David was the last one we would have chosen to fight the giant, but he was chosen of God. –D.L. Moody, evangelist
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size . . . and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:30-33 (NASB)
As a kid, I really enjoyed watching a television show called Land of the Giants in which a spaceship from Earth crashed on a planet inhabited by people twelve times the size of humans. Had the Israelites coming out of Egypt been able to tune in, they might have kept the show running longer than just a couple of seasons!
The giants faced by ancient Israel made them feel like little insects. Before long, fear swept through the entire camp, melting hearts and filling its inhabitants with a sense of dread. As a result, a two-week trek through the wilderness dragged into a forty-year sojourn, with an entire generation of Israelites going to their graves before their dreams of the Promised Land could be fulfilled. But it was their own fear of the giants that led to their demise, not the giants themselves.
How Deep Is Our Faith?
All too often, we profess a depth of faith in God that we do not actually possess. Faith is easy on the mountaintop. The battlefield trenches of life are an entirely different matter. An athletic team, for example, may spend weeks practicing in preparation for the first game of the season against their arch-rivals, but it isn’t until they step onto the field of play that their true abilities become evident.
All too often, our version of the gospel speaks only of God’s forgiveness in light of our sinfulness, of the efficacy of grace as opposed to our impotent works, of the glories of heaven compared to the pain of this world. All of these things are true, but they fail to present a complete picture. We even go so far as to portray the Old Testament Promised Land as an image of heaven. Do we actually believe that we will have to drive enemies out of heaven? No, each of us has a promised land, a favorable destiny, in this world.
Why is it that every promised land has its share of giants? Why, when we seek that which we believe to be good, must we face health problems, a lack of finances, and all sorts of opposition—not only from others but also from within ourselves? And why, tell me, must these issues loom so large? There are times when a few miniature giants would do me just fine!
God’s Goal for Us
We sometimes fail to grasp that God saves us in order to restore us to His image (Romans 8:29), and that His image is that of the ultimate overcomer. God’s goal is never to save us for a sweet eternity only, but to transform us into champions of the faith. By definition, a champion is “a person who defeats all opponents” the more formidable the opposition, the greater the champion.
You would be unimpressed if I told you that I once knocked out every kid in my son’s fourth-grade class in a boxing tournament. But, if you saw me wearing an Olympic gold medal (that I had actually earned), you would immediately think of greatness. Until we face and overcome genuine giants, we are not true champions in the arena of life.
How Will We Respond to Our Giants?
Our response to our personal giants reveals the true depths of our faith. The fact that we have sufficient faith in one area of life does not necessarily mean that we trust God in all areas. When fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, and bitterness take root in our hearts, they indicate areas in which our faith is shallow.
The Christian life is played out “from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17). The faith we begin with should never compare to the faith that defines our lives as we near our final breath. That, at least in part, we can attribute to living in the Land of the Giants.
This post is drawn from Chapter Five of Bob’s devotional: Champions in the Wilderness—Fifty-Two Devotions to Guide and Strengthen Emerging Overcomers.