A Father’s Response
to a Child’s Request
Joshua 15:18-19 /
Judges 1:14 and 15 

Dr. William S. Epps, Senior Pastor

Sunday, June 19, 2022
18And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou? 19Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs. Joshua 15:18-19 / Judges 1:14 and 15
This is Father’s Day. Today we acknowledge the importance of fatherhood and recognized the significance of fathers in the life of children. You cannot overstate the importance of the presence of a father whether he is the biological, surrogate, step, adoptive, mentor or the like in a child’s life. A male presence significantly adds to the quality of life for children, particularly when it is positive. 
The number one father’s day quote is by the poet William Wordsworth:
Father! - to God himself we cannot give a holier name

Jesus taught us to pray, addressing God as Our Father. Fathers need to try to live up to this holy name. 

Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father.
~Lydia M. Child  
Consider what it means that to God himself we cannot give a holier name.  
Monday, June 20, 2022
The passage of scripture is from the book of Joshua. This passage is also found in Judges chapter 1, verses 14-15. Caleb’s daughter, Achsah, (ak saw / AK sha) made a request of her father. She said, "give me a blessing." In other words, look on me favorably and hear my requestShe mingled her request with gratitude acknowledging what she has already received as her incentive to ask for moreFinally, she asked her father to give her what she needed in order to make the most of what she had been given. 
Today, consider this father’s response to the child’s request and relate it to your role and responsibility as a father. The name of the father is Caleb. Let's get a glimpse of who he is as a person, which factors in to whom he becomes as a father. It should be noted that the name Caleb is of Hebrew origin and means faith, devotion, and whole-hearted. He does live up to his name. 
Caleb, you may remember is one of the twelve spies sent out by Moses to do an exploratory survey of enemy territory, the land of Canaan. Caleb was chosen to represent the tribe of Judah when the Lord commanded Moses "to send twelve men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I give to the people of Israel." (Numbers 13:6).  Caleb and Joshua of the tribe of Ephraim came back confident and said to Moses and the people, “Let’s go up at once, and occupy it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). The reports of the other ten were much more discouraging. The gathering was cast into gloom and they grumbled, till the wrath of the Lord decreed that they should stay wandering in the wilderness forty years. However, as reward for his faith in the Lord, it was said of Caleb, "because he has followed me fully, I will bring him into the land into which he went and his descendants shall possess it." (Numbers 14:24). When the children of Israel finally reached Canaan, Caleb, now eighty-five years of age, reminded Joshua that Moses had promised him the area he had visited as a spy. Then Joshua blessed him; and gave Hebron to Caleb for an inheritance (Joshua 14:13). Caleb drove out the three gigantic sons of Anak who were living there. He married his daughter Achsah (ak sah) to Othniel (oth niel) who took the neighboring city of Debir.  
Consider what it means to follow the Lord faithfully, and fully.  
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Caleb was courageous and persevered when other spies became discouraged. 
He was invincible in driving out giants, completely devoted to God and vigorous in his devotion. It is recorded on numerous occasions that, “he hath fully followed the Lord.” His consecration was thorough. What magnificent adverbs are used to describe Caleb: he followed faithfully, wholly, fully. His courage was unfaltering. Giants did not disturb Caleb nor did those who were ready to stone him. “And when all the multitude cried out, and would have stoned them, the glory of the Lord appeared over the tabernacle of the covenant to all the children of Israel" (Good News Translation). The whole community was threatening to stone them to death, but suddenly the people saw the dazzling light of the LORD's presence appear over the Tent (Numbers 14:10).

Caleb's faith and faithfulness were rewarded. 
We come to the record of Caleb’s personal inheritance in the land of Canaan and we find him asking Joshua, “Now therefore give me this mountain.” He was not content with the average or the commonplace. Although the mountain he wanted was filled with hostile Anakims, he refused defeat and claimed his inheritance.   
The name Caleb \c(a)-leb\ is pronounced KAY-leb.  It is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Caleb is "faith, devotion, whole-hearted". Biblical: Caleb, a companion of Moses and Joshua, was noted for his astute powers of observation and fearlessness in the face of overwhelming odds and his devotion to God
What a legacy. He observes well, he is fearless and he is devoted to God.    
Consider what it means to be fearless in your devotion to the Lord
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Now notice the scene as it unfolds with how the father responds to his child’s request. As she came to him, he simply asked her what she wanted. 
Firstly, the father receives the child graciously.
“she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou?”
In other words, he said, what do you want of me? Better still, in common everyday language, "What’s the matter, baby?" 
The child was not afraid to come to her father. Of all of the roles a father assumes there is none more precious than your child knowing he or she can come to you. 
We are told that fathers assume a variety of roles in a child’s life more or less. This does not mean that mothers do not serve in these capacities as well. Studies reveal that these are the ways that fathers choose. 
Fathers are progenitors. Fathers give life to their children. Fathers are providers. They provide for the physical needs,as well as emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs. Fathers are protectors. They protect their children from danger, emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually.  Fathers are participants. They participate in the development, growth and nurturing of the child. Fathers are playmates. Some more or less engage with their children in playing games. Fathers are preparers. They prepare their children for life’s challenges.
Consider what it means to receive children graciously. 
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Secondly, the father regards the request gently.   
“Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water.” (You have given m a gift, but along with that I need something more.)
The south land which Caleb gave his daughter was very dry. It lacked water and vegetation. It was rocky, not fertile. Perhaps Caleb did not have other available land for his daughter. Perhaps he wanted Achsah (Act-saw) and her husband, Othniel (oth-niel), not to have too much with which to start. Many parents have wanted to do, but lacked the means. There are parents who have experienced what it means not to be able to give children what you would like. Maybe Caleb did not want to ruin these young people by starting them out with too much. Maybe he understood that too much can ruin as well as too little. 
Diana Barrymore, whose life ended disastrously, wrote a soul searching autobiography entitled, “Too Much Too Soon.” Here is a problem parents face, especially those who have risen to where they can do more for their children than was done for them. It is a worthy thought when we say, “I do not want my child to have it as hard as I did.” It may also be a dangerous thing, for all of us need to put forth the effort in order to reach our goals and fulfill our potential.      
Notice, he did not see her as an ingrate who was greedy and just wanted more. He did not see her as a spoiled brat. He knew the kind of child he had reared. He knew her heart, mind and spirit. It was like unto his. She did not want to settle for the average or commonplace. Like her father she wanted to face the challenge of life with confidence. She just wanted the necessary ingredients with which to do that. Fathers are providers who make available to their children what is necessary to navigate their way through the twists and turns of life. He listened carefully to her request.  
We can understand Caleb's daughter's situation. She had been given land which was less than the best. It was harsh, dry, barren, unproductive land which needed water in order that the young family's herd might have a place to drink. She had a set of circumstances that were less than ideal. This is the story of every person - a set of circumstances less than ideal. Everyone who has ever lived has fought to climb against the odds. 

