Deut. 9:1 ¶ Hear, O Israel! You are about to cross the Jordan today, to go in and dispossess nations larger and mightier than you, great cities, fortified to the heavens,
Deut. 9:2 a strong and tall people, the offspring of the Anakim, whom you know. You have heard it said of them, “Who can stand up to the Anakim?”
Deut. 9:3 Know then today that the LORD your God is the one who crosses over before you as a devouring fire; he will defeat them and subdue them before you, so that you may dispossess and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.
Deut. 9:4 ¶ When the LORD your God thrusts them out before you, do not say to yourself, “It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to occupy this land”; it is rather because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you.
Deut. 9:5 It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to occupy their land; but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is dispossessing them before you, in order to fulfill the promise that the LORD made on oath to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Deut. 9:6 ¶ Know, then, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to occupy because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people.
Deut. 9:7 Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness; you have been rebellious against the LORD from the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place.
It was the vision of those giant people forty years previous that scared the Israelites. They did not believe that God was able to fight those giants for them and the spies reported back that the giants would overwhelm them. Now, as they are preparing the cross the Jordan, God reminds them of the giants. Yes, there are giants in the land -- the Anakim are still there. The reputation of the giants remains the same "who can stand up to the Anakim?" But God gives a promise to the children of Israel. He promises to cross the Jordan before they do, and he will defeat and subdue the giants.
Why would God be willing to slay the giants? He makes it clear that it is not because of the righteousness of the Israelites. They have not been a faithful people and yet God dearly loves them and wants to take care of them.
Forty years earlier the Israelites had focused on the giants they had seen. The giants created such fear that the people were frozen. They could not move forward because the giants were larger to them than God. But now things were different. They were ready to face the giants and they believed that God could do it!
Life is filled with different giants. Sometimes those giants are fears, sometimes they are obstacles and sometimes they are opportunities. The question is how we will deal with those giants. We can run from them and never face them -- or we can learn to trust in God that he will help us face them, and that he will do the fighting for us. God has promised that he will go before us and so if he's asking us to step into the land of the giants, we can be assured that he will go before us. This is not because we have earned that right, but because it is in his nature. The journey ahead into the land of promise may be very frightening. The giants may be very real and yet we will never get to live in the promised land if we don't face the giants of our lives and allow him to slay them.
The follower of Jesus Christ must always be in motion -- growing and stretching out with our infinite God. That means that we cannot allow ourselves to become paralyzed by fear, by giants, by the unknown. We must constantly be moving forward in our relationship with him and the giants must be given over to him. It's time to trust him, it's time to move on, it's time to step into the promised land and let him slay the giants.
Lord, thank you for your promises and that you will take care of the giants! Amen.