Giants

More stream-of-consciousness thoughts on Scriptures today.  Forgive me if this doesn’t make sense. 

I love Psalm 22, and how God honored David so much that He fulfilled the psalm in the life of Jesus.  When God takes it upon Himself to keep our words from falling to the ground, it releases us into prophetic boldness.  We don’t have to take it upon ourselves to make sure what we say will happen; we simply have to apply ourselves to obedience and align our words to His. 

The pastor of the church I’m attending gave the following illustration last Sunday:

Life with God is like a man who was teaching his five-year-old son how to “drive.”  The man placed the son in his lap, and the son gripped the steering wheel with white-knuckled hands.  So intent on driving was the son that he remained completely oblivious to the fact that his feet could not reach the pedals and his father still had a hand on the wheel and was the one who was really  in control.  The car stayed on course because the father was directing it–but he allowed his son the experience of driving.  So it is when we walk with God.  He is the One applying the brakes or the gas, and He is the One in control directing us where we’re supposed to go; He allows us the experience of living without ever taking His hands off the wheel.

Back to Psalm 22.  The following passage piqued my curiosity today:

 12 Many bulls have surrounded Me;
         Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.
 13 They gape at Me with their mouths,
         Like a raging and roaring lion.

I wondered what the significance of a bull from Bashan was; and my word-searching led me to Og, the king of Bashan, in Deuteronomy 3.  King Og was one of the last of the Rephaim, a race of giants mentioned in the Old Testament along with the sons of Anak and the Zuzim.  His name literally meant “long-necked,” and he was one of the last representatives of the Rephaim.  Scripture tells us that his iron bed frame was thirteen feet long and six feet wide.  Even if he was two feet shorter than his bed, that would make him easily as tall as Goliath. 

King Og and his army came out to attack Moses and the Israelites as they passed through on their way to the Promised Land.  Numbers 21 tells us that Moses first went through the land of the Amorites and sent a message to their king asking for a peace treaty while they passed through.  “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into fields or vineyards; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” (Num. 21:22)  However, King Sihon refused to allow them safe passage, so the Israelites destroyed the city and took possession of his country.

When they turned to pass through Bashan, King Og gathered his army and marched out to meet them, and the Lord told Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand; you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon” (Deut. 3:2).  And, true to His promise, the Lord completely routed the giant-king and his armies before the Israelites.

The word for “giants” in Deuteronomy 3 is Strong’s H7497–word rapha’ used as a proper gentilic noun to mean giants.  I’m no deep scholar into ancient Hebrew and Greek, but I do find it interesting that this word comes from the word rapha’ used as a verb (Strong’s H7495) meaning “to heal.”  The verb rapha’, incidentally, was God’s word-of-choice in Exodus 15:26 at the waters of Marah when He named Himself to Moses as “Jehovah-Rapha” meaning, “the God who heals you.”  The primitive root, foundation word for these giants originally pointed to God.  Even in the construction of words, He is greater than the giants.

Perhaps one of the reasons that Goliath’s challenges were such an affront to the Lord and to David was the fact that the Lord had proven Himself already as the mighty One who defeats giants.  The Israelites had relegated the mighty, delivering power of the Lord in their heritage to mere legend.  But then, so do we.

We all must have our own experiences with God–our own arsenal of faith to pull out during the tough times, if you will; however, that does not excuse us from ignoring His faithfulness in our heritage.  As Christians, we are often quick to push our generation’s Simeons and Annas to the back corner of the church, considering them too slow or too out-of-date to relate to our modern lives.  Unfortunately, often this only serves to make them feel worthless and to alienate us from the encouragement in the faith that would launch us into victory over our giants.  God orchestrated us to need each other. 

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things. . . (Titus 2:1-3)

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One Response to Giants

  1. Joe says:

    Chrystal, I like your comment about the “Simeons and Annas”. I was listening to a sermon series from Don Carson a while ago and he mentioned how the Psalms are a favorite of more mature Christians because, as he puts it, “the book of Psalms resonates with people who’ve had a lot of experiences”. We can see David going through almost all of the major events of his life in the Psalms and can relive these with him, and grow and benefit. We should be eager to do the same with the Simeons and Annas and learn from their experiences as well.

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