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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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After defeating Sihon, king of Heshbon, Israel defeated Og, king of Basham. Og was a giant with an iron bed that was about thirteen feet long and six feet wide (Andrews Study Bible, 3:11 note, p. 222). He was huge. By comparison, those early giants were much taller than Goliath whom the boy David fought many years later. But God said to Israel, “You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you” (v. 22), and God destroyed the giant Og. Consider King Saul who “From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people” (1 Sam. 9:2b); but did not dare to fight Goliath. David, a mere lad, faced the giant: “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you” (1 Sam. 17: 45-46a). David did not go in his own strength. He knew he was no match for the giant. He focused on God, not the giant. In the same way, if there are giants in your life, such as strong habits or addictions that imprison you and seem impossible to defeat or crushing financial problems, take courage! God will help you. Cling to Christ through Bible study and prayer, and God will fight for you; “for it is God who works in you” (Phil. 2:13a).

 

Moses pled with God to enter the promised land, but God said, “No”. “Climb to the top of Pisgah and see the promised land. That’s all.” Why? Had not Moses been true to God for forty years faithfully leading God’s Israel, who were “a stiff-necked people” (Exod. 33:3b)? “Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). The people lacked water, complained to Moses, asking why he brought them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness (Num. 20:2-5). Moses and Aaron “fell on their faces” at the door of the tabernacle, and “the glory of the Lord appeared to them.” God said, “Speak to the rock before their eyes [Israel], and it will yield its water” (Num. 20:6-8). Moses gathered the people before the rock, and said, “Hear now you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” “Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly” (Num. 20:10-11). What was wrong? Moses had responded to the complaints of Israel, not to the clear request of God. He disobeyed God, acted in anger, and claimed that he and Aaron would bring water from the rock, then struck the rock twice rather that speaking to it once. He acted independently and took glory to himself, and misrepresented God before them. There is more to this story, but this will suffice. Israel was the giant that Moses faced. Instead of focusing on Christ, depending on him like David did, he depended on himself and fought in his own strength. Even so God brought the water out of the rock, not Moses.

 

We need to begin each day before our God, never forget His presence and words to us, and only meet crises in His strength, hiding self away in Him. Even though Moses had not represented God in this rash act, God took into consideration his whole life (Heb. 11:23-28), resurrected Moses and took him to heaven (Jude 9), and Moses appeared to Christ in his transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36). What a forgiving, fair and gracious God we have! Remember that when you fall, God is there to take you up into His embrace. He looks at the whole course of your life like He did with Moses.

 

Norman Gulley

Southern Adventist University