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!

A Song in the Night

(Acts 16)

On his missionary journeys, Paul was confronted with angry Jews, and Gentiles. He was mistreated unfairly several times and sometimes thrown in jail. In one of his letter to the Corinthians he gives a summary of his experiences in his mission field. He wrote: five times I received from [the hands of] the Jews forty [lashes all] but one; three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I have been aboard a ship wrecked at sea; a [whole] night and a day I have sent [adrift] on the deep; many times  on journeys , [exposed to perils from rivers, perils from bandits, perils from [my own] nation, perils from the Gentiles, perils in the city, perils in the desert places, perils in the sea, perils from those posing as believers; in toil and hardship, watching often, in hunger and thirst frequently driven to fasting by want, in cold and exposure and lack of clothing ( II Cor. 11:23-27). However, Paul arose from it all with a song of victory even in the darkest hours of his life: we are hedged in on every side, but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; we are pursued, but not deserted; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed; always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord YAHSHUA suffered, so that the life of YAHSHUA also may be shown forth by and in our bodies. For we who live are constantly being handed over to death for YAHSHUA’S sake, that the life of YAHSHUA also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death (II Cor. 4:8-11).

Crossing the Jordan River

(Deuteronomy 11:31)

When the Lord called Israel out of Egypt, He used Moses and Aaron his brother to lead the people to their Promised Land –Canaan. They were then a multitude of people that over the years grew from seventy when they first arrived in Egypt to over a million in the period of over 400 years. That happened according to the word of the Lord to Abraham when confirming His covenant: He said, know positively that your descendants will be strangers dwelling as temporary residents in a land that is not theirs, and they will be slaves there and will be afflicted and oppressed for 400 years… On the fourth generation, they shall come back here [to Canaan] again, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full and complete (Gen. 15:13, 16). In the span of time of 400 years Israel suffered as slaves in the land of Egypt, after Joseph had died and new Pharaohs came to power who did not know anything about him and his family. God heard their cry and used Moses to lead them back to Canaan, a journey that might have lasted only eleven days, took forty years.

Lest I Forget Your Agony

Just think of Him (YAHSHUA) Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds. You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your blood (Heb. 12: 3-4). “Just think of Him” is a phrase that demands the action of losing focus of one self: our sufferings, disappointments, failures, because there is Someone Who suffered worse than we have, no matter how intense and difficult our sufferings are. He is our Savior and Lord, YAHSHUA. The letter to the Hebrews opens our understanding when He compares our sufferings to that of YAHSHUA. His sufferings were to keep us from losing heart and fainting in our mind in our own sufferings.  The extent of His sufferings was to the point of having His blood being poured out. No one will ever be able to go through what He suffered, for He not did not suffered and carried the weight of the pains of a few, but of the entire world. Paul in his letter to Timothy said, Constantly keep in mind YAHSHUA the Messiah. (II Tim. 2: 8) He is our source of strength and He is our example. He went before us caring the weight of our sins; He crucified them on the cross, and while His blood was being poured out, He gave us His life. Constantly keeping in mind the Lord YAHSHUA is a way to keep focus on His suffering and to put in perspective our responsibility to Him. We suffer many times because of sin; sins bring consequences soon or later as Paul said, Do not be deceived; God will not allow Himself to be sneered. For whatever a man sows that and that only is what he will reap (Gal. 6:7).  Sometimes it is necessary for God to take us on a trip to Calvary through sufferings in order to witness the extent of the suffering of His Son, so we can understand our position in suffering with Him as His children.

The Everlasting Weight of Glory

(II Cor. 4:17-18)

Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal, but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting (II Cor.18).  Guided by faith in YAHSHUA and in His promises, sufferings are but a short breath in this earthly life. It is nothing to fret about when our focus is on heaven, our future home for which we groan with expectation. Sufferings are necessary in this earthly life, because the glory which will be revealed to us is measured by the intensity of our sufferings here. As someone has said, suffering is the precursor of glory. The Apostle Paul, the writer of this letter, well understood what sufferings were all about, since he experienced all kinds of degrees of suffering. His written words of comfort and hope came from the heart under the direction of the Holy Spirit for that time when we all have to go through our own suffering. So in the midst of our sufferings it is good to re-direct our mind to heaven. That will be to us a refreshing time of renewal of our faith, since faith regulates the believers walk, leading them upward where our Lord YAHSHUA is seated at the right hand of the Father.