Giants are those challenges or obstacles that we encounter in our journey through life that appear to be insurmountable and undefeatable. Sometimes they are people, but more often they are the circumstances that we are facing. They are larger than life and are overwhelming and intimidating. They stand between us and the realization of the promise that God has given us; and they pride themselves on confronting people that are already journeying through the uncertainty of a wilderness journey. Do not think they are an illusion. Not only do they look like they could defeat you, in many instances they truly do have their hearts set on doing just that.
Meet Og (Numbers 21:31-35). Og was an Amorite king who lived in the city of Bashan. His kingdom was on the east side of the Jordan River. His kingdom was not truly a part of the land that God had promised the Israelites. The Israelites were simply planning to pass through his kingdom on the way to the Promised Land. But Og, like the other Amorite kings, decided that he wasn’t going to permit them to do so. He was going to stand in their way. Og had heard about the defeat of the other Amorite kings by the God of the Israelites; but that did not dissuade him. As far as he was concerned, that was them, but he was Og!
We get a little more insight into Og when we read, “Incidentally, King Og of Bashan was the last of the giant Rephaites. His iron bed was more than thirteen feet long and six feet wide. It can still be seen in the Ammonite city of Rabbah” (Deuteronomy 3:11 NLT). I like the fact that the entire verse is in parentheses and begins with the word “incidentally”. Can’t you just hear it? “Og and his entire army are attacking; and, oh by the way, do you know why Og has a bed that is more than thirteen feet long?” Og is twelve to thirteen feet tall! “Don’t worry; you can’t miss Og, he’s the big dude on the right that smashes people like you and me without working up a sweat.” My head would barely reach his kneecaps – we’re talking a BIG guy! Og was one of the race of giants that had inhabited the land since before the days of Abraham. This whole region was called the land of giants. Portions of the region extended into the Promised Land, and it was giants like Og that the twelve spies had spoken of when they had given their report thirty-eight years earlier. And let’s admit it, it is one thing to hear about the giants, it is quite another to encounter them personally.
Sometimes i enjoy when the Bible is silent on a point. For example, King Og was attacking the Israelites (he initiated the attack) and the Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him.” Don’t you wonder what Moses said to God before God told him not to be afraid. i personally think he was standing there with wide eyes and his mouth hanging open. i mean, Moses had seen Pharaoh and knew the Egyptian traditions that taught that the Pharaoh had hung the sun and the moon. But Og LOOKED like he had hung the sun and the moon. He was an intimidating giant! Moses looked at himself, then he looked at the other Israelite men, then he looked at the giant and he thought to himself, “There is no way we can beat this guy”. And he would have been right. On their own, they couldn’t defeat Og.
But then Moses turned to God, and God said, “Don’t be afraid of him”, (and if you’ll permit my paraphrase) “Og’s head doesn’t even reach My kneecaps.I have given you victory over the Amorites, and that includes Og and his entire army. And you will not just defeat Og, you will utterly destroy him” (Numbers 21:34). And not a survivor remained.
In Deuteronomy we read that Og’s iron bed could still be seen in the city of Rabbah. Do you know why they kept that bed? They kept it as a reminder that there is no enemy big enough or giant tall enough to intimidate God. You see, the Israelites stood there looking up at Og and saw “O-G”, the giant; however, God looked down upon Og from His perspective and saw “G-O”, the next step in the path to God’s glory.
The lesson the Israelites learned that day was – and the lesson that we must learn today is – that God will take the OGs in our path and turn them into GOs. In His sovereignty, God has permitted every circumstance and every obstacle that we encounter along the way to be in our path. God didn’t place the desire within Og’s heart to attack the Israelites; but He knew that Og had set his heart to do so. And God intended to use that attack for His glory.
Remember that there is no giant or obstacle that you will encounter in your path today or throughout your journey that God is not able to overcome. Get your eyes off the giant and turn them to God. Also bear in mind that Og was probably not the only giant on the field that day. His army was probably composed of many giants. Not only does their size not intimidate God, neither does their number. If God promised to defeat the Amorites in your path so that you can inhabit the land, He didn’t just mean the little bitty ones; He meant ALL of them, including the Og’s. Watch and see how God leads you to victory in the way that brings the greatest glory to Him!
Excerpts from The Wandering Years, chapter 32
(By the way, i am in the early stage of writing my second novel, Through the Eyes of a Spy, that looks at the faithfulness of God through the eyes of one of the twelve Israelite spies – Caleb. i would appreciate your prayers as i endeavor to tell the story in a way that amplifies a truth that we all need to be mindful of each and every moment of each and every day.)