Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there. Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them. The Lord your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; Deuteronomy 1:28-30
The ten men who had gone to spy out the Promised land came back with a fearful report. Though the land was overflowing with life and sustenance, there were giants there. The Anakims were much taller than the children of Israel. They were stronger, had larger weapons, and they had chariots. In these men’s eyes, they had no hope of defeating the giants. And so the Lord let them have their way. They were not permitted to go into the land, and the giants went undefeated for forty years.
Fast forward to the next generation, and Moses is no longer on the scene. God has charged Joshua to overcome his fear with obedience multiple times as He equips him to take on Moses’ role.
“Be strong and of a good courage…Only be thou strong and courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law…This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous….Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage…for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:1-9)
As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses. Joshua 11:15 (emphasis mine)
Out of Joshua’s obedience followed the blessings God had promised. The Lord fought for him, even keeping the sun in its place as Joshua and his men continued in battle against the enemy. And the giants that the previous generation had feared? They fell to the faithful obedience of Joshua. One man’s faith secured rest for the entire generation.
And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war. Joshua 11:21-23
Giants of fear are part of our human experience. My daughters always come get me to annihilate the spiders that are climbing up their walls. They won’t even enter the room. And when I say annihilate, I am not overemphasizing the drama of destruction here. They want to see this eight- legged creature smeared like a pancake across the wall or they are not going back in there. They are probably one hundred times bigger than this tiny creature, but to them, that spider is one hundred times bigger than they are. Fear has a way of making things look much bigger than they are.
We can often fear problems in our lives in the same way. I’ve heard many statements over the years, and wrestled with some myself, of how fear keeps us from doing what we know is the right thing. “If I tithe as God commands me to, I may not have enough money to pay my bills.” “If I submit to my husband the way the Bible instructs me to do, I will just become a doormat.” “If I obey my parents in all things, my life will not turn out the way I think it should.” “If I let go of this relationship to this unsaved friend, I may never find another relationship like it.” “If I talk to my neighbors about Jesus, they are going to think I’m really strange.” “If I forgive as Jesus forgives me, there is no end to the hurt they will cause me.” There are so many giants that can get in the way of doing what we know to do that is right. And it keeps us from rest. It doesn’t just affect us either. We can keep those around us from rest too.
As I was studying the word “courage,” I came across the Greek word for power in the New Testament. I won’t attempt to write it in Greek, but the transliteration of it is “dynamis.” It’s where we get the word dynamite. What a powerful word, right?! It’s the word that is used for the miracles and mighty works that Jesus did throughout the Gospels. In fact it is used 120 times in the New Testament to convey the power of God’s ability at work. It is the same word Jesus used to describe how the Holy Spirit would come upon the disciples at Pentecost.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8
It is the same power that miraculously saves us from our sin.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
It is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, and will raise us up in the resurrection.
And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. 1 Corinthians 6:14
Joshua had God’s promised presence when he obeyed the Lord, but he did not have God in the form of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. We, as believers, have the incredible, resurrection power of God in the Spirit dwelling within us. When the giants of our lives taunt us to doubt our God’s promises, He is there reminding us of what His Word says. We will hear His voice until we quench Him. And when we make the step to follow in faith in obedience, those giants can do nothing but fall before the mighty God we serve. They may loom dreadfully large when we begin, but they cannot stand before the power of the God who dwells within us. What giant in your life is threatening your obedience in doing the next right thing? Ask the Lord for wisdom, and then proceed to obey in His “dynamis.”
Here are some more references, if you’d like to continue in this fun and powerful study.
Romans 15:13; 1 Corinithians 1:18, 24-25; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 6:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 13:4; Ephesians 1:17-23; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:9-14,27-29; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:3-5, 16; Revelation 11:17, 12:10, 15:8, 19:1-2