Select Wisdom Brand

The Grasshopper Principle

Numbers 13:25, 27-28, 33b
At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. … And they told him, “…It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there … and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

If Moses had been more cynical in his writing, he could’ve just combined these five Books of Law into a single chronicle called The Fall of Man. Ever since Eve ate that forbidden fruit, it’s just been one betrayal, one upheaval, one demonic-inspired outrage against the Almighty after another. “Vanity of vanities!” cries the preacher, the philosopher, the realist, the honest man in the face of this tide of corruption that ebbs and flows through every volume of man’s storied existence. Just when you think the sea has parted, just when you think the enemy is buried in the waters, just when the path ahead is marked not by thorns and persecution but by a blaze of ever-protective Shekinah glory, another foe rises, and another fruit catches the eye, and man’s fragility turns to idolatry once more.

Why do these chieftains of the twelve tribes—these elder statesman, respected by their peers—come back with such a revolting word? Literally a word of revolt against God? “Sure, there’s milk and honey galore,” they say in effect, “but what God didn’t tell us is that the people are warriors and their cities are impenetrable and the leaders are giants and we’re as good as dead now!” To the distrusting heart, it’s always what God doesn’t say that matters most. It’s never His promises, never His proven faithfulness in the past, never His ever-present provision, never His size in the fight. Always the obstacles, the size of the giants, the turbulence of the seas, the heaviness of the burdens, the blandness of the wafer, the height of the mountains—and they haven’t got so much as a mustard-seed-sized granule of faith left to move them.

Friend, to trust God’s good heart above the present evil, to judge the bleakness of your present travail against the victory awaiting you above the horizon, is to be great in God’s eyes. Do that, and you’ll be a giant in a small world. A man among grasshoppers.