“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 13:33 KJV)
Giants… Have you ever seen something that scared you half to death because you thought that this something had been wiped out long ago? This passage from the book of Numbers is part of the story of those who returned a disheartening report to the people of Israel and because the report was common among ten of the spies sent out; it was foolishly harkened. Yet, for just a brief moment, let us consider a small possibility that may not seem to far from home. This term “giants” in the Hebrew (nephil) is only used one other time in the entire Old Testament. “There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4 KJV) These giants, mighty men of old, where among the chief reasons for God’s powerful decision to wipe the entire human race off the face of the Earth and singularly save Noah and his family. Now momentarily forgetting the obvious that God was equally ready to wipe the nations clean out of the land that Israel is about to posses, and start of all places with Jericho; we can quickly recall just that scary movie when that monster of a character returns after believing him / her / it to be dead. Perhaps the idolatry of the land is so awful that such spirits have returned and begun to populate, perhaps these people are just really big, mean, and tough and they just remind them of legends handed down from old. Maybe they forgot just how real the development of something previously unseen and only talked about really could be. I am sure the list of possibilities could go on for some time. Yet one interesting parallel remains obvious to me. Reconciliation.
Really? How so? That seems quite a stretch since God had explicitly told the people of Israel to wipe the inhabitants of this land out completely and methodically as they were able to repopulate the land. Let me start here. “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.” (Psalms 51:3 KJV) This is part of David’s famous psalm of repentance after the affair with Bathsheba. There is an acknowledgment in this psalm of sin’s ever presence. Despite how circumstances seem to “work out” or how much time goes by, there is an understanding that the sin is still present before myself and God. They may say that time heals all wounds, but the reality is that the wound at best turns into a scar and never really goes completely away. Many wounds left untreated get worse; much worse. Reconciliation is something that either needs to happen now or as soon as it is reasonable to begin that process, but always before the issue comes to the judge. “When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.” (Luke 12:58 KJV) Likewise, “Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matthew 5:24 KJV) The need to remedy the situation before judgment appears to be paramount. Yet in the earlier passage in Numbers, we are not seeing an instance needing reconciliation between Israel and it’s new neighbors. We are seeing the giant things in the land that have grown up completely absent of being reconciled to God and they have come as the appointed executioners. That is the really scary part which makes me momentarily have half a heart for those ten spies. Of course, forgetting for a brief moment the necessity of faith and obedience that allows us to accomplish whatever task God may set before us. It is in the brief moment of seeing through the eyes of the two faithful spies the enormous task that we must carry out that we also are most likely to remember that sin which if left unattended does grow to become the task of another duly appointment executioner to remove us from. Do not put off the healing that is needed between you and your neighbor any longer than you must.
“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.” (1 Samuel 17:45 KJV)