Wednesday, October 27, 2010

chasing away the giants

And Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak, Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the descendants of Anak.
Joshua 15:14

The sons of Anak (anakim in Hebrew - "the long-necked ones") were valiant leaders and giants. Archeology has unearthed Hebrew skeletons from biblical times. Reconstruction of your average bronze age Jewish male puts him at about five foot five and a hundred and sixty pounds. The Anakim would only need to be a foot taller to be a difficult foe. But the text way back in the book of Numbers says they were giants. Caleb was one of the few people who thought Israel could take care of these big boys with God's leadership. He was right. He got to chase them off!

The way the text reads is interesting. Caleb drove them off. They ran away from an 85 year old Jew! Evidently they fled to Philistia (north of Israel) because later another scrawny Jew, a mere youth named David, fights Goliath who is said to be descended from the Anakim. The conquest of Canaan could not be complete without these giants being driven away. And it is fitting that Caleb did so.

Faith chases away the giants. That is the encouragement that I receive in this story. We all have our fears and various categories where we find it difficult to trust God... those are the giants. But faith in God's promise can provide the strength and commitment necessary to drive them away and find the peace that God can bring. It still requires action. Evidently Caleb led a campaign of his own with recruited troops and incentives to capture the territory he claimed (Joshua 15:15-19). But it was faith that gave him the courage to obey God's promise in the fight. That is how the Lord helps us fight giants.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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