By Lisa Huddleston
“To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them” (Numbers 13:33).
Moses told the 12 scouts, “See what the land is like, and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. Is the land good or bad? Are the cities encampments or fortifications? Is the land fertile or unproductive? Are there trees in it or not?” (13:18-20). And because it was the season for grapes, he asked them to bring back some fruit. And, oh yes, he also told them to “be courageous.” So off they went. Up to the land of Canaan. From the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob. Through the Negev to Hebron. They looked it over from end to end. They saw the cities, and they saw the people. They remembered to cut down a branch with an enormous cluster of grapes and also picked some pomegranates and figs just for good measure. And at the end of 40 days, they returned from scouting the land carrying their fruit loot and tales of giants with an air of assurance. They had done all they were told to do and even a little more. Moses would be proud of them. The people would approve their efforts and agree with their conclusions. Mission accomplished.
Yes and no. All but two of the scouts seemed to have missed one important step in Moses’ instructions to them. While they remembered to scout out the land and the people and even remembered to bring back fruit for Moses, they forgot to “be courageous,” and as they gave their report to the people, their oversight showed. Yes, it was a fertile land, flowing with milk and honey in fact. Yes, the fruit was tremendous. Yes, it was an amazing place. But—and here their courage failed—the people living in the land were strong, and the cities were large and fortified. There were descendants of Anak there and Amalekites and Hittites and Amorites and Canaanites, too. Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!” (13:31). And in their fear, they shrunk to the size of grasshoppers. Yes, the people who were led by a pillar of cloud and flame, who had seen the sea open for their passing and bread fall from heaven, who had heard the rumble of the Lord on the mountain and had seen His shining glory on their leader’s face. These same people, the people of the Lord, became nothing but grasshoppers in their own eyes. And they were sure that they looked the same to the people in the Promised Land. How could grasshoppers conquer giants? It was a no brainer. They would not go up against the people in the land.
But Caleb and Joshua saw with a different set of eyes. They said, “If the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us. Only don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!” (14:8-9). And 40 years later, Caleb ran in glory into the hill country of giants. Victory ringing from his throat and heart. His God leading the way! What an awesome “I told you so!”
Just grasshoppers against giants? That’s how many of us see ourselves in this world. Faced by financial stress, medical worries, family issues, loneliness, and so on, we become grasshoppers in our own eyes. Easy to defeat. Simple to squash. Hopeless in our struggles which we really don’t even attempt to attack. After all, what can grasshoppers do against giants? We give up before the battle begins. But we aren’t seeing clearly through our buggy eyes. We are the children of the Lord! He is our strength. He is our shield. He is the King of all creation, and what He says goes. We may be puny in our own eyes, but in His we are of gigantic importance! And it is His perspective that counts—the perspective of Truth.
Come on. Stand up. Be strong and courageous. Devour the enemy like a swarm of locusts or a green grasshopper army. If we follow where He leads, the Lord is with us. What else needs to be said?