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Monday, October 4, 2010

Giants in the Land

1-2 Attention, Israel! This very day you are crossing the Jordan to enter the land and dispossess nations that are much bigger and stronger than you are. You're going to find huge cities with sky-high fortress-walls and gigantic people, descendants of the Anakites—you've heard all about them; you've heard the saying, "No one can stand up to an Anakite."  Today know this: God, your God, is crossing the river ahead of you—he's a consuming fire. He will destroy the nations, he will put them under your power. You will dispossess them and very quickly wipe them out, just as God promised you would.
(Deuteronomy 9:1-3)

Moses has just spent a while explaining to the nation of Israel that God had brought them through the trials of the wilderness in order to prepare them for the battles that were now before them as they cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan.  He has reminded them that God called them, provided for them, made a way where no way existed - so they should never forget his power.  He also reminded them about the importance of doing all that God commanded - not getting caught up in the ways of the world around - because they were a holy people, dedicated to his service, and the object of his affection.

Now, Moses calls them to attention - reminding them of the tasks that lay ahead.  Dispossession of the enemy armies from the land that had been promised to Israel as an inheritance.  Moses is in-tune with the true battle that was just ahead of them in the land of Canaan (the land of Promise).  It was a battle with trust - will they trust God or fear man?  The enemies will look great, the battles seem insurmountable, but their Commander-in-Chief goes before them!

How many times do you think our own "battles" would have their course changed if we'd keep that in mind?  Israel was called to remember the promises given to them - protection, provision, powerful deliverance - conditional on two things.  First, don't let anything else but God consume our attention - give him center place.  Second, don't forget his commandments for living a pure and separated life - the pure life honors its creator.  In so doing, God would go before them, as a defense and a sheltering tower.

It is easy to see only the "giants" in our lives.  The habits that just don't seem to be shakable.  The issues of faith that don't ever seem to change.  The irksome ways we respond to relational issues over and over again.  All these "giants" seem HUGE - yet, it God's eyes, they are like of grains of sand (irritating, but totally removable).  We see those challenges through natural eyes - God sees them through the eyes of possibility.  

God could have taken Israel into Canaan, a land with large pastures, grand fields ripe with vines and trees full of fruit just ready for the picking, all without any kind of "battle" with enemies that needed to be eliminated.  Yet, he didn't - because there is more than one lesson to be learned in the times of battle.  We learn to trust the one who provides - like never before.  We learn to not rely on the same old ways of doing things - allowing our faith to be expanded and renewed each day.  We open ourselves to being honest in our dealings - because God cannot work through us if we are not.  

The odds seem set against you right now - but you are looking at them through your natural eyes.  If God were to open your spiritual eyes, you'd see chariots of fire, legions of angels standing in the wings just ready to respond on your behalf.  You would see skies filled with the good things of God's grace and rivers flowing with refreshing peace.  God-of-the-Angel-Armies marching out in front of you.  The battle rages, but he commands the outcome!  Our part is to march in obedience to all he has asked of us - his part is to annihilate the giants before us!