Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them. Numbers 14:9, NKJV
When you are only five feet three, and someone who is six feet five towers over you, you quickly learn what intimidation is, especially when the giant leans over you and threatens you. We’d much prefer enemies about our size giving us an equal chance; but, of course, life isn’t always fair.
Sometimes the enemies of life are no less foreboding than the giants whose strength and height make us feel like midgets, and they are certainly no less intimidating.
When Joshua and Caleb, along with the other ten, went into the Promised Land to spy out the land, they came back saying, “There are giants in the land—descendents of Anak!” Ten of them wanted to quit on the spot. “It would be better to have stayed in Egypt,” they said, but two of them—Joshua and Caleb—said, “It’s true, there are giants in the land; but God will surely give it to us.”
In assessing the situation, Joshua made a fascinating statement. He said, “Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them” (Joshua 14:9). The enemies, he said, are “bread” for us. The word he used was generally used for wheat or grain which had been ground and made into a loaf. The same word was used for the showbread in the tabernacle.
He is really saying your bread is not only what you grind but the giants whom God will subdue, which—like the bread you put on your table—is going to produce growth in your life.
Yes, you would prefer that you not have to take on the giants; but remember, without bread you die, and without taking on a few giants, you will never know that God is bigger than any giant you will ever face.
Giants show you the limitations which beset you so you will know that God—not your ingenuity or cleverness—took down the giant. The measure of your fear also reveals the strength or weakness of your faith. Too often we never lift our eyes above the giants to the strength of God above. He turns giants into pigmies.
They are bread for you, says Joshua. An unknown author wrote, “Every time you meet a difficulty, every time you find yourself in an impossible situation, ask yourself this question: ‘Am I going to starve here, or am I going to eat?’ If you are relying on the Lord for victory and allow His overcoming life to be manifested in you, you will find fresh nourishment and increased vitality, and you will be fed once again. Bear in mind that people who do not eat well cannot grow into maturity. Our bread is not only the Word of God, our meat is not only to do His will, our bread is also the Anakim (the giants)—the difficulties in our way.”
So what happens when you see a giant looming in your pathway? Smile and say, “Here comes my bread!” And thank God that the giant can be subdued. A closing thought: Most contemporary, modern translations leave out the phrase calling the giants “bread,” but that’s exactly what Joshua said, and knowing that God put the giant in your path so that you might subdue it and thus grow from the experience makes the whole ordeal less frightening.
Joshua’s advice is good for us today: Don’t rebel against God, don’t fear the giant; but like David, confront him in the name of the Lord, and your giant will be bread for your soul. Indeed!
Resource reading: Numbers 13:1-14:45