Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)

Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)
From September 26 to November 10, 2017, my husband, daughter and I will be on a ministry trip in Australia and New Zealand. The places we will be visiting are shown on the map above - along with the dates in which we'll be in these places (and what we'll be doing while there). Please keep this ministry trip and all of us in your prayers! Blogs will appear daily throughout this time, as I have written them and scheduled them in advance. I welcome your comments - and enjoy them! Just know I will not have Internet access for much of this time. So, I will look forward to reading your responses upon my return. Thank you for your understanding! And please keep reading to complete the "Reading the Bible in a Year" challenge and blessing! I am very grateful to Claire for her faithful blog comments (please everyone - join her in sharing each day as a discussion blesses everyone so much more!) And I am thankful that Claire has graciously agreed to add a bit more into her daily comments during my time of absence. Please direct special comments or questions which require immediate responses to her (on this blog). Blessings as you continue your journey through God's Word this year!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - March 22, 2017

Today's Reading:

Matthew 20:1-16

Numbers 13-14

Ecclesiastes 9:1-12

Listen to the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In Numbers 13-14, we have the story of the 12 spies being chosen and sent to spy out the land of Canaan on behalf of Israel. Having completed their travels in the Wilderness from Egypt to the very borders of Canaan, Israel stood ready to finally partake of all that God had promised them in this goodly land.

Yet, as the story tells us, ten of the spies brought back a doubt-filled report of "giants" in the land so great that the Children of Israel were only "grasshoppers" by comparison. The resulting faithless response of Israel caused God to send them back from the border of Canaan into the Wilderness again. There they would remain, unable to enjoy the "land flowing with milk and honey" because of their doubt in the power of God. It wasn't until after that whole faithless generation (except for faithful Caleb and Joshua, who were the only spies to give a faith-filled report) died in the wilderness that God brought them back to the border of Canaan once again.

But were the people merely exaggerating? Were their "giants" in the land? Let's look back at the Bible record, along with a few historical resources. We'll start with the Bible story of Israel being attacked by Amalekites while they were camped at Rephidim (which is where water flowed from the rock).



"The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim…” Exodus 17:8-16

It was because of this malicious attack, that Yahweh later judged and punished the Amalekite nation.

"Samuel said to Saul, ‘I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over His people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty says: "I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 1 Samuel 15:1-6

Still, the Bible does not connect the Amalekite nation with the giant Sons of Anak. This connection is found by researching one of the Hebrew terms for “giants,” that being “nefilim.” The Nefilim bene (sons of) Anak, were “giants” of the Amalekite race, as it says in the online Jewish Encyclopedia.

The Hebrew "nefilim bene 'Anaḳ" (Num. xiii. 33) are called "jabbarun" in the Koran (sura v. 25), and "jababirah" in other works, both words being the plural of "jabbar" (giant). In the Koran (l.c.) giants are mentioned in connection with the twelve spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan. According to Mas'udi, the giants were of the Amalekite race. (JewishEncyclopedia.com)

Thus, the sons of Anak, as we have seen, were of the Amalekite nation.  And the Bible tells us that they were “giants.” The word "giant," can be accurately translated as "burly," "a tyrant," or "giant."  This indicates that they were not only large in size, but also they were fierce. And the Israelite warriors appeared to themselves as “grasshoppers” in comparison (Numbers 13:33).

There is linguistic (through the Hebrew word “nefilim”) and archaeological evidence to support the theory that these sons of Anak were physically giants. One such archaeological find is a human femur bone, held by a six-foot tall man in the photo on the next page. A femur bone of this size would have been part of a twelve-foot tall person. Clearly, the Bible means exactly what it says when we read, “There were giants in the earth in those days...” (Genesis 6:4). 

Og of Bashan compared to a 6' tall man
Not only were there giants among the people of Amalek, the sons of Anak also dwelt in the regions of Edom and Moab, bordering Canaan. These people, known in that region as the Rephaim or Anakim, were known by the Moabites to also be descendants of Anak.  They were known by other names, as well. The Moabites called them "Emins," and the Ammonites called them "Zamzummims." 

These Rephaim were of the nine nations living in Palestine at the time God promised the land to Abraham (Genesis 15:20). Og, King of Bashan, was one of the Rephaim, taken out by the Israelites under Joshua (Deuteronomy 3:11, Joshua 12:4; 13:12.) By the measurements, given of his bed, we can determine that Og, also, was of giant size.

