BY PASTOR T.O. BANSO
“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’ So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.’ Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.’ And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel” (Num 14:1-10, NKJV).
The passage you have just read is a vivid account of the reaction of the children of Israel to the negative report brought back by the ten spies about the land of Canaan. Their report caused no small stir in the camp of the Israelites. They contemplated choosing another leader to lead them back to Egypt. The people were discouraged and indeed scared by the report that there were giants in the land, that they were not competent to confront and that the land devoured the inhabitants. “Then they told him, and said: ‘We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan. … We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.’ And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Num 13:26-33, NKJV).
Because of this report and despite the contrary positive report brought by Caleb and Joshua, the people were not willing to go and possess the land that God had promised them. They were scared by the giants. They quit because they were afraid of the giants. They couldn’t believe the Word of God enough to step out in faith like Caleb and Joshua wanted them to do. God considered their attitude as rebellion against Him and pronounced a death sentence on that generation. They would all die in the wilderness; they would not enter the Promised Land because of their unbelief. Only their children and wives were spared in addition to Caleb and Joshua who brought back a report that agreed with the mind of God for the Israelites. “And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. I the LORD have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die’” (Num 14:26-35, NKJV).
What kept this generation of Israelites from the Promised Land as I have said, was the fear of the giants. And you must realize that if God promised you any land flowing with milk and honey, the giants are already there. Giants are not stupid! If the land is not flowing with milk and honey, God won’t promise you the land. Every land – dream, vision, destiny – God has given His children is flowing with milk and honey! It’s a fruitful, pleasant land. And if a land is not flowing with milk and honey, giants are not interested in it; they won’t go there. Giants inhabit a land flowing with milk and honey. Giants are interested in the same land that you desire to possess. In fact, they have already gone ahead of you there! And if you are going to possess this land that God has promised you, you must be ready to fight the giants and dislodge them. If you don’t want to do battles with the giants, then forget about possessing your possession. In Lev 20:24, the Lord said to the children of Israel, “But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples” (NKJV). That was an expression of the mind of God; it was a promise waiting for fulfilment. You would think that they would get it on a platter of gold. No, they were to fight for it notwithstanding who was occupying it. God knew some people would be there when He made the promise to Abraham to give the land to him. In Gen 22:17, God told Abraham his descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies; He knew the enemies would be there.
But when God was ready to actualize the promise He had made to Abraham, He didn’t hand over the land to them. He told them to fight for it. “Look, the LORD your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the LORD God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged” (Deut 1:21, NKJV). But this was not a virgin land. To possess it, they would have to dislodge the inhabitants. And they would not just surrender unless they were overpowered. And there was no way to overpower them except they first engaged them in a battle. Unfortunately these Israelites were intimidated by the size of the giants. They rebelled against God and thus disqualified themselves from entering the Promised Land.
The children of Israel failed to realize that the giants that were bigger than them were not bigger than God. The giants might be bigger than them but not bigger than the promise of God to them. They saw themselves as grasshoppers compared to giants. But they have forgotten that though the giants might be bigger than them, everybody, including the giants, is like grasshoppers before God as the Bible says in Isa 40:22: “It is God who sits above the circle of the earth. The people below must seem to him like grasshoppers! He is the one who spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them” (NLT). God is bigger than the giants; the giants too are like grasshoppers before God. So that should encourage the heart of everyone to confront his giants and possess his inheritance.
Giants of Red Sea and Egypt
The giants you are facing may not be men who are physically as tall as the giants in Canaan but they could be some adverse situations or even powerful beings who are standing against your advancement. God is able to deal with them and help you to move forward in life. In Ex 14, the giant the children of Israel faced was not a human being but a monumental opposition – the red sea. How would they cross the Red Sea – a large body of water? But what made their situation even more precarious was the fact that they either crossed the river in a jiffy or Pharaoh’s army would catch up with them having just being reluctantly released from Egypt. They were in a dilemma.
Verses 10-12 say, “And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness” (NKJV).
Did you see the reaction of the children of Israel to this giant? They said they had told Moses, “Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians.” What a height of ingratitude! Was Moses not sent by God to deliver them in response to their cry which God said He had heard? Now they were blaming him for the dilemma in which they were. That’s how human beings behave. They blame others for their problems they encounter in obeying God but take the credit for the victories they experience. They further said they preferred to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness. Who told them they would die in the wilderness? That was not God’s design for them but they actually started confessing negative and thereby invited death upon themselves. The older generation that came out of Egypt eventually did not survive the wilderness journey. Not because of Pharaoh, as we have already seen, but because they could not believe God to protect them and give to them the land inhabited by the giants – a land He had already promised them.
