Conquering the Giants

Did you know there are giants out there!  But I am not talking about large people, nine or ten feet tall, that tower over us significantly.  I am speaking of giants we find in everyday life.  By giants, I mean what seems to be insurmountable problems, circumstances, pressures, and issues that we face at different times in our lives or even daily.  Giants press against us with a specific purpose.  Their objective is to keep us from entering into all that God has prepared for us.  For example, fear is a giant that we might encouter more than once.

I remember when I was just a boy, it was time for me to learn to swim.  I was so scared to jump into the water, and my brother, a few years older than me, came up from behind and pushed me in!  After a few minutes, I realized the water wasn’t even over my head.   But until my brother gave me a good push, I was paralyzed with fear.

Fear isn’t the only giant that comes against us.  Pride is another, and envy is right up there with pride.  There are many more.  A different giant may be coming against you altogether, like an unsaved brother or sister or other family members.  We pray for our unsaved family or friends and ask God to reach them, yet they only seem to harden by sin as the years pass by.

The Israelites had to overcome giants as well, but only two young men in this story gave us the right example.

Numbers 13: 25-33

“25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

Numbers 14:1-10

“14 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.

2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!

3 And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?

4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.

6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.

8 If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

9 Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.

10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.”

The scriptures teach us that God led the Israelites to the promised land, but the Israelites would need to conquer the land’s inhabitants before they could possess it.  So the leaders sent 12 men out to spy on the inhabitants of the promised land and see what God had given to them.  Of the spies that went over, only two came back with an excellent report.  The Israelites had this great promise that God would provide them with this land to possess, and what did they do?  They cowered in fear and complained there were giants all over the land.

Unfortunately, some people consistently dwell in the land inhabited by the giants of unbelief and discouragement.  This land is a dissatisfying place to live.  Can you imagine trying to live in unbelief and discouragement all the time?  I can’t live that way, and with God on our side, we shouldn’t need to.  I want us all to see it wasn’t the giants in the land that made the Israelites complain and grumble against God, just as it isn’t the obstacles in our own Christian life that keeps us from a fulfilling walk with Christ.  But the giant of unbelief will keep us from thoroughly enjoying our walk with Christ.  The giant of fear will paralyze us from moving forward in our relationship with Jesus.  And the giant of complacency will keep us from experiencing true victory and joy on our Christian walk.

The Giant of Unbelief

Every promised land has its giants, and every blessing has its challenges.  God gave the Israelites simple instruction, “Go and explore the land.”  God didn’t tell them to determine if it was the right place and decide if they should conquer the inhabitants or not.  God selected 12 men to see the promised land so they could prepare to take it over.  There was no reason to fear because God already gave the Israelites the land.  God, Himself, looked at the ground of the promised land and decided it was perfect for His people.  All they needed to do was trust Him and take it.

The Israelites had no reason to doubt God.  Let’s take a look at all the promises on their side.

  1. God promised the land to the Israelites.
  2. God promised the land would be bountiful.
  3. The Israelites knew what God could do because of what He did for them before.
  4. God delivered them from Egypt.
  5. God had fed them every day.
  6. God had guided them with a cloud by day and a pillar by night.

What about us?  What do we have that shows God’s mighty power?  We have the scriptures, and the scriptures are full of promises.  We have the testimonies of others revealing how God shows up just when we need Him most.  We have testimonies of our own that reveal God’s hand miraculously moving in our situations.  We have the testimonies from past victories of how God never fails us and was there every time!  Finally, we have God’s personal touch in our lives, and we have also seen how God intervened in circumstances we had no idea of how to get through.

So, where does unbelief fit in this equation of God, His promises, and love?  Our problem is no different than the problem with the Israelites in our story.  We give unbelief a place by looking at the giants and not the promise.  WE tend to think, “it’s those giants again!  How will I defeat this?  I can’t, and it’s too big a problem for me, so I won’t even try!”  The giants show themselves as challenges and obstacles all around us in everyday life.  If we remember the promises and know that God is on our side, we wouldn’t have a problem trusting God.

Some Christians think the power of God in a person’s life should keep them from all trials and conflicts, but who never has a trial or conflict?  The enemy knows Christians think this way too.  So if we are in a battle, as good soldiers of Christ, don’t you think the enemy will come against us in every way that he can?  Of course, he will! The devil will make the giant look impossible to overcome, so we take our eyes off the promises.  But the giants are necessary to test our trust and belief as we grow into spiritual maturity.  The giants drive us to our knees in prayer, which moves us to trust God for help and deliverance, and this process increases our faith in God.  Then we are able by God’s power to claim victory over the giants in our lives.  Ten of the 12 men that went to see the promised land had this opinion, ” The enemy is too powerful, too numerous, too overwhelming, and we can’t beat them!”.  Sometimes we can feel the same way in circumstances we are facing.  In times past, we’ve also said, “The giant or the trial is too powerful, it came in like a flood, or it was very overwhelming.”

The writer of Hebrews tells us,

Hebrews 11:6

“6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that h e is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Without faith, it is impossible to please God.  To slay the giant unbelief, we must take God at His word.  The “giant slayer” believes in the promises of God.  The giant slayer stands on the word, reads the word, lives by the word, speaks the word, and believes God’s word.  The giant slayer will declare in the face of doubt and discouragement, “I trust God!”  The giant slayer also says, “Every promise in the book is mine; every chapter, every verse, and every line!”  The giant slayer has the promises in his hand, praise for God on his lips, and victory stamped on his heart.

