“And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, ‘The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight’ "(Numbers 13:32-33).
When obstacles enter into the path of your journey, do you tend to focus on the obstacles or are you able to keep your eyes fixed on the goal you are seeking to achieve? Many of the problems that enter into our paths are significant, but this doesn’t mean they are unsurmountable.
When Caleb went with Joshua and 10 other leaders in Israel to spy out the Promised Land, they saw its abundant fruit and that it was a land that flowed with milk and honey (Numbers 13:26-27). However, they also saw its defenses and that it was inhabited by strong and powerful people including giants (Numbers 13:28-29). It was a land filled with both abundance to be enjoyed and obstacles to be overcome. All of the spies saw the same circumstances the nation of Israel faced.
How did the spies react to the circumstances which they saw? Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb focused on the goal of conquering the Promised Land through God’s power. Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). However, most of the spies focused on the obstacles that lay in their path and limited themselves to looking at only their own ability to conquer the land. They said, “We are not able to go up against this people, for they are stronger than we” (Numbers 13:31). They were intimidated by the giants and this made them feel like grasshoppers as compared to these giants (Numbers 13:33).
Joshua and Caleb were not oblivious to the challenging circumstances that lay before them, but they refused to limit themselves by only looking at themselves and their own ability to conquer the land. Instead, they looked up. They looked up in faith and placed their faith in God’s ability to conquer the land: “and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, 'a land which flows with milk and honey'” (Numbers 14:8-9).
As I consider this Biblical account, I am reminded that as Christians we face the same challenges in life other people face (e.g. problems at work, challenges in our families, financial concerns, etc.). At times, I fail to look up and look at myself and think, “How am I going to solve this problem I face?” When I do this, I come away discouraged feeling like a grasshopper trying to solve my problems.
But, when I face these same problems and choose to remember God’s power to act in my life and rely on his ability to lead me through these circumstances, my heart is lifted up and I am filled with peace, joy, and love, even though I am facing the same circumstances. I am trusting in God’s power even though I don’t know how He is going to solve everything. I only know that He can and He will!
I want to be like Joshua and Caleb who kept their eyes on the prize and relied on God’s power to enable them to obtain it. I don’t want to be like the 10 spies who focused only on the obstacles they faced and on the weakness of their own power. Today, I will remember God’s power to act in my life and lift me up from feeling like a grasshopper and has made me into a conqueror!
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).