If you are not careful, the problems you experienced in the past or your previous circumstances can become a giant in your mind withstanding you. You may find it difficult to embrace and enjoy the new phase you are in and the new things God is doing in your life because of the monument you have built on your past. Although the children of Israel had left Egypt, Egypt had not left them. They were no longer slaves in Egypt but they remained in bondage to Egypt. They kept on seeing everything through the prism of Egypt. That’s why they could say they preferred to be slaves in Egypt than to die in the wilderness. That’s why they could despise the manna God gave them in preference to the menu of the Egyptians they were eating as slaves – they didn’t value their deliverance. Hear their complaint: “Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!’” (Num 11:4-6, NKJV). Can you believe that? This was a height of ingratitude by a people saved by the power of God.
Of course God responded to their craving and gave them meat. He sent quails to the camp of the Israelites but also sent plague to punish them. Num 11:32-34 says, “And the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers); and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was aroused against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague. So he called the name of that place Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had yielded to craving” (NKJV). Making reference to this incident, Ps 106:15 says, “So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it” (NLT).
Don’t let your past experience – defeat, enjoyment, etc. become a giant that makes you resist the change that God is bringing into your life or bringing you into. You need new wine in new wineskins; don’t put new wine in old wineskins (Matt 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37-38). It won’t work!
Don’t be threatened by any negative situation that represents a giant in your life. God has the power to help you overcome any giant. God helped the children of Israel to overcome the giants of the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army. He made the children of Israel to march on dry ground where the Red Sea used to flow and caused the Egyptians to perish in the Red Sea. “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the LORD looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.’ And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses” (Ex 14:21-31, NKJV).
Psalm 78 details the sins of the Israelites against God in the desert. Verse 22 says they didn’t believe in God; they didn’t trust Him. Verse 40 says they provoked Him, grieved Him, tempted Him, limited Him; they didn’t remember His power. Verse 56 says they tested and provoked Him; they didn’t keep His testimonies. All this will cause someone to quit.
If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23). Israel saw the great work that God did; they saw the Egyptians dead. That same God is still alive. His power is not less potent than it was. He’ll use that power on your behalf if you’ll believe. If you’ll put your trust in Him, you’ll also see your giant dead; you’ll see the great work of God in your life. You’ll not be consumed by the giant intimidating you.
What to do not to quit.
If you won’t quit because of the giants, the following will help you:
1. Preserve your faith in God – Don’t let the devil attack or steal your faith in God. Hab 2:4 says the righteous will live by their faith. Gal 3:11 echoes the same truth. You must protect your faith if you will not quit because of the giants. And faith is usually in your heart and in your mouth (Rom 10:7-10). Therefore feeding yourself on the undiluted word of God is the way to ensure that your faith is protected. Rom 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (NKJV).
2. Believe in His plan and purpose for your life. The children of Israel failed in this regard. If they had believed God’s plan for them which made Him deliver them from the 430 years of slavery, they wouldn’t have been scared by the opposition that the giants posed to them in possessing the Promised Land. No matter the giants standing in your way, never forget that God has a good plan for your life and He will fulfil it if you trust Him. “‘For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jer 29:11, NLT).
3. Don’t take counsel with your fear. Don’t let fear make you doubt God or what He has told you. That you heard from God does not mean that there won’t be problems. The appearance of giants in your journey may surprise you but not God. Giants cannot stop what God wants to do in your life. Don’t let the giants make you doubt God. “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light” (V.Raymond Edman). Name your fear and take it to God in prayer. Don’t let it immobilize you. 2 Tim 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV).
4. Keep praying. Be a man of prayer. Praying shows your trust in God. Those who are self-sufficient don’t pray. 1 Thes 5:17 says pray without ceasing. Pray continually. In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable to illustrate that men ought always to pray and not to give up. So never give up praying. Pray consistently. You cannot defeat the giant in your strength alone.
5. Keep moving. Get busy; don’t be idle – even if you don’t seem to see much reason for it. Use what you have got. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take away your crown (Rev 3:11). Don’t be idle; occupy till Jesus comes (Luke 19:13). Operate with what God has given you; don’t bury your talent. 1 Cor 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (NKJV).
