Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:27-33)
Anak Versus God
Enjoyed a good Bible lesson from Paul Blake recently where he pointed out the story of the twelve spies returning from Canaan and how ten of those men discouraged the heart of the people to rebel against the Lord. Israel had been brought forth from the bondage of Egypt through the power of God and stood on the threshold of a land promised for many generations through Abraham. Everything was in place for the story to continue and the joy of entering a land flowing with milk and honey would be realized. The evidence of God’s power would be fresh on the minds of the Hebrews as they saw firsthand the plagues leveled against the nation of Egypt and the incredible miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. For the past few months they had stood at the mountain of God seeing and hearing the presence of the Lord as the Law was delivered by the hand of Moses. The enemies who stood against the nation were defeated. Food and water were given to the people in abundance. Israel was standing in a place called Kadesh-Barnea and the only thing that remained was the courage to enter the promised land and enjoy the endless blessings of their Savior. When ten of the leaders of the people gave their report, their lack of faith and trust in the Lord was clearly evident.
The report of the ten spies was discouraging. What they saw were a strong people dwelling in very large fortified cities. It must be remembered that just a few months earlier this great nation was enslaved by the Egyptians as brick makers. Immediately following their deliverance they fought against the Amalekites and by God’s power defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. The Lord had shown His might throughout their journey to Canaan instilling in their minds that no matter what they faced God would take care of them. Seeing the large cities and the strength of the people melted the hearts of the ten spies. What made the situation worse were the giants in the land descending from Anak. These people were giants described as great and tall. Imposing in their presence, the ten spies did not believe they could be defeated. It was thought that no one could stand against the descendants of Anak. Sadly, all the lessons God had taught the people of His greatness fell into the shadows of the fear of the sons of Anak. Only two of the spies believed they could defeat the people of Canaan: Joshua and Caleb. They knew God’s power would give them victory regardless of how tall the people of Anak were because they knew that God “was taller than anyone.” Caleb told the people they were “well able to overcome” if only they would believe. The nation of Israel would wander forty years because they feared Anak more than God. What could not be done at Kadesh-Barnea would be accomplished forty years later against a great and fortified city of Jericho.
There are many children of Anak in our lives today. The fears that fill the mind with doubt, despair and uncertainty cripple the hearts of God’s people to carry out the work of the church, live with courage in their daily walk and believe that eternal life is real. It is easy to love God but then we do not trust Him. The Lord has shown through His word the incredible stories of His power and yet we fear Anak. Throughout the lives of His children the Father imprints His love upon their hearts and yet they still cringe in fear of disease, war, economics and immorality. Anak is alive and well today but like the days of Kadesh-Barnea we must have the faith of Caleb to say we can overcome and we can change the world. Churches are dying because they fear Anak. The faith of God’s people is waning because the children of Anak oppress their hearts. There is no fear when we see that God is mightier than the giants of Anak. Nothing will stand in the way of the purpose of the Lord and when His people realize what power is waiting for them to exercise, the gospel will be spread to very corner of every community and the church of Jesus Christ will grow and increase. Do not let the fear of Anak subdue what can be done through Christ. Take up the banner of faith and fight – the victory has already been assured. Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.