In Numbers 13, the twelve men that were sent out to explore the Promised Land returned to give their report to Moses. They began their report by telling Moses and the rest of the Israelites that the land God had promised them was bountiful, a land flowing with milk and honey that produced the most amazing fruit (v. 27). And then, after showing the people the samples of the fruit they brought back with them, the next word out of their mouths was, “but…” They then proceeded to tell the people that the land was occupied by powerful people living in fortified cities and not only that, but there were also giants there (v. 28).
When Caleb tried to assure the people that he was certain that they could and should conquer the land (v. 30), ten of the other men then began telling the Israelites that all of the people who occupied the land were huge, so huge in fact that, next to them, they felt like grasshoppers. The Israelites listened to this negative report and, in disobedience to God, chose not to try to take the land. In fact, God told them that none of their generation would live to see the Promised Land, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb. For these Israelites, their giants were so big that they kept them from receiving what God had for them. They were looking at their giants through the lens of fear. The lens of fear is like a magnifying glass that makes things look bigger than they actually are.
How big are your “giants?”
How big are the things in your life that keep you from stepping into what God has for you? Are your “giants” so big that they keep you wandering in the “wilderness?” Maybe your “giants” are unemployment, addiction, marital problems, or health issues. Here’s the thing, just as the ten spies looked at the people who lived in Canaan and only saw “giants,” when you look at your problems through the lens of fear, they become magnified, they become “giants.” And when our problems become “giants” in our eyes, fear paralyzes us and keeps us from stepping into God’s plan and purpose for our lives.
Let’s fast forward through the Old Testament to 1 Samuel 17. The Israelites, under King Saul, were preparing to do battle with the Philistines. As they gathered near the valley of Elah, the two armies faced each other from the hills on opposite sides of the valley (v. 1-3). The Israelites were probably confident that they would have victory over the Philistines but then it happened. A giant appeared. His name was Goliath, and he stood about nine feet, nine inches tall (v.4). Goliath issued a challenge (v. 8-9), “Send one man to fight me. If I am defeated, we will become your slaves. But if I am victorious, then you will become our slaves.” And so, a giant stood before the Israelites, threatening to come between them and victory. How did they react? Verse 11 says that they were terrified and deeply shaken! None of the Israelites would accept Goliath’s challenge. They looked at the giant through the lens of fear. But then came David.
David was a boy and a shepherd. He had never fought in a battle, had no experience as a soldier, but David stepped forward and told King Saul not to worry about the Philistine giant. He would fight him (v. 32). Saul gave his own armor and sword to David but, after trying them out, David took them off and gave them back (v. 38-39). David then picked up some smooth stones, put them in his shepherd’s bag, and headed off to face Goliath with only a sling and a shepherd’s staff (v. 40). Why was David able to do what the entire army of Israel could not? It’s because David looked at his giant not through the lens of fear, but through the lens of faith. Look at what David said to Goliath as he stood facing this giant:
David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
David knew that his God was bigger than the giant that faced him. And so, when Goliath made a move to attack, David did not walk up to this giant, he “quickly ran to meet him” (v. 48). And with just a sling and a stone, and God on his side, David took down that giant.
We have two choices when we face the “giants” in our lives. We can either look at them through the lens of fear and allow them to keep us from what God has for us. Or we can look at them through the lens of faith, knowing that God is with us and that He will help us to defeat them. Nothing is impossible when we have God on our side. In Luke 18:27, Jesus said, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
So, how big are your giants? Or, perhaps the better question is, how big is your God?
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.