If we read on in the Old Testament’s account of the Israelites, we learn that God tried to lead them into the Promised Land. But, they were not allowed in because of their unbelief. Moses had sent twelve spies (one for each tribe of Israel) into Canaan in order to bring back a report about the land and the people who lived there. Here is an excerpt from the conversation in the Israelite camp after the spies returned:
Numbers 13:30-33 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
In order for the Israelites to enter the land, they would have to fight for it and take it from the current residents – who were actual giants (the sons of Anak were a people who were much larger in stature than most – for instance, Goliath was a son of Anak). The Israelites were afraid and refused to fight. Below is God’s reaction:
Numbers 14:26-32 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
29 Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me.
30 Doubtless, ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
32 But as for you, your carcasses, they shall fall in this wilderness.
They never lived the life that God had planned for them because they feared the giants. Notice what they said in Numbers 13:33 – “we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight”.
That is a very revealing statement. Not only were they like grasshoppers in the sight of the giants, but, more significantly, they were in their own sight as grasshoppers.
If we are to fulfill the will of God for our lives, it is vital that we have confidence – not as much in ourselves as in God! When we look at ourselves in comparison to our own personal giants (the problems or issues we are struggling to overcome), we may look and feel a lot like a tiny grasshopper. The problem with this point of view is that, as Christians, we should not be comparing ourselves to the giants in our lives; but rather, imagining how minuscule they are in God’s sight. And every time that grasshopper mentality kicks in and your giant comes to torment your mind, imagine yourself AND God fighting together to defeat it. God is on your side…you are not on that battlefield alone. He is standing with you.
We have an enemy who is daily trying to convince us to get discouraged, to live in fear, that life is not worth living, that it’s just no use, that we are no good, that God could never really love us, and on and on – his list of lies is endless.
The place God wanted for His people was called the Promised Land for a reason – it must be taken and conquered through the promises. God had vowed to take the Israelites into the land. If they had only believed His Words, they could have lived the life of abundance that He wanted for them.
The giants did not even have to pick up a spear or sword; they did not defeat the Israelites…their own fears did.
Our emotions are the BEST and the WORST of life. They can be a source of torment when we are listening to Satan, but when we learn to view life with God on our side, our days can be filled with the courage to try the impossible and to conquer the improbable.
Let’s develop a Caleb/Joshua mentality.
Numbers 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it (the Promised Land); for we are well able to overcome it.
Numbers 14:6-9 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
8 If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.
9 Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.
Notice how Joshua and Caleb said, “the people of the land are bread for us – their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us.” They didn’t even call them giants; we need to choose our words carefully in speaking about our problems – don’t magnify them with words, magnify God instead.
What did he mean when he said that the people of the land (the giants) were ‘bread’ for them? What does bread do for our bodies? It nourishes and makes us strong. I think he meant that adversity can be beneficial, because once the swords are sheathed, the spears stashed away and the battle has been won, the lessons learned on the battlefield would prove invaluable. How do we learn for ourselves that God is faithful until we have a problem that only He can help us with? How does our faith grow if it’s never tested?
We will never truly gain confidence and trust in God until we go through the tough times with Him by our side – we will never know how faithful He is until we have been there on the battleground and witnessed firsthand what David said so poignantly, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me…” (Psalm 23:4).
We never learn how present He is until we are presented with a seemingly insurmountable problem. And we will find once the noise of battle is silent and the enemy has retreated that God truly IS faithful. We can then face the next one, and the next with increasingly more trust in Him – this is a confidence that we can never gain without that battlefield experience.
Joshua and Caleb also said, “their defense is departed from them” (Numbers 13:9). We (by faith) have already won before we ever reach the battleground. Satan has already lost. Jesus defeated him for us. Joshua claimed the victory before he fought the fight. Rather than looking at your problems from a grasshopper’s point of view, look at Who is on your side. And He has already won the battle. Let’s claim the victory before (and during) the fight.
In the words of Caleb, let’s go up at once (by faith in God’s Word) and take what has been given to us by Jesus. Satan has no right to keep OUR possession – let’s lay claim to ALL the promises of God (peace, provision, joy, victory, etc.).
Lord, please help us not to see ourselves as grasshoppers, but as groundbreakers and territory takers.
Copyright © 2017 (Sandra J. Briggs) All rights reserved.