As I laid awake last night in the darkness, trying to find rest and peace and sleep, all I could think about was giants. I keep thinking about being in Egypt, and how horrible it is to be in a type of Egypt… how peaceful it is to trust that our God is leading us from the familiar chains of Egypt into the unknown but reportedly beautiful Promised Land… and yet how terrifying it is because there seem to be giants standing between us and that place of blessing.
I rolled over and said to Steven, trying not to cry, “I’m scared of the giants.” He reached my hand, and eventually said, “The thing about giants is they’re supposed to be scary and you’re not supposed to be able to fight them by yourself.” He paused, then continued, “The only way to conquer giants is for God to do it for you. Case in point: David and Goliath. The only way to overcome the giants is by faith.” I said, “But I feel like I’ve never seen a giant before, and I feel like I don’t know how to have that faith.” Softly and comfortingly, Steven said, “oh but you have, and you do.”
As I lay there trying to fight an emotional and spiritual battle during the night, I relied on the psalms to hold my thoughts captive: I distinctly recall quietly singing 6, 22, and 40 to myself. How thankful I am that God has given me weapons fit for battle with giants.
I re-read Numbers 13-14 (and skimmed a lot beyond that too) this morning, thinking about what it was like to be glancing ahead toward Canaan where there was promise of beauty but everything was ultimately unknown… thinking about the temptation to glance backward toward slavery where there was knowledge of pain but everything was familiar, and how even the hard things have a thread of comfort to them when at least you know what you’re enslaved to.
Moses sent some men to spy ahead, to see what was ahead of the people he lead, and told them to “be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land” (Numbers 13:20). I want to glance ahead, too, to spy out what lies before me: I want to be of good courage, I want to see that there will be fruitfulness in the place where God is leading me!
What did the men find? Well, for starters, they found grapes, pomegranates, figs (Numbers 13:23) ~ these were signs of fruitfulness, of promise, of blessing. They carried them back with them to show others, and to remind themselves, that there was a tangible reason to be of good courage. God was providing. He would continue to provide. He is faithful.
When the spies came back to Moses and the multitude, they told of the blessings that lay ahead: milk, honey, fruit! But then they reported of fortified cities, of strong peoples, of giants. It seems as though they were saying, “enormous blessing lies ahead of us! But there are giants, and they are terrifying.”
I don’t know about you, but that is something I completely identify with at the moment.
I confidently trust and believe that God has beauty and blessing ahead of me… but in order to receive that from His hand, I have to get past some giants. Some of those giants live in fortified cities. And it is terrifying.
There is part of me that wishes I could simply grasp for the beauty and blessing without having to face the giants ~ and another part of me that cries, “it isn’t worth it! Let me go back to slavery! It might be choking my spirit and drying out my bones, but at least I know what I’m facing there! Don’t make me face unknown terrors! Don’t make me conquer giants in order to obtain the bigger blessing!”
Part of me speaks like Caleb, knowing that by God’s grace and Christ’s equipping strength, “we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30), but part of me speaks like the weak-kneed men with him, “I seem like a grasshopper in comparison to the giants!”
It isn’t that I want to doubt the Lord, it’s that I am sinful by nature. It isn’t that I have forgotten the past faithfulness and provision of the Lord, it’s that I am sinful by nature. I need to fall on my face as Moses and Aaron did, I need to repent as Joshua and Caleb did, and proclaim by faith, “if the Lord delights in us, He will bring us into this land and give it to us… do not rebel against the Lord… do not fear the people of the land… the Lord is with us, do not fear them…” (Numbers 14:5-9)
Oh that God would give me the faith and humility to say like Moses, “please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying,‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of Your steadfast love, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now” (Numbers 14:17-19).
May I not grow weary in following the Lord and His commands, may I increase in my desire to obey Him, may my joy be full when His wisdom is what guides me. May I, like Moses, who was not even permitted to enter the Promised Land when all was said and done,
Your eyes have seen what the Lord did… you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today. See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples… For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today? Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children… (Deuteronomy 4:3-9).
This isn’t the last you will hear from me about facing giants ~ rather, it’s the tip of the iceberg, I believe. I see giants before me, and I need to rely on Christ’s strength and God’s faithfulness. Like my husband told me last night, the only way to conquer giants is for God to do it for me, the only way to overcome them is by faith in Him. That’s what I am seeking. May God grant it to me not because I deserve His blessing but because He is near when I call upon Him ~ I want to believe it, see it, claim it, live it, and make it to known to my descendants.
Giants? Yes, there you are, I see you. I may be a grassphopper to you, but God is on my side. Amen.