Sermon for August 23, 2020

What we are willing to sacrifice for our comfort?

Numbers 14:1-12

Ask yourself the question, what makes you comfortable?  The next question to follow this one, what are you most afraid of?  While these are two separate questions, when compared to what is common among all humanity, we often use the two questions together.  We often will place ourselves in a place of comfort because it places us in a position to avoid our fears or dislikes.  When we get out of our comfort zones, oftentimes we grumble.  What GIANTS made them grumble and complain.

  • Numbers 13:21- the sons of Anak (the descendants of the Nephilim or Anakim)
    • Anak in NOT a Hebrew word but rather a Philistine title.  They are often referred as GIANTS or unusually tall (and that could be the case), however, they are also referred to as the “heroes of old”. (Genesis 6:4)[1]
    • The Greek poet Homer is credited with being the first to write down the epic stories of ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey,’ and the impact of his tales continues to reverberate through Western culture.  (sometime between the 12th and 8th centuries BC)[2]
    • The book of Numbers has historically been accepted as to have been written around the year 1428 BC. (15th century)
    • Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are lengthy tales of the deeds of superhuman heroes of the past, who were often involved in great wars. Future generations often measured their own virtue against that of the epic heroes they read about. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey focus on the exploits of a single protagonist: the godlike warrior Achilles in the Iliad and the wily, cunning Odysseus in the Odyssey.  Instead of being called GIANTS, they were called TITANS.
    • Both are referencing the oral traditions handed down to them, both celebrating these historic stories of these “heroes of old”! 

 Why does any of this matter?  Well, the Israelites were going into an area that served other gods.  Tales and stories of heroes depicted. Great fortified cities.  Stories of historic victories by fearless leaders or were the direct offspring of gods.  Not only that, they were completely outnumbered (they felt like grasshoppers).  Notice what they said in verse 13:33: there was some intimidation going on here!  What do we learn here?

Grumblers purposely cause division and purposefully share plans with the enemy!

  • So, what happened next?
    • Numbers 14:1-12[3]

[1] MacLaurin, E. C. B. “Anak/ʾανξ.” Vetus Testamentum 15, no. 4 (1965): 468-74. Accessed August 17, 2020. doi:10.2307/1516615.

[2] https://www.biography.com/writer/homer. Accessed August 17, 2020.

[3] http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/homer/index.php?page=hande . Accessed August 17, 2020.

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