And Now the Rephaim!
11 (Now only King Og of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. In fact his bed, an iron bed, can still be seen in Rabbah of the Ammonites. By the common cubit it is nine cubits long and four cubits wide.)
Once again the size of an individual is noted. The Rephaim were known as giants who had originally occupied Palestine. Reference is made to his “iron bed,” which we are not sure whether is truly a bed on which he slept, or his coffin. Whichever it is, the very mention of this item gives us a clue about the might of this individual. If it was an iron bed, this would have been significant for only the very wealthy could have afforded something this extravagant. Most people slept on mats on the floor but an iron bed would have prevented issues with bugs, been expensive, and difficult to move!
The size of the bed or coffin itself speaks to the size of Og. Translated it was 13.5 feet tall and 4 feet wide, or 4.1 meters long by 1.8 meters wide. If this was anywhere close to his personal size, the man was quite huge! At the same time, because size was to be feared, this bed or coffin may have been made unusually large simply to exaggerate the size of its owner and intimidate enemies. Certainly the rumor of its size had reached the Israelites and they were suitably impressed and feared the Rephaim.
In yesterday’s reading we discovered the fear of the Anakim and today the Rephaim are mentioned. The Israelites were impressed by size!
In comparison, what were they saying about themselves?
They were small.
They had no impressive army.
They had no great reputation.
They didn’t have a fancy bed.
They didn’t work with iron.
They didn’t have a museum.
Seriously, in light of the world around them they were an insignificant people who did not personally have the resources to be victorious. And yet, with God they were able to do far more than the world around them would have imagined.
What are we impressed with? The Rephaim and the giant bed? What is that in relation to God?
Look beyond the Rephaim. Look beyond the things of the world. Look to God above and him only, trusting in him and his greatness. The things of the world will become museum relics compared to what God wants to do in and through you and me.
Lord, may the things of this world grow strangely dim. Amen.