Numbers 13:33—“We even saw the Nephilim there.” (The offspring of Anak were descended from the Nephilim.) “To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”
They felt like grasshoppers? The people living in the land were too strong to conquer! After forty days of scouting about 240 miles of traveled distance, they could see the beauty and the potential of “the promised land” but it took second place to their fears. Ten spies counseled rejecting God’s plan while two passionately pressed for victory with complete confidence that God would certainly go before them. The Israelites opted for the pessimistic majority; after all, it matched their morbid pattern of perpetually complaining against their Redeemer-Deliverer.
How did this happen? This was a nation that watched God supernaturally pulverize the Egyptians with ten consecutive judgments. They saw the Red Sea part so they could cross on dry land. That same water piled on top of the pursuing Egyptian army, drowning them all. They saw God provide never before seen manna from heaven. He brought them water in the middle of desert. He gave them quail to eat until they were sick of meat. How do you give up on that kind of God?
Before we condemn them let’s do our own gut check. When is the last time you had to walk across a harsh desert daily beneath an unforgiving sun? I’ve never had to carry all my belongings, herd animals, keep children happy, while wiping the grit of sand from my eyes, nose and mouth from one more ridiculous sandstorm. Rarely have I had a mouth parched from thirst, a splitting headache, or a rendezvous with sand fleas and pesky flies. I didn’t have to answer for the millionth time, “Daddy, are we there yet?” I didn’t have to undertake a journey not knowing where exactly I was going or massage muscles weary from climbing, climbing, only to come back down.
I think Exodus gives us a pretty accurate picture of what people are like. Two see in stones a future temple. Ten see objects worthy of hurling in protest. We tend to fall in line with the ten because after all they are the majority. But watch out. This is where we go wrong. We take counsel from the crowd and close our spirit to the Heart Maker. We remember Egypt and its leeks, its relative safety and the security of sameness. But the Lord made Canaan and its fruit. He requires faith and the certainty of salvation. We deify comfort at His expense. He killed His Son for you and me.
If we are grasshoppers, it’s not in comparison to tall people, it’s because we jump with the prevailing wind. God forgive us for our attitudes of defeat, pessimism and the rottenness of demanding OUR rights. God help us to be like Caleb and Joshua—uncommon men with the right stuff. And let’s not assume we would have pressed the case for the Promised Land if we are living in presumptuous land. The former comes with a cost—our death, while the latter simply kills us. The difference is that God will save us if we’ll just trust Him and that’s something no mound of sand can overcome!
A barking dog is no hunter.—Japanese proverb
Another reason that we are tempted to substitute outer conformity for inner obedience is that behavior conformity gains for us instant acceptance, approval, even status, with others.—Margaret Thatcher in The Freedom of Obedience
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)