested in knowing more about how to handle that from a parent's perspective, let me encourage you to read a great book by Dennis Rainey from FamilyLife Today.

The book is called Interviewing Your Daughter's Date. It's a little book. It's a great, practical tool, particularly for dads, but single moms can use this as well. It has ways that you can interview that young man who wants to take your daughter out. You say, “Well, they're not getting married. It's just a date.” Well, there are not many people who get married who didn't have a date first, so let me encourage you to be involved in the process and to handle it responsibly.

Now verse 18, “When she came to him,” when Achsah came to Othniel—this is on her wedding day, on the day of her marriage to Othniel,

When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. [This was a dowry, and she was urging her husband to ask her dad for this field as a dowry.] And she got off her donkey, and Caleb said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Give me a blessing. Since you have given me the land of the Negeb, give me also springs of water." And he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs (vv. 18–19).

Now, I've had a real sweet time in recent weeks just meditating on those few verses, and let me tell you some of what has stood out to me. First of all, you see a father/daughter relationship that I think is a healthy one. You see communication. You see the freedom that this girl has to approach her dad. She's not afraid of him. She's secure in his heart and his affection and his desire to bless her.

Then you see the modeling impact in the next generation—like father, like daughter. You have Caleb, who just in the previous chapter had been to Joshua and said, “I want some land. I want it not for my sake but for the Lord's sake.” He was courageous and bold, and now you see his daughter having the same kind of courage, the same kind of boldness in saying, “Please give me some land.”

I don't see in this a demanding spirit or "I earned this" or "I have a right to this." She's asking, I think, in the same spirit that her father, Caleb, had. So first she requests a field, a dowry. She has the boldness to ask and the confidence that her dad will give her a good gift if she and her husband will but ask.

Now, as a woman in that culture, Achsah did not have the right to hold land in her own name, but she used her influence with her father and her husband to make sure that her family would be provided for. She made this appeal in what was an appropriate way in that culture, but I see here a woman who doesn't settle for just the field. She asks first for the field as a dowry, but then she wants more.

Now, why does she want more? Well, there's a clue when she says, “You have given me the land of the Negeb.” Some of your translations may say, “You have given me the land of the South.” Sometimes that word is translated South. Sometimes it's translated Negeb.

The Negeb is an area in Palestine that is in the south. It's desert. It's barren. It's arid. It's dry. It's not much use if you don't have water, so she says, “Thanks for the field, but I need more. I need a blessing to go with it. Would you give me also springs of water?”

She says, “Give me a blessing.” Now, she has seen again this boldness in her dad. He had gone for Hebron, and then he goes for Debir. She's seen a man who in his eighties is not afraid to ask for whatever will bring glory to God, and so she is not afraid to ask and to follow the example of her dad.

When she says, “Give me a blessing,” that concept there is give me a present; give me a gift; give me something special, and her dad wants to impart a blessing to her and to the next generation.

Let me ask you, by the way, do your children see something in your life that they want in theirs? She initiated this. She said, “You have something that's worthwhile. It's a blessing. It's a gift. Would you give me some of that blessing, some of that gift?”

I think spiritually, you want to have the kind of example to your children and the kind of relationship with them that your children will be wanting, desirous to have you pass on to them something of value, something of worth, more than land and money but something of great spiritual worth. Do your children want to get a blessing from you?

Do they see that your life is blessed, and therefore you have a blessing to offer. Or do they think, My parents are so spiritually poverty-stricken that I couldn't get anything of value from them anyway? Are they looking to the world to give its blessings and its gifts, or do they know that you have really valuable spiritual blessings and gifts you can pass on to them?

She says, “Give me a blessing. Give me springs of water.” Now, those springs were necessary to sustain life in that dry, Negeb, that southern land. She says, “You've given me land, but it's dry. Would you also give me springs, a reservoir, springs of water so the land can be fruitful, so I can water my flocks and my herds?” She wants to be productive, and she knows that her dad has a blessing to give her that will make her more productive.

As I have meditated on this passage where she says, “Give me also springs of water,” that New Testament passage has come to my mind from John chapter 7 where Jesus stood up on the last day of the feast, and He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers [springs] of living water'" (vv. 37–38).

Jesus said, “I want you to be full, full and overflowing to water your heart and so your heart can water other hearts. Out of his innermost being, if he believes in Me, will flow these rivers of living water.”

“Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive” (v. 39).

