Giants

 

Sussex by the Sea is our unofficial county anthem and the unofficial anthem for Yorkshire is On Ilkla Mooar baht’at. For those not familiar with the latter the song is a warning about what will happen to you if you go onto Ilkley Moor, without a hat, and catch your death of cold.

 

During my recent break, up in Yorkshire, I was pretty lucky with the weather and seem to have survived walking on Ilkley Moor without a hat. The Yorkshire Dales are glorious when the sun is shining and even when it rains you can argue that it makes the many waterfalls even better.

 

However I think it would be less desirable to be around when it is blowing a gale. At Troller’s Gill, also in the Dales, the legend of the howling Barghest, a spectral hound, no doubt has its origin in the roaring wind.

 

It is not difficult when you look at some of the other natural wonders, such as the great limestone pavements at Malham Cove, to see how people came up with the legends of supernatural forces. The Malham guidebook will tell you all you need to know about how the rocks really evolved into a paved plateau. Personally I couldn’t help thinking that it looked more like the flooring from a giant’s house. It reminded me of a scene in C.S. Lewis’s novel The Silver Chair where the heroes realize that they have been standing on a pavement made by the ancient giants.

 

There are plenty of references to giants in the Bible. The Israelites are initially scared to enter the Promised Land, because it is filled with giants and they felt like grasshopper next to them (Numbers 13:31-32). The Amorites, one of the Israelite enemies, are described as being as tall as the cedar trees (Amos 2:9-10). Perhaps most famously the young shepherd boy, David, takes on the mighty giant Goliath in single combat (1 Samuel 17).

 

There has been much debate over whether the Bible is referring to ‘real’ giants, or simply using the term to describe giant forces opposed to God’s will and His people. According to the first book of the Bible giants are supposed to have originated when some of the angels went wrong and mated with women on earth. That story suggests to me that whilst there probably were some enormous warriors around the term giant, in the Bible, also stands for anyone who had gone wrong in a ‘big’ way.

 

We have plenty of challenging modern giants. If you have ever tried to deal with a big (giant) company when you have a problem, it is a real triumph if you manage to speak to a human being. The world community, of course, also faces giant problems relating to issues such as energy, food, health, housing and pollution. We can feel overwhelmed by all the giant-sized problems we have to face.

 

The ancient world didn’t really think individuals mattered. It was the Christian faith that brought to the world the notion that people are important and all are worthy of respect. God in Jesus Christ spoke of how each of us is so precious to Him that even the hairs of our head are numbered (Luke 12:7). So when we feel concerned by giant problems we can remember how we are individually precious to God and do what good we can.

 

Posted By: valerie

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