Last week at church camp I sat in one of the best Bible classes I’ve ever had. In a class for children ages seven through nine, this thirty-nine year old lady learned more than anyone. The topic was the twelve spies who were sent to spy out Canaan in Numbers 13 and 14. I’ve heard this lesson so many times. I had even read it earlier that week. The teacher drew out the lesson on a whiteboard, showing the two spies that brought back a good report of the land and the ten who were afraid because of the giants in the land. The ten said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.”
The two reminded everyone that God was with them, and He could handle the giants.
Nothing so far that I hadn’t heard before.
Then the teacher asked the question, “Did God say there wouldn’t be giants?”
The children in the room all shook their heads and called out “No!”
It’s such a simple question. The answer is obvious, and yet it is clear from the passage that the Israelites were not expecting giants. God promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. He promised that the land would be theirs and that He would be with them. Whatever image the Israelite spies had in their heads about this land, it clearly did not include giants.
Did that make God a liar? Did the presence of the giants indicate that God was no longer with His people?
Of course not, and yet…
How often do I doubt God’s promises because things aren’t quite as I expected them to be?
Too often, I have to admit.
The Giants in my Land
That morning going into class, I could already relate to this story of the twelve spies. Doubting God and His faithfulness in my life is a weakness for me. It wasn’t until I heard the teacher ask that question that I understood why.
Did God say there wouldn’t be giants?
It’s not that God has ever reneged on one of His promises. He hasn’t. The problem is that I come up with my own idea of how things will be, and when they are not what I expect, I lose faith. Just like the Israelites.
The problem is that in my vision of life, there are no giants. There is only the land flowing with milk and honey. There is only the promise of victory and rest.
And all of a sudden there’s a giant standing right in the middle of it all.
God never said he wouldn’t be there, and yet I didn’t expect him.
I didn’t expect the tiredness, the discouragement, the unexpected expenses, the worries of raising a teenager. And yet there they are. Right in the middle of my land of milk and honey.
How to handle the Giants
And now I have a choice to make.
I can choose fear, or I can choose trust.
To be pleasing in God’s eyes, I follow the example of the two spies who trusted God.
“The Lord is with us; do not fear them.” Numbers 14:9
When a giant that I wasn’t expecting stands before me, I remember God’s promises.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
What stands before me may not be what I expected.
It may not be what I want.
It may not be what I thought the answer to my prayers would look like.
However, there is no need to fear.
When I keep the faith, God is still with me.
And He can handle the giants.
“But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:39