Last week, we began unpacking this big question:
How do we possess God’s promises?
When Caleb says let’s go into the land, he means let’s possess the land.
Possess in Hebrew: yaresh (yaw-rash) meaning to dispossess what possesses something
The word “possess” implies that something must be dispossessed in order to possess.
To possess the promises of God, we must dispossess the obstacles to the promises.
Moses’s first category of questions about the people in the Promised Land is a helpful starting place:
- Are the people who dwell in the land strong or weak?
- Are the people who dwell in the land few or many?
Who were these giants?
What are the obstacles these giants represent?
- Amalekites: Made them feel doubt
- Hittites: Made them feel fear
- Jebusites: Made them feel oppressed
- Amorites: Made them feel rejected
- Canaanites: Made them feel small
Caleb saw who these giants were and understood the obstacles they represented, but he responds to the giants in a different way.
Do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. // Numbers 14:9
Caleb’s use of figurative language reveals that despite the obstacles the giants represent, they could consume them. He never minimizes the reality of the existence and representation of the giants, but he doesn’t allow what they are to determine who God is.
I’ve experienced the tension of believing fully in God’s promises one moment and then the next moment confronting a situation that discourages me. What I’ve discovered is that when I’m discouraged, it’s because that situation is uncovering a giant. The fear giant. The rejection giant. And that uncovering leads to discomfort.
Honestly, it would seem easier to ignore the giants. To not wrestle with them. To pretend they are not there. To hide from them.
Ignoring the giants doesn’t dispossess them. The more energy I’ve invested ignoring the giants, the worse the discomfort is when another situation uncovers the giant again.
Having faith in God was never meant to be about ignoring our giants. Faith doesn’t mean we live in a world where nothing hurts, where nothing scares us, where nothing challenges us.
Faith gives us a lens to see how God wants to work in us and is working in us. Even working through our giants.
Naming the giants puts them into the right perspective. The right perspective allows us to consume the giants.
Caleb had the right perspective about the giants. He knew the giants and He knew God. He knew that the giants were meant to be consumed and not to consume them.
Don’t ignore your giants.
Name your giants.
“How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time.” – Japanese Proverb
We can possess God’s promises by naming our giants and consuming them one bite at a time.
This story continues as the twelve explores respond to the next category: the land. Join in on the journey of learning to possess God’s promises!
In the tension together,
P.S. To explore the story of Caleb more in depth, stay tuned for my new book: Color Me Yellow // Finding Your Voice in the Tension between God’s Promises and their Fulfillment
Questions to Ponder:
- What are your giants?
- What are the obstacles they represent?
- What would it look like to consume them one bite at a time?