Another thought to consider is faith is not blind.  Think about what happened with Joshua and Caleb.  The two faithful men saw the giants, but they also saw the God who stood above the giants!  They knew where the power to defeat the giants would come from — knowing God was on their side.  Faith is not a denial of reality but the realization that there is a law higher than all natural laws.  In other words, there is a spiritual law ordered by God that can suspend the laws of nature and cause miracles to happen.  Conquering giants in our lives might be difficult, but with God’s promises, it gets done, and our faith grows as a result.

Have you ever noticed, before God does something extraordinary, He begins with an impossibility?  We can doubt God’s promises in our lives, and we can doubt that God will ever help us to overcome the giants in our lives.  After all, the Israelites did, and the result of their doubt was wandering around the wilderness for 40 years.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wander for the next 40 years of my life and never experience the promises God has for me.  Unbelief will invariably blind you to God’s greatness and magnify your weakness every time.  Maybe you have a giant that you believe you can’t conquer.  You have tried over and over, but you have failed.  If this is the case, now is a good time to practice faith in God’s promises.  Faith which is the opposite of unbelief, never grows in comfortable surroundings.  In fact, if something is too easy to overcome, it didn’t take much faith at all.  Faith believes in the face of overwhelming odds.  Caleb and Joshua, the two that came back with a glowing report and ready to take the land–believed.  In dark contrast, the ten other men declared, “We can not take the land! The giants are too big!”  Joshua and Caleb placed their confidence in the Lord and said, “Let’s do this!”

The Giant of Discouragement

Discouragement happens when we take our eyes off God and put them on the giants or the trial.   This is what the Israelites did in the book of Numbers chapter 13.  Ten of the 12 men took their eyes off God and looked at the impossibility of the circumstances.  When we take our eyes off God and see only the circumstances, our faith begins to diminish, and this gives discouragement the room it needs to take over.

The giant of discouragement wears many different faces, such as dissatisfaction with the past and distaste for the present.  Discouragement will show up in distrust for the future or a lack of gratitude for the blessings of yesterday.  It may also reveal its ugly head as indifference to the opportunities of today or insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow.  The giant of discouragement in our lives will cause us to lack awareness of the presence of beauty or blessings surrounding us.  Discouragement is unconcerned about the needs of others and doesn’t have faith to believe in the promises of God.  Discouragement is also impatient with time, immature in thinking, and impolite towards God.  This is one giant we want to conquer at all costs. The ten spies were discouraged when they saw a good and plentiful land because they focused on a fight they believed could not be won.  When God tells you, “You can!”–you can!  But you must trust God!

The Giant of Fear

For the Israelites, the fear of giants and fortified cities outweighed the blessing of the fruit they saw.

Numbers 13:32

“32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.”

I am still learning that often we are guilty of measuring obstacles and challenges against our strength and resources instead of focusing on God’s power and resources.  Life inevitably will present challenges we can’t even imagine while we are young, challenges with sickness, the suffering of losing loved ones, and other similar situations.  We need to remember our God is bigger than these situations.  He is more powerful, and His strength is there for us to lean on.  The key is “HIS STRENGTH,” not our own.  The Israelites saw themselves as grasshoppers in the eyes of the giants.  Instead, they could have seen the giants as grasshoppers in the eyes of God.  Do you see how this changes everything?

1Samuel 17:45-47

“45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.”

David was a boy that defeated a giant on his own by putting his confidence in God.  David saw the giant as defeated before he even approached the giant with his rocks and sling.  David knew beyond doubt that God would win the battle for him.

2 Timothy 1:7-8

“7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;”

The scripture teaches us that God does not give us the spirit of fear.  When we trust God with our whole heart, there is nothing that we need to fear.  Remember, we can do all things through Christ because He strengthens us.  The pressures of life can be so overwhelming at times, a spirit of fear might also wash over us.  Remember, your strength comes from God, and you can carry on with the tasks at hand, conquering the giant called fear.

The Giants of Comfort and Complacency

A few giants show up, and suddenly, everything is just fine where we are, with no desire to conquer anything.  The devil tells us, “You’re ok.  You don’t need to worry about taking on any challenges or victories.”  This person will wander through life with no goals to reach, no desire to grow as a person or for God, and cannot testify of any promises working in their life.

Have you ever noticed in your Christian walk what fear and unbelief don’t do?  Comfort and complacency make up for it, and excuses for not conquering giants are always present with them,“ I would obey but, I would get more involved in outreach but, I would do what you tell me to do God but. “

If we let God lead us, God will lead each of us into His work or outreach.  Now is not the time to sit back and let the giants of complacency and comfort keep us from God’s work.  The Bible teaches us now is the day of salvation.  We have a responsibility to deliver this message to the world.  We must take what we learn from the gospel and share it with others.  Doing God’s work or being a witness for Him is our responsibility as children of God.

Finally, God left giants in the promised land for a reason.  First, the people of Israel needed to learn how to let God help them win their battles.  Secondly, the giants help to distinguish between those who profess to know God and those who possess a genuine love for God.  It is one thing to confess the promises of God, but it is another to strap on your sword and go toe to toe with your giants, possessing the promises of God.  Giants will expose the grasshoppers in the crowd.  When giants show up, those who are negative and critical will be the first to speak out their fears.  The real you comes out under pressure, so the battle helps us know where we stand, and God can show us the areas where we need to trust Him more.

The first generation of Israelites forfeited the land promised because they would not conquer the giants.  How many Christians today fail in their walk with God because they refuse to stand up for what God promised them?  When the enemy turns on the heat, they bail out, back down, lay their swords down, and concede.  How will you cast your vote?  Fight or flee?  Will you be one of the two with a good report willing to conquer or one of the ten complaining about the impossibility of the situation?  Maybe God has been calling you to kill these giants in your life. Well, today needs to be the day you believe you can achieve, and you will receive.  Today needs to be the day that you stop running and fight.  Today you can stand where David stood–in faith–and watch the giants fall!