God’s Grasshoppers


©iStock.com/ fstop123

©iStock.com/ fstop123

“To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers” (Numbers 13:33, HCSB).

How’s that for thriving self-esteem? Lay that one on your therapist and you’re liable to get another year of appointments tacked on for bad behavior.

Yet as it turns out, this self-assessment, brought back to the Israelite camp by the spies who scoped out Canaan, was right on target. Its accuracy was proven within a few days when the Israelites, caught up in the power of positive thinking, tried to enter Canaan on their own. They ended up retreating before their enemies just as fast as their little grasshopper legs could carry them (Number 14:39-45).

And look at the effect that this accurate appraisal had on the people. They cried (14:1), complained (verse 2), got melodramatic (verses 2-3), and threatened to run away (verse 4). Parents will have no trouble recognizing this scenario: It’s what little kids do when things don’t go their way.

There was nothing wrong with the spies’ self-assessment. They really were like grasshoppers compared to the giants in the land. The problem that kept them from realizing their destiny and turned them into a nation of children wasn’t related to poor self-esteem. The problem was one of poor God-esteem.

Two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, understood this. They didn’t argue about the facts or the accuracy of the evaluation. They merely pointed out the factor that the others had forgotten: God.

The other 10 spies said, “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!” (Num. 13:31).

Caleb and Joshua answered, “Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us” (14:9); “He will bring us into this land … and give it to us” (verse 8). Basically they said, “Yup, we are grasshoppers. But we’re God’s grasshoppers.”

It was this God-centered attitude that set Caleb and Joshua apart from the rest of the camp. They were not smarter or more talented. They did not have an inflated self-image. They were not swept up in some charismatic leader’s feel-good movement. They merely had faith.

And that’s something we each have available to us—God offers it as a gift (Ephesians 2:8). We don’t have to be the smartest, strongest, most talented, and best-looking person on the planet to accomplish something meaningful. Even the weakest grasshopper who partners with God can conquer nations.

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