Giant Vision Problems
“We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
What Are The Odds?
This morning I want to show you a description or quote about a famous person and I want you to guess who I am talking about. So put on your thinking caps and here we go.
1. After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, a 1933 memo from the MGM testing director said: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in hisBeverly Hills home.
2. An expert said of famous football coach Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.”
3. Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was advised by her family to find work as a servant or seamstress.
4. Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless as a composer.
5. The teacher of famous opera singer Enrico Caruso said Caruso had no voice at all and could not sing.
6. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for lacking ideas. He also went bankrupt several times before he builtDisneyland.
7. Eighteen publishers turned down Richard Bach’s 10,000 word story about a soaring seagull before Macmillan finally published it in 1970. By 1975, Jonathan Livingston Seagull had sold more than seven million copies in theU.S. alone.”
Taken from Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit,
- JK Rowling – Harry Potter author She was rejected by many publishers, when her 1st book was published they would only issue 1,000 copies, she was told to hide her identity as a woman
- Seal – (Sealhenry Samuel) a native of Nigeria he contracted the disease lupus. In its rare form, discoid lupus erythematosus, the disease affects the skin, leaving large scars.
- Danny Glover – suffered from epilepsy, a disorder of the brain characterized by sudden seizures. He also has dyslexia, a reading difficulty in which people often confuse letters or words and may read or write words or sentences in the wrong order.
- Hikllary Swank – raised, for the most part, in a small trailer by a lake. Outcast from her peers and poor. When she was 13, her parents divorced. She and her mother packed their bags and headed for Hollywood when Swank was 16, living out of a car while Swank auditioned for roles. She dropped out of high school.
- 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) – Born to a cocaine-dealing, 15-year-old mother, r. His mother, continued to sling cocaine until she was murdered when Jackson was 8. Jackson then moved in with his grandmother and his eight aunts and uncles. At 11, he started selling crack on the streets. By the age of 12, he was carrying drugs and a gun with him to school. In 10th grade, he was caught and decided to come clean with his grandmother, telling her straight up he was a dope dealer. He began getting arrested in the mid 1990s for drugs and served six months in prison where he earned his GED
In 1962, Victor and Mildred Goertzel published a revealing study of 413 “famous and exceptionally gifted people” called Cradles of Eminence. They spent years attempting to understand what produced such greatness, what common thread might run through all of these outstanding people’s lives.
Surprisingly, the most outstanding fact was that virtually all of them, 392, had to overcome very difficult obstacles in order to become who they were.
Holy Sweat, Tim Hansel, 1987, Word Books Publisher, p. 13
Read Passage – Numbers 13:17-33
17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.) 21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol,[a] they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. 26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” 30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Wandering For a Long Time
Let’s review where we are as we approach Numbers chapter 13. The Israelites have been wandering for 40 years. 40 years earlier they had leftEgyptafter seeing the miracles of God and His hand in freeing them from the oppression and tyrannical rule of the Egyptians and Pharaohs. They saw all the plagues and then when they were finally set free, they saw God take care of the Egyptians by drowning hem in theRed Sea. They also have seen God through a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud that have led them through the dessert. They have seen him produce manna, water, food, etc. yet they still choose not to believe him many times. After many disobedicences God became frustrated and as they were on the brink of entering the Promised Land they are turned around and wander in the dessert for 40 years because God has said that none of the males 20 years old or more would not enter the Promised Land. When we come to Numbers 13, all the males 20 years and older had died. This was time for a new generation, a new generation of Israelites to listen to God and to move into the land He had promised them.
The Giants We Face
Life is a journey and sometimes it feels more like a wandering and that wandering can feel like it’s taking a long time. As we go through life we face all kinds of obstacles. Many are big and daunting; they’re giants. The Israelites are now about to enter the Promised Land but there are a few obstacles in the way. The land is filled with people called Anakalites, and these are bib, big, people. They are strong. Their cities are big. But…just like the giants that the Israelites faced as they headed into the promised land, we face giants and obstacles that can appear to be overwhelming and can prevent us from moving forward and achieving what we want to do. Here are a few of those Giants:
- Ø Fear
First, we face the giants of fear. Giants paralyze us, frighten us, scare us and can stop us before we even get going. It did the Israelites, vs. 28:
“But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” vs. 28
Fear is very prohibitive in allowing us to move forward.
- Ø Comfort and complacency
We also face the giant of comfort and complacency.
