Frankly, grasshoppers creep me out. Even as a kid, I really didn’t like picking them up and feeling them squirm around in my hand. But the world through the eyes of a grasshopper in the weeds must be even creepier still. Everything from that perspective would look gigantic.
And that is how 83.3% of the spies of Israel felt about the Canaanite inhabitants of the Promised Land. Though all 12 of them had agreed that the land was truly a fruitful and beautiful place, they could not help but see the masses of people, the walled cities, AND especially the sons of Anak – giants in the land. It gave them that grasshopper sort of feeling.
Just as with the fruit of the land, all 12 spies agreed about the other realities they had witnessed. There were surely many tribes and nations; the cities were built with high walls; there were giants in certain parts of the region. Ten of the spies saw the obstacles and compared them to themselves; whereas the other two – Joshua and Caleb – saw the obstacles and compared them to the power and promises of God.
Of course, the people believed the report of the majority. When we read this story in Numbers 13 and 14, the wailing of the Israelites really does make you want to reach through the pages of Scripture and slap them! Yep, God felt the same way, and he did it for you. The people, realizing they had blown it, even attempted then to recapture the opportunity in their own strength … Epic Fail!
So off into a wandering around the wilderness for 40 years went the Israelites. Of the generation over 20 years old, only Joshua and Caleb would enter the Promised Land. And here is a humorous note of Scripture – those Giants in the land … Caleb and his own clan would whip them simply by themselves, recorded almost as a sort of footnote with the account of the conquest of Canaan. It is given but a couple of sentences of mention within the historic record – that’s how easily it was accomplished in God’s power.
It is easy to have the circumstances of life make us feel like we are but a grasshopper deep in the weeds of our suffering. But with God, we are always a majority; he is the ultimate high trump over every situation. On our own, we are small indeed. But in the end, we always win with the Lord. May we be revived with this realization!
Rebellion against the Lord
26 But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. 27 You grumbled in your tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’”
29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.
34 When the Lord heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: 35 “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly.”
37 Because of you the Lord became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either. 38 But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. 39 And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it.40 But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.”
41 Then you replied, “We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight, as the Lord our God commanded us.” So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country.
42 But the Lord said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.’”
43 So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the Lord’s command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. 44 The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from Seir all the way to Hormah. 45 You came back and wept before the Lord, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you. 46 And so you stayed in Kadesh many days—all the time you spent there.