Facing the Giants

(Deut. 9:1-6; I Samuel 17: 45-50)

To take possession of the Promised Land, Israel had to destroy the giants of the land. The Lord warned them that they were great and tall, they were the sons of Anakim, of whom they had heard, Who can stand before the sons of Anak (Deut. 9:2).  When Moses sent spies from every tribe to spy the land they came with a frightening report: There we saw the Nephilim [or giants], the sons of Anak, who come from the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight (Num. 13:33).    In the days of Joshua, he cut off the Anakim from the hill country; from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah and the hill country of Israel. Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. None of the Anakim were left in the land of the Israelites; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did some remain (Josh. 11:21-22).

In the days of David, the Philistines came to fight with Israel with their giant, Goliath of Gath. This giant stood almost ten feet tall. His heavy armor was even more impressive and intimidating. Israel’s army was dismayed and very afraid of him. Israel came to battle in their strength; all they saw was the giant before them. They forgot what God had done in the past, but there was someone who had the faith and the courage to face this giant. The mountain Israel perceived to be was just a mole hill to David. In fact all he needed was a stone and a sling and bam, the giant was done and gone!

The Man Called Joseph of Arimathea

Very little is said in the Bible about this man. But Joseph of Arimathea was a remarkable man. The writers of the Gospels had these to say about him: Matthews 27:57, 58: When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of YAHSHUA. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of YAHSHUA and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Mark 15:43: Joseph of Arimathea, noble and honorable in rank and a respected member of the council (Sanhedrin), who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, daring the consequences, took courage and ventured to go to Pilate and asked for the body of YAHSHUA… And when he (Pilate) learned from the centurion [that He was indeed dead], he gave the body to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen cloth and taking Him (YAHSHUA) down from the cross, he rolled Him up in the linen cloth and placed Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of a rock. Then he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Luke 23:50-52: Now notice, there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council (the Sanhedrin), and a good man, and righteous, who had not agreed with or assented to the purpose and action of the others; and he was expecting and waiting for the kingdom of God. John 19:38: And after this, Joseph or Arimathea- a disciple of YAHSHUA, but secretly for fear of the Jews- asked Pilate to let him take away the body of YAHSHUA. And Pilate granted him permission. So he came and took away His body. Arimathea, where Joseph was born was according to Fausset’s dictionary possibly identical with Ramah, Samuel’s place, otherwise known as Ramah.  It was situated NW of Jerusalem in the hill country of Ephraim.

All Is Well

In II Kings chapter four the Bible registers the story of a Shunammite woman. No name was given, just the place where she lived. Shunem was located in the tribe of Issachar, to the north of Jezreel and north of Mount Gilboa. The Bible views the Shunammite as wealthy, influential and respected, a woman with kind heart, and compassionate. We see that in her good deeds toward the Prophet Elisha. As she watched him often passing by, she perceived him to be a man of God. Her perception led her to provide Elisha a furnished chamber to rest while in his journey. She not only had good perception, but she was also an initiator of action. She was willing to receive the Prophet Elisha in her house because he was “a man of God.” Her good deed toward Elisha was for love of God. Although they were wealthy and had everything they wanted, they did not have children.  Children in those days were not inconvenience, but considered a blessing from God. They were not aborted, but they were given their place on earth to fulfill God’s plan for them. Elisha was most grateful to her and wanted to reward her. Knowing this detail, he promised her a child. Knowing her husband to be old, she pleaded the prophet with these words: “No, my lord, you man of God, do not lie to your handmaid.” Nevertheless the Shunammite woman conceived and bore a son at that season the following year, as Elisha said to her.  A true Abrahamic miracle!

A Watchtower and a Flock

What links these two in their commonality? I would like to bring to you the most amazing story known to the entire world, not like you have heard before, but according to facts hidden from translations. When we hear about the Birth of Christ story we think shepherds, star, manger, sheep, goats, donkeys, the three wise men, and their gifts. It is a story of light and angels singing; a story of hope of salvation. We understand that and we rejoice that our Savior has been born. “For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). However, there are specific insights missing in this wonderful story hidden from us in the past, but now revealed. Thanks to those dedicated students of the Bible. These are specifics of great significance that confirms the divinity of our Savior, YAHSHUA, and His role as the Lamb of God. I have written about this before just in passing, but now I want to bring this story to you in its entirety and meaning. Perhaps you will never celebrate the birth of Christ the same way as before.

A Book of Remembrance

Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the lord and who thought on His name (Mal. 3: 16)

I remember when young while living in the orphanage in Brazil, I was given a book of remembrance where friends and acquaintances wrote beautiful thoughts of encouragement and what they thought of me. It registered sentiments that would later bring me memories of those days, although not all positive, but sifting them through in my mind, there were a few wonderful memories which I treasured. They bring me joy as I relive those days. It is to me a privilege to know that the Lord is aware and taking notice of the things we say that is pleasing to Him to the point of having them written in a special remembrance book.