Summary: Why do we come up against giants in life? This sermon talks about giants and the purpose they serve in our spiritual lives.
I stand before you today a hair under 6 feet 1 inch. Among the men, I am the shortest in my family. My father stands 6 feet 2 inches, my grandfather 6 feet 4 inches (before he started shrinking). My brothers stand 6 feet 3 inches and 6 feet 7 ½ inches. My oldest brother Jay is the tallest. Jay was predicted to be 6 feet 4 inches and Matt and I were predicted to both be 6 feet 2 inches. Matt apparently stole an inch from me and reached 6 feet 3 inches. But Jay has always been the tallest in our family.
At 6 feet 7 ½ inches Jay draws a lot of attention. My father in law was so amazed the first time he saw Jay he requested a picture. (Powerpoint) My father in law stands about 5 feet 4 inches. When Jay was in college, he went on a work and witness trip to Mexico. At that time he only stood 6 feet 5 inches. But he returned with stories of the amazement of the children at the worksite. Obviously Jay was their favorite person to spend time with. He was gigantic and probably the biggest person any of them had ever seen. He said they would climb onto a ledge that put them close to his height, and then they would jump onto his back, grab hold of his hair and yell CABALLO! Caballo means horse and he would run around with them holding onto his shoulders and head.
Time magazine wrote an article on a man from the Ukraine named Leonid Stadnik. (Put up pictures on PowerPoint. Stop at third picture and leave up until I stop talking about him.) He currently stands 8 feet, 4 inches tall, seven inches taller than a man from Tunisia listed by the Guinness Book of World records as the tallest living man. Stadniks unusual growth began after a brain operation at age 14. Although he was once able to work as a veterinarian at a cattle farm, he had to quit three years ago after his feet were frostbitten because he couldn’t afford proper shoes for his 17-inch feet. He sleeps on two beds joined together lengthwise and moves in a crouch through the small one-story house he shares with his mother. He weighs 440 pounds and suffers from constant knee pain. His friends are trying to organize a trip to the Carpathian Mountains to show him that there is something in the world taller than he is.
I’m sure each of you knows someone who is head and shoulders above the rest. We have several very tall people in our own church. What is it about tall people that grab our attention? We are fascinated with them. I find it interesting that we have several stories in the bible that speak specifically about tall people. So it would seem to me that humanity has always been fascinated by those with extra height.
I want us to look at a story today in the book of Numbers, chapter 13. Numbers 13: 1-2, 26-33. While you find Numbers let me give you some background on the story before we begin. Moses has brought the people out of Egypt and towards the Promised Land. They have already seen many miracles; they crossed the red sea on dry land. They received food from the sky and water from a rock. They have seen the presence of God with them each day and night, a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Moses even had a tent outside of the camp where he went to meet with God and when he returned his face was radiant as a result of meeting with God.
Numbers chapter 13, let’s first read verses 1-2. The people are now close enough to the Promised Land to send men to explore the land. God instructs Moses to send one leader from each tribe. And so Moses does just that. He selects one leader from each of the twelve tribes and sends them on their way to explore the land. After forty days they returned from exploring the land. Let’s pick the story up in verse 26-33.
Interestingly only verse 27 talks about the land, which is what God asked them to go and look at. These leaders of the tribes come back and they say Moses, listen man that land there is great. It is just like you said, it is a land of plenty, look we even brought back a sample of the grapes, but…..Now to be fair to these explorers, Moses had indeed asked them to report on the people who lived there and the types of cities they lived in. But interestingly enough I don’t see those instructions in the message God delivered to Moses. The message God delivered to Moses in the 2nd verse was to go explore the land, which God was giving to them. He didn’t say go and check out the enemy and see if you can beat them. He said go check out the land I am giving you.