When the Israelite spies came to report back to Moses all they had seen in the land that God had promised them, in addition to the descriptions of milk and honey and fruits of all kinds, they also reported that the land was full of giants.
But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. (Numbers 13:28)
After God led them on a wilderness trek, the descendants of these spies were then ready to take the land of Canaan, just as God had promised to their ancestors so long ago. As they prepared to go into the land, He gave them instructions. While these instructions were directed at the Israelites, and intended to provide a guide for their success in taking the promised land, they also seem to me to be good instructions for Christians today as we go out and face the giants who would tear down our faith.
…if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. (Numbers 33:55)
I once read a quote attributed to Søren Kierkegaard that went something like this:
No one who plants a garden saves a corner of the plot for growing weeds.
It seems harsh to us that God would tell the Israelites to plunder and kill all the inhabitants of the land they were about to take. But, He knows there are giants out there who would tear you down. There are minor temptations you will want to keep in your life. But you must not be daunted by the giants, and you must drive out every little thing that stands in the way of your relationship with Christ.
Every. Little. Thing.
And if you don’t, it will become “barbs in your eyes, thorns in your sides, and will give you trouble in the land where you live.”