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!

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!

In the Wilderness of Temptation

No nation has ever experienced the physical wilderness as the nation of Israel. Theirs were the trials, the thirst, the hunger for meat, for the onions and other things Egypt offered. To them were given forty years wandering through the desert for the purpose of being formed as a nation under God Himself. Many died; a large number of them; they did not make it through the wilderness to their destination, because they fell to temptation, while their hearts became hardened as they were tested. The signs and wonders they witnessed when God provided for their needs did not serve as a guide to exercise faith in Him. So their journey became a wilderness of temptation in every aspect: physical, emotional and spiritual. That constituted an open door to fail in every time a need arrived. Without waiting for God to provide for their needs, as He promised He was going to, they murmured and complained, even when manna- food from heaven was given them.  They longed the world’s food instead. In Psalm 95 the Psalmist remembers those days with a warning: Harden not your hearts as at Meribah and Massah in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers tried My patience and tested Me proved Me and saw His work. Forty years long was I grieved and was disgusted with that generation, and I said, It is a people that do err in their hearts, and they do not approve, acknowledge or regard My ways. Therefore I swore in My wrath that they would not enter My rest (95: 8-11), and again in Hebrews 3: 7-11.