It is thought that the giants among the Philistines may have been remnants from these tall and fierce people, who had occupied the valleys of Alush and Rephidim (2 Samuel 21:1; 1 Chronicles 2).  The Bible records that Goliath of Gath was about six cubits and a span in height (1 Samuel 17:4). In modern measurements, this means he was about ten and a half feet tall. The Children of Israel were comparable in size to modern man, so we can see why they referred to themselves as “grasshoppers.”

Let us consider the story of the spies and their report. Twelve trusted men, “elders,” of Israel were sent to scout out the land, as recorded in Numbers Twelve and Fourteen. Each tribe had chosen one of their own most gallant leaders to represent them in this party of surveyors. Perhaps each spy was to determine the portion of land for their tribe.

But while the twelve were all similarly chosen and sent out for the same purpose, their final reports were very different. Ten of the spies were discouraged by what they found in Canaan...   

Faith, which is defined as “visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it,” was far from their minds. Rather than keeping their spiritual eyes firmly upon Yahweh, the vision of these ten spies seemed blocked by giants. Having seen many of the giant sons of Anak roaming the Canaan land, these ten faithless scouts were actually worried that they could not (even with Yahweh’s help) conquer this earthly foe.

Just for a moment, let us consider the foolishness of this faithless perspective, since it is so easy for us to fall into similar faithlessness when facing the "giants" of our own crises. In order for us to fear earthly “giants,” we must have lost our comprehension of Yahweh. Fearing an earthly foe is about as silly as a paramecium in a scientist’s petri dish believing its protist predators are the most fearsome enemy in all the universe. And this viewpoint negates the fact that our Heavenly “Scientist,” in this analogy, has the power to obliterate anything in that dish in a single breath. 

“By doubting Yahweh’s ability to deliver us from any foe… we have unwittingly demonstrated a belief that the enemy’s power is greater than God’s.”

Thinking of our world and the creatures upon it from such a limited point of view causes us to “Earth-size” God.  But God isn't earth-sized at all... Consider the following illustration showing the size of the sun and other planets in our solar system. Look at the size of the earth compared to the sun. Our whole planet is just a speck which is the size of a period!



As the previous picture shows, our world, which astronauts have described as a “mote of dust,” is but a speck among Yahweh’s Creation, in our own solar system alone. Yet our solar star is one of an estimated one hundred billion, located within the Milky Way; a galaxy so vast it would take 100,000 years, traveling at the speed of light, to cross it.  And our galaxy is but one among another hundred billion galaxies encompassing the known universe. The God we worship is the Creator of all this. How foolish then that our problems becomes so large in our eyes that they seem to encompass the whole universe, surpassing the Creator’s might and power! 

Actually such an earthly viewpoint is one of the worst and most dangerous forms of idolatry. By doubting Yahweh’s ability to deliver us from any foe, no matter how dark or demonic, we have unwittingly demonstrated a belief that this enemy’s power is greater than God’s.

This is why the Bible instructs us repeatedly to “fear not.” In fact, the command not to fear appears (in one form or another) in the Bible a total of three hundred and sixty-five times! That’s one “fear not” command for each day of the solar year.

For those who continue to walk in fear, despite all that Yahweh has promised and commanded, Canaan (the ultimate Promised Land) is an impossible goal. Like the Children of Israel, who could not enter physical Canaan because of their idolatrous fear of the giants, so those who are fearful in the end of time will come short of the glory of God. Ultimately, the fearful are the first ones cast into the Lake of Fire.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death, Revelation 21:7-8.

In truth, Yahweh is not powerless to aid His people in facing the “giants.” In fact, He is all powerful! As the Bible tells us in numerous ways and places, Yahweh is Almighty. He is the One in charge of our lives. And He will deliver His people, if we will trust Him.

Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear, Isaiah 59:1.

God is in the midst of her (His people) she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered His Voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge… He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire.  Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge, Psalm 46:10-11.

In light of this, there is no factual basis for Yahweh’s people to fear an enemy. Rather the temptation to fear is born of a distorted perspective which reduces Yahweh in our eyes, until we have “Earth-sized” Him, while magnifying our adversaries or trying situation. 

Do you belong to God? Are you His Blood-bought child? If so, the truth is this: God is with you - you are not to fear!


Numbers 14:9  "...Rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not."