Someone entered the tent. Joshua could tell by the flickering flame of his candle. He kept still, only his closest friends could get through the guards – especially at this hour.
“Let me guess. Caleb?” asked Joshua with his back turned.
“Everything's ready for tomorrow,” Caleb spoke with an air of resolution.
Joshua half nodded – lacking the stamina to hide the fact that his mind was elsewhere.
“Are you all right?” asked Caleb.
“In a strange way... yes,” replied Joshua, “This is God’s will.”
“You sound like you’re trying to convince yourself?”
“Maybe. Every day I say my prayers, take a walk, read, write, drink, break bread with my family. Destroying a city doesn’t fit easily into that routine.”
“With respect,” Caleb answered, “every nation was born out of blood. You knew that forty years ago.”
“Well the older I get, the less I know,” Joshua echoed.
“Look, I’m tired and so are you. Get some sleep.” Caleb made his way to the door.
“Caleb. I feel like I don't know him, and I want to. I want to know God. That's all I want - nothing else. It’s all vanity.
“That's funny,” replied Caleb, “You want to get all sensitive now do you?”
“You mock me?” asked Joshua.
“You’re doing that all by yourself. You've known God all your life. He's always been there. If you're going to doubt anything, doubt your doubts.”
“It’s not that simple,” replied Joshua. “Lord knows I wish it was. If dealing with sin means killing the sinner, then what hope have we?”
“Plenty,” replied Caleb. “We’re children of Abraham.”
“Abraham? Don’t get me started.” Joshua searched for words to describe his anguish. “All that I was in my youth, all I've lived for, it’s already dead. Caleb, you’ve got to help me to believe.”
“You believed once. Believe again.”
“But it hurts,” Joshua cried. “It’s too much pain. Is it worth the bloodshed? Just for what, just for land?”
“This was never just about land!” Caleb slammed his heavy fist on the table. “It’s about the prophecy to Abraham - the land, the people and the Messiah. It's God’s word, and he will honor it.”
“What good is his promise? We’re mortal, he can do anything he wants.”
“Anything? You think he can lie, do you?”
Joshua buried his head in his hands and wept. The pressure was too much to bear.
“I want to know... I need to know that God is good. I need to know him, like I know you. If you told me that mass killing was worth it, you knew something I didn't - a higher purpose, a greater good, just maybe I could trust you. I would, but I know you. That changes everything!”
“You said yourself, every man must face his darkest fears,” Caleb replied. “Maybe this is yours. God is good. There's no darkness in him.”
“Dammit!” Joshua shouted. “You saw those babies massacred on the wall. How’s that different to Abraham killing Isaac?”
Caleb folded his arms and glared. “Your swearing I can deal with, but your thinking stinks.”
“Forgive me,” Joshua added.
“Is that it? Is that what this is about?” Caleb replied.
“My dear old friend, what kind of god would ask Abraham to kill his son?”
Caleb pondered for a moment, then smiled. “One who would raise him from the dead."