“The land we explored devours those living in it.” vs. 32
It’s hard to believe but the Israelites had gotten used to the desert and used to the lifestyle. Many times the Israelites even wanted to go back toEgypt. They believed the lies they told themselves about it being good. Remember this is the place they were slaves, they were crying out for God to save them the Bible tells us, they were forced to work and build things for the Pharaohs, their sons were being killed as soon as they were born, and they wanted to go back! Remembering it as good! They were scared of what was ahead and wanted the comfort of the desert. How crazy is that.
Ex. Some of the tribes had gotten so comfortable and complacent (the 2 ½ tribes Rueben, Gad, and ½ tribe of Mannasseh) that they even stayed on the other side of theJordan, never went in really went into the Promised land.. Verse 32:
- Ø Being In The Minority
Third, there is the giant of being in the minority. It’s that giant that says you don’t want to go against the grain, that somehow the majority must be in the right.Verse 30:
“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” vs. 30
Being in the minority can be lonely and scary. Twelve spies went into the Promised Land to spy out what they were moving toward. Ten of theme said it was a great land but they should not go in. the people were to big and strong and the cities too fortified for them to take over. Caleb and Joshua were the only one who wanted to go in and claim God’s land. Being outnumbered by friends and people and it is not a good feeling and can stop us from really accomplishing and being all we are suppose to be.
- Ø Unbelief
Then there is the giant of unbelief. Verse 31:
“But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” vs. 31
I know this sounds a lot like #1 and it has a lot of fear too, but unbelief takes it a step further and not only have we now limited ourselves, we have placed limits on God too. We get to the point of not being able to see God’s power over all things and what he can do. Sometimes, we have to realize our fear and unbelief can be an asset to us. I’ll explain this is a bit.
Overcoming The Giants In Our Lives
So how can we overcome the giants in our lives? Today we are going to look at Caleb and his faith and what we learn from him. We hear a lot about Joshua, but in our passage today, notice it is Caleb that stands up, Caleb that declares his faith, and Caleb that is trusting God. Here’s what he does.
1. Choose To Believe God’s Promises
First, he makes a decision. His decision is to choose to believe in God’s promises. Verse 27:
“They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!” vs. 27
The people had heard the promises of God. Now they had seen what He said was true. The land was flowing with milk and honey. But at this point 10 of them choose to believe what they saw with their eyes and not what was promised to them by God. They were really looking at their own limitations and how it appeared to them.
We all live in choice. We sometimes have the fortune of evening seeing what God has promised. The question we ask ourselves is will we choose to believe God. Even saying that sounds odd but many times we see the things we know God has promised and then don’t believe it. David said in Psalm 145:
“The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.” Psalm 145:13
The Israelites had been promised this land. We have promises from God too. Are you choosing to believe in those promises?
Ex. Peace – John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”
Joy – John 15:11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Strength – Psalm 29:11 “The LORD gives strength to his people…”
Hope – 1 Peter 1:3 “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope…”
And the list goes on.
2. Are You Willing To Move Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Second, if you believe God’s promises, are you willing to move out of your comfort zone to see them happen in your life? Listen to what Caleb did in verse 30:
“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said…” vs. 30
Caleb steps up and when all the others are saying “don’t go” he says “let’s go!” Think about how it is when you feel in the minority. It’s easier to be quiet, to question yourself and your views, it’s easier to just sit back and let the majority rule. But there are times that we are called to step up and take a stand, to be the voice for God and to say what needs to be said, even though it can be uncomfortable and awkward.
Ex. Put a piece of paper on the ground and use it as a comfort zone. Show what you can do but then what you can’t. Then step out of the comfort zone and express some freedom.
God says in Prov. 16:9
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Prov. 16:9
When God establishes your steps you have freedom. Think about it, if it really is from God and it’s his will, what can stop you? Nothing! Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone?
3. Focus On The Right Things
Finally, third, we have to focus on the right thing. Remember what the 10 said? Verse 32:
“And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored.” vs. 32
These 10 spies were looking at the people, the cities, the land, the fruit, etc. But they failed to keep their focus on the right thing. They were looking at what they thought they could do and Caleb looked at what God could do and how it could bring him glory. I love this verse in Psalm 25:15 and the way it reads in The Message:
“If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t trip over my own feet.” Psalm 25:15 (The Message)
When we keep our eyes on ourselves we only see what we can do. When we keep our eyes on God, we put him in control and in the right view so that He receives glory and honor.
Ex. Cutting the piece of wood and keeping my eyes on the line not the blade.
It’s Not What You See But How You See It