6. Be careful who and what you listen to. Wrong words, wrong counsel can lead to discouragement and eventually quitting. The children of Israel listened to the negative report of the ten spies and decided to quit going to possess the Promised Land. Suppose they had listened to the report of Caleb and Joshua. The outcome would have been favourable to them. They would have made it. But they chose to believe the evil report of the majority of the spies. They erroneously believed that majority was right.
Luke 8:18 says take heed how you hear. Mark 4:24 says take heed what you hear. Prov 12:25 says a good word makes the heart glad. Don’t listen to just anything. Select who you listen to. Engage in selective exposure of yourself to what people say. Your life can not be right if you are hearing wrong things. And one way to ensure this is to ensure that you avoid hanging out with the wrong people and going out to the wrong places.
7. Avoid negative speaking; avoid backward talking. Speak positively. Take heed what you say. Matt 12:37 says, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (NKJV). Prov 12:25 says, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (NKJV). You must control your tongue lest it should put you in trouble.
The children of Israel didn’t tame their tongues. They complained and grumbled against Moses, Aaron and, in fact, God. You may be facing a giant but never say anything unhelpful. Speak only words that agree with what God has promised you. “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh” (James 3:6-12, NKJV).
8. Remain focused and steadfast. Luke 9:51 says Jesus was determined to go to Jerusalem to die. That talks of his steadfastness. Jesus says in Luke 9:62: “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (NKJV). Take note that Scripture does not say “on the plow” but “to the plough.” That’s the difference between a man set to work and a man just posing with an implement! Here is how The Message translation renders Luke 9:62: “Jesus said, ‘No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.’”
9. Be thankful to God. Learn to show gratitude to God remembering all His kindnesses in the past, His miracles,His deliverances. You need to keep your memory fresh and alive to defeat your current giant – it gives you the right attitude, a winning mentality. That was what God did for David. The God that helped him to kill the bear and the lion also helped him to kill Goliath. God that defeated the past giant will deliver the current giant into your hand!
Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name”(NLT). Psalm 103:2 says forget not his benefits but the children of Israel forgot all that He had done for them in the past. That was why they couldn’t believe Him to make them overcome the giants. Only Caleb and Joshua had faith in God to keep His word to give the land to them. But you ought to be able to say what David said: “What shall I render to the LORD For all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD Now in the presence of all His people” (Ps 116:12-14, NKJV). If you are guilty of not remembering God’s power, all His deliverances, you will tremble before every giant!
10. Rejoice always. Phil 4:4 says rejoice in the Lord always. Is 12:3 says with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Neh 8:10 says the joy of the Lord is your strength. But the devil always wants to steal the joy of the children of God because he knows that if he can achieve that, he can deny us of the strength that we need to fight him. Don’t let any negative situation cause you to be sorrowful. Choose to rejoice in the Lord even when the circumstances do not call for joy. Count it all joy all the same (James1:2). No matter how big the giant against you is, never lose your joy. Prophet Habakkuk’s words become very helpful here. He says in Hab 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls — yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills” (NKJV).
God never tells us to be sorrowful because of a giant – a problem we are confronting or is confronting us. He always tells us to rejoice – even the barren is told to sing or rejoice. Not because of the barrenness but because of the goodness of God, and what God will do for the barren. “Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate Than the children of the married woman,’ says the LORD” (Isa 54:1, NKJV). Gal 4:27 also refers to this scripture.
Rejoicing for you should not be a factor of what happened to you or what didn’t happen. It should be a discipline flowing from a decision you have taken. I love how The Message translation renders 1 Thes 5:16. It says, “Be cheerful no matter what.” Don’t let any giant steal your joy. No giant should make you miserable. God will make you triumph over every giant you may face in life. Put your trust in God.
CONCLUSION: If you’re serious about possessing your Promised Land – fulfilling your destiny, you must never quit. Nothing can be truer than the maxim that quitters don’t win and winners don’t quit. Paul J. Meyer says, “Ninety percent of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit.” Don’t quit even if you’ve not achieved your goal yet. Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb after one hundred unsuccessful attempts which he described as a “one thousand step process.” He didn’t see those failed attempts as failure one thousand times. According to him, “Many of life’s failures are just people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Confront your giants, never contemplate giving up. Never quit because of the giants!
If you are not born again, take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Saviour and Lord. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There, you will be taught how to grow in the Lord and how to discover and fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Savior and my Lord and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God.”
I congratulate you if you have said that prayer sincerely. You are now a child of God. May the Lord make you a Cedar Christian. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you.
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523