That’s what the Israelites said after they got the report from the spies about those giants in the land of Canaan. Eight or nine feet tall. Made the spies feel like grasshoppers.
“Who is God trying to kid? There’s no way we can go in there and take the land of Canaan from people like that. We are not able.”
This in spite of the fact that Caleb and Joshua had just said, “We are well able to overcome them.” After all, they had recently been delivered from the mightiest army in the world. Miriam had sung in Exodus 15, “The peoples have heard; they tremble; pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia. . . . all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.” Canaan—the land where they were headed. The land of giants. Giants who, for all their towering bravado, in the secret places of their hearts were trembling with fear.
Forty years later when all those Israelite doubters were dead and the new generation arose, they prepared to go into the very same land, with the very same giants. But this time they said, “Truly the Lord has given all the land into our hands. And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.” This time, they were able.
I’m sure it didn’t hurt that Rahab of Jericho had said, “We’ve all heard about what your God did to the Egyptians, and our hearts melt with fear.” What? You mean to say that for all this past forty years, ever since the first spies gasped at sight of the giants, this is what was really going on? Even those people in Jericho, the city with two walls, each at least six feet thick and 45 feet high—even they were trembling with fear? That’s what she said.
When the Israelites heard this report, they knew. “The Lord has already given all the land into our hands.” They knew in their own strength they weren’t able—it was ridiculous to think of their motley band taking such a city. But the Lord . . . now that’s a different story. He would fight the battle, just as He had at the Red Sea. In Him, they were able.
Almost five hundred years later, we hear an eerie echo when Saul said to David, “You are not able to go up against this giant.” David knew that perfectly well. But he also knew God. He told the story about the lion and the bear and said, “God will deliver this giant into my hands.”
I’m not able in my own strength, but that’s beside the point. God is. And I believe Him. He’ll accomplish this work through me.
The New Testament shows it again and again. Even though in our own strength we’re not able, God is. Ephesians tells us that He’s able to do far more than we ask or think. Ephesians is also the place that we read, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. . . . Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day.”
It’s an evil day. There are giants in the land. In our own strength, we are not able to face them. There’s no way.
But in Christ, through His strength, by His holy armor, we are well able to overcome them. Deliverance comes through faith in Him alone.