Giants in the Land: Reframing the Story
27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us; it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28Yet the people who live in the land are strong, and the towns are fortified and very large; and besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.” - Numbers 13:27-28
A good friend of mine will often say to me, “Don’t look at the giants in the land, look at the fruit.” He says this knowing that it is easy for me to get caught up in the things that keep me from being faithful. It is hard for me to keep my eyes on the promises of God.
This whole idea comes from the story of the people of Israel and the promise God had given them about the land of Canaan. Throughout the generationa since Abraham and Sarah, God had promised that he would give to Abraham’s decedents the promised land. In Numbers 13, Israel is poised to receive this promise.
There is only one problem. The people in who lived in the land at the time weren’t in on the deal. So, when the people of Israel spied out the land, they saw two things. They saw how fruitful the land was. As an illustration, the spies brought back a bunch of grapes that had to be carried by two men. They also noticed how strong and fortified their enemies in the land were. The question was, which one would inspire them: the fruit of God’s promise or the giants who threatened their obedience.
Few of us find ourselves in the same physical scenario of land and fruit and conquest. But each of us knows the giants in our own lands that keep us from faithfully pursuing God’s best for us. For some it is fear, for others anger, and still for others it is addictions or comfort or busyness. Each of these things pull our eyes from path God calls us upon. Each of these seem like giants to us. We feel like grasshoppers (v. 30) in comparison.
“Don’t look at the giants, look at the fruit.” My friend would call me to remember what God has promised rather than focusing upon what I fear.
Naturally, this is not the answer to such things as fear, anxiety, anger, addiction, or the like. It is too simple. But it is the proper footing upon which to start. It places those things within the context of the promises of God, the presence of God, and our identity in God. It reframes the giants that would otherwise keep us from entering the land. It begins to give us guidance on how we must step forward against the giants in our land.
Jesus, we invite you into our lives this moment. You know the giants that bear down upon us... that weigh us down with anxiety and fear… that cause our blood to boil… that lull us to sleepy contentment. We have been bullied by these for so long, we don’t know where to start. So, we start with this prayer. Will you step into this picture? Will you help us to know you and your promises in the midst of the giants that loom so large? Open our eyes so that we might begin to know you and to know ourselves. Thus, inspire us to faithfully look at the fruit rather than the giants.