Jesus said, “It's the Spirit of God that fills your cup, that causes you to overflow, that waters the dry and arid and barren land of your heart and makes you fruitful. It's the Holy Spirit who produces love and joy and peace and patience and kindness, goodness, gentleness—produces those fruits in our lives that would be otherwise barren and hard and parched and cracked.

I think you know as well as I do that that's what our lives would be apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. So that's why we say, “Lord, I believe. Would You give me a blessing? Would You give me springs of water to go with this land that You've given me?”

The last part of verse 19 says, “And he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.” She said, “Give me springs of water.” She wasn't picky about which ones, but he gave her her heart's desire and more.

What a generous dad! He had enough to spare. He gave out of his abundance. He was generous with his daughter, and what a picture of our generous, heavenly Father who says, “I have enough. You want springs? I'll give you upper and lower springs. There's not too much. It's not too much to ask that I would do this for you.”

Remember that passage in Luke chapter 11 where Jesus talks about asking your father for good gifts? He says,

I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened (vv. 9–10).

He says, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?” (v. 12). He says, “When your children ask to have their basic needs provided, are you going to give them something that's going to bite them, something dangerous? No!”

He says, verse 13 of Luke 11, “If you then, who are evil,” you are less than perfect parents as any parent would acknowledge. If you “know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give,” give what? “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

You want more of God in your life? Now, I know that theologically there's a sense in which you can't get more of God in your life than you already have. If you're a child of God, you already have the Holy Spirit in you. But Jesus talks about asking for the flow and the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I wonder how many of us are living as spiritual beggars when we might be living as spiritual princes and princesses and kings. We might be living in abundance if we would just ask.

I'm ashamed when I think back of how many times in my Christian life I have been scrimping and scraping and just barely holding it together, just surviving. "How you doing?" "Oh, not bad under the circumstances." Well, what are you doing there? What am I doing there, and why aren't we asking God for fullness?

Now, I'm not saying that when you have the fullness of the Spirit flowing through your life that your life will be easy, that it will be problem free. You may have more problems than you did before, but there ought to be a fullness. “Out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”

Psalm 23, “My cup overflows,” (v. 5) and I don't find very many Christian women today, myself included many times, who are pictures of overflowing abundance. We're just kind of trying to hang on till the rapture, you know—exhausted, frazzled, frenzied, frustrated, fearful. Ladies, our lives ought to exemplify the fullness that there is through life in Christ and in His Spirit.

You say, “How do I get it?” Ask your Father. Ask Him. Say, “Lord, I thank You for what You have given me, for the land that You've given me, but would You give me springs to water it?”

I pray as I come into these sessions—I want to teach the Word. I want to teach it faithfully. I've done the study. I pray for clarity and to be able to deliver these messages, but I'll tell you one thing I pray probably more than anything else. That's, “Lord, would You anoint me with the power of Your Holy Spirit? May it come with fullness. May it flow forth. May it not be just words on a page, but may it give life and health and strength and grace to those who hear. May it be anointed with the power of Your Spirit.”

You say, “Well, I'm not a speaker.” Are you a mom? Are you a wife? Are you a grandmom? Are you a single woman in the workplace? Are you a student, maybe a high school student sitting back there on the back row?

What is your season of life? Ask God for the fullness of His Holy Spirit. Pray for it. Ask Him to fill you and to overflow through you to give blessing and life to others.

Leslie: Mmm, what a way to live! Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been pointing us to the source of true joy. There are so many resources available to each of us, and Nancy's been reminding us to take advantage of them.

Nancy will be right back with a final thought and prayer. Today's program is part of a series called "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 12): Leaving a Legacy." 

Earlier this year, Nancy released her first ever piano CD. Our listeners loved it and began asking to hear more from Nancy. So now, just in time for the Christmas season, we’re excited to tell you about her newest CD, Come Adore. This collection of Christmas songs will help you stay focused on what really matters this busy season. The songs will point you to Jesus.

We’d like to send Nancy’s brand new Christmas piano CD to you when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size here in November—one CD per household. Ask for Nancy’s CD, Come Adore when you call with your gift. The number is 1–800–569–5959, or donate and request the CD at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Instead of focusing on challenges, and there are always many, you can focus on possibilities. Nancy will help you do that tomorrow. Now she is back with a final thought for today.

Nancy: I wonder as we bow our hearts before the Lord if you would just take a moment to ask your Father for the fullness of His Spirit in your life. Just say, “Lord, I want springs of living water to fill me and flow through me by the power of Your Holy Spirit and for Your glory.”

Then as we close, I want to pray for you what the apostle Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus. He said, I pray that God,

Would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen (3:16–21, NKJV).

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.