In December 2009 I wrote a blog titled “Concentrate on the Grapes and not the Giants.” It was a story about one of my favorite heroes of the Bible—Caleb. I admire this brave explorer. When Caleb and the eleven others were sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan, he and his friend Joshua were the only ones to bring back a good report. Only these two had a positive attitude and believed in God’s power to help them conquer the giants.
Yes, there were giants in the land, and they saw themselves as grasshoppers when they looked at them. But there were also giant grapes.
They saw giant men, but they came back showing off giant grapes. Two men carried a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes on a pole between. Talk about bounty!!!
Caleb and Joshua concentrated on the grapes, but the other men concentrated negatively on the powerful people who lived in Canaan and the fortified and very large cities.
My hero Caleb, this faith-powered spy and explorer, silenced the negative people and assured them they could go and take possession of the land. But the doubting ten men, who had gone with him to Canaan, said there was no way they could attack those people, because they saw them as strong giants. So they spread among the Israelites a bad report and discouraged the Israelites.
Why is that we are so prone to listen to negativity?! Caleb and his friend Joshua talked positively and tried to inspire them to believe in God and to go conquer the land. “But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.”
As a result of the unbelief of the ten spies and consequently the whole assembly they had to wonder for forty years in the desert, until each of the unbelievers died. Their children had to suffer because of their lack of faith. Only Caleb and Joshua lived to see the Promised Land! (Read the story in Numbers 13 & 14.)
“Concentrate on the grapes and not on the giants.”
We all have giants to battle; they come in all forms and sizes. But our God is stronger; his power is greater. His bounty is plentiful. Whatever situation you’re in, think of the grapes! There might be “giants” coming against you, but the “grapes” of God’s mercy and grace are gigantic!
We go through seasons in our life. Sometimes things waltz along smoothly; other times the going is rough. That’s life! I know from experience. The last few years I’ve had some tough “giants” to face, but I’ve kept my eyes on the “grapes” and in Jesus I have been –and I am– “more than a conqueror” (see Romans 8:37). Truth is, the rougher the road, the closer you can get to the Lord and the more you can experience his grace. It doesn’t matter how many giants we have around us, let’s concentrate on the big clusters of the grapes of God’s grace.
This morning I barely made it to church because the neuropathy pain in my feet was so bad. But I made it! My surgeon brother says that when nerves get damaged it takes a looong time for them to heal. “How long?” I asked him. He had two words of “encouragement” for me: years or never! That’s a giant! I don’t have to concentrate on it. The grapes of God’s grace are sweeter by the day!
I don’t like to talk about myself and my situation. I’m just saying this to point out that we can always look to the Lord and see the “grapes.” Whatever you are going through, the positive side is that it could always be worse. My pain is nothing compared to what others have to endure, but it’s my pain and I have to deal with it.
Your situation could be easier or worse than others, but it’s your situation and you have to deal with it. I pray that you have the courage and determination that Caleb and Joshua had. All those years in the desert, suffering because of their fellow-brethren’s unbelief, they had a picture of the grapes, of the bounty that awaited them. Caleb kept a dream alive of a mountain he had seen, and when they finally conquered Canaan he claimed it. (Read the story in Joshua 14:6-14.)
I’m optimistic about the future. I hope you can look on the bright side of your future. OUR FUTURE IS AS GREAT AS THE PROMISES OF GOD! Let’s keep our eyes on the goodness and mercy of God.
If you have not yet decided to follow Christ, click on the link KNOWING JESUS — “Follow Christ” in the margin or send me note at kelund AT attDOTnet. I will be happy to pray for you.
Concentrate on the grapes of God’s grace and not
the giants of life’s ups and downs!