Caleb, being a loving father and practical man has already decided to give a large tract of land to Othniel as his daughter’s dowry. This land is south of Hebron is Negev. Of course Othneil was very proud. When Acsah found out, she hurried to her father.

When Caleb saw Acsah arrive on her donkey, he asked her, “Well, my little girl, what can I do for you. Do you like the land I gave you for your wedding?” 
“Well, Daddy. Thank you for the wedding present. It is such a large tract of land. Flat, windy, sandy desert. The Negev desert! What are we going to do with a desert? Build an integrated resort? Have a kangaroo farm? Do me a favor." (other version, translated as ‘give me a blessing’). “What blessing?” Caleb asked. “Give me springs of water”. Caleb must have smiled because now he knows his daughter is not only beautiful but also wise. So he gave her his blessing. Not only the upper springs but also the lower (nether) springs of water.
In the desert, water springs are very important and strategic. Whoever controls the water controls the area. Without water, nothing grows. Without water, all living things die. A spring is a place where water comes to the surface of the desert. Normally water is absorbed into a porous soil and then sinks until it encounter a non-porous rock such as igneous rock. There it remains until it finds an outlet where it flows to the surface. However, depending on the source of these springs, it may dry out in summer or very hot seasons. These are the upper springs. Some water collects in large underground chambers. Then there is the water that is confined under pressure below layers of relatively impermeable rock, artesian well which does not require a pump to bring the water to the surface. They never dry up.   
Consider what it means to receive the request of children gently. 
Friday, June 24, 2022
Thirdly, the father responds generously.
“And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs.” 
While there is such a thing as too much too soon there is also such a thing as too little to late. Finding a delicate balance between the two is what fathers have to do. Spoiled, some folks call it. Others call it kept. Kept from what destroys life. Kept from what diminishes existence. Kept from what devalues/diminishes development. 
While we cannot insulate or isolate our children from life’s challenge nor should we, we make available to them what they need to manage life's challenges confidently and courageously.

Let us follow the example of Caleb who was as generous with his child as God is generous with his children. Be generous in a positive way that enhances life not with too much too soon but with enough and then some before it’s too late. Give them assurance, care, discipline, delight, faith, grace, hope, love, and joy. Let their existence overflow like a never ending stream of refreshing waters that revive, restore and reinvigorate.  

There is a story about little girl and her father crossing a bridge:
The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter,
'Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don't fall into the river.'
The little girl said, 'No, Dad. You hold my hand.'
'What's the difference?' asked the puzzled father.
'There's a big difference,' replied the little girl.
'If I hold your hand and something happens to me,
chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold
my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens,
you will never let my hand go.'

Consider what it means to respond generously balancing
too much too soon and too little too late.  
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Isn’t that the kind of father God has been to us?  William Wordsworth has adequately said, the term father - to God himself we cannot give a holier name. We can go to our Father God who is available to receive us graciously, regard us gently and respond generously. 
We have a greater father than Caleb. Our heavenly father, God. I don't know why we are given south land - hard conditions - bitter circumstances. I know we all have to adjust to things not being what they ought to be and all we would like to have them be. You may have some south lands of trouble and sorrow. Ask for the springs of water that are necessary to turn what is barren into beautiful bountifulness.   
My times are in your hands, deliver me from hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Psalm 31:15
No good thing will God withhold from those that walk uprightly.  Psalm 84:11
God is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20
And this same God who takes care of us will supply our needs according to His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 
Guide my feet while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
Guide my feet while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
Guide my feet while I run this race, / for I don’t want to run this race in vain! (race in vain!)
Hold my hand while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!) / hold my hand while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!) / hold my hand while I run this race,
For I don’t want to run this race in vain! (race in vain!)
Stand by me while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
Stand by me while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
Stand by me while I run this race, / for I don’t want to run this race in vain!
(race in vain!)
I’m your child while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
I’m your child while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
I’m your child while I run this race, / for I don’t want to run this race in vain!
(race in vain!)
Search my heart while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!) / search my heart while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!) / search my heart while I run this race, / for I don’t want to run this race in vain! (race in vain!)
Guide my feet while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
Guide my feet while I run this race; (yes, my Lord!)
Guide my feet while I run this race, / for I don’t want to run this race in vain!
(race in vain!)
Consider what it means to hold a child’s hand throughout their lives.  
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