Thursday, October 06, 2005

Grasshoppers, Grapes & Giants

“There we saw the giants;
and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight,
and so we were in their sight.”
(Numbers 13:33)

This is a fascinating verse, with awesome implications for each of us. The children of Israel had just been delivered from the power of Pharaoh’s dominating hand a few days earlier. God, through Moses, sends in a group of people to inspect the land God had promised to give to them as an inheritance. With the images of the Red Sea being parting with floating bodies of an Egyptian army still fresh in mind, they were sent on a mission to investigate the land, the people and the produce. Having experienced such a powerful deliverance by God’s might hand, how could anyone set out on such a mission, without and overwhelming confidence that God has given us this land as an inheritance.

They went into the land and what they found astounded each and every one of them. The first account of their observations are perhaps the most mind blowing. They came across a vineyard during the peak season. Moses had instructed them to, “’Bring some of the fruit of the land.’ Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.” (Numbers 13:20). These were no ordinary grapes. They cut a cluster down and it took two fully grown men to carry it. They placed a pole over their shoulders with the grapes tied in the middle. Imagine that, a cluster of grapes that is so big two strong men have to carry it. It is believed that each of these grapes was the size of a basketball. Each grape would have feed a family all by itself, what about the whole cluster? Not exactly the kind of thing you find on sale in the produce department at Martins Supermarket!

The grapes weren’t all. They also reported, “’We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.’” If the grapes where proportionately at least 100% larger, how big must the honey comb must have been, or what about the cow? Whatever the case, this must have been some sight.

All was not well in this new land. Just as the grapes were bigger, so where the people who were eating them. Scripture describes them as giants. There is much speculation about who these people were, where they come from and so forth. Suffice to say for now, simply put, they were “a people great and tall.” (Perhaps the very first consumers of the famous Big & Tall retail stores).

This is where the story becomes very interesting. The twelve spies came back. The invade-the-Promise-Land pre-campaign committee had met and developed their assessment of the situation. In short, they said, “the giants are too big over there. It would require too much; we are not ready to move. We propose that we stay put where we’re at.” At least this is what ten of the twelve said. There were two others who gave a completely different assessment and proposal.

The ten only saw the giants they would have to face if they moved forward. The ten saw beyond the giants to the fruit and produce that would be acquired in the transaction. The ten only had vision to maintain their wilderness status quo, while the two had vision to expanding in every direction into a new day and a new era. After all, wasn’t this what God had promised their fore-fathers? It’s amazing how they all looked at the same time, but interpreted the realities differently. Both were sincere, but one group was bound to fear and pessimism, while the other was bound to faith and vision.

There is a great insight into the realm of human interaction and the realities of the spirit found in the “bad report” given by the ten spies. They said, “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 13:33)

The ten spies are given their assessment of the situation. They said when they compared themselves to the giants they came up short – way short. As if they were mere grasshoppers. But what about the giants? What was their assessment? What had they heard about this God of the Israelites? We aren’t told for sure what the pure assessment of the giants was. We know from other biblical accounts, that the fame of this God had spread near and far. It was not a small head-line that the Israelites’ God had split the Red Sea, swallowed up an entire army and delivered the children of Israel in one small sweep. Fear of these people and their God also spread throughout the land, for rumor had it that these same people where heading towards new lands and their God had promised to act in their behalf. It is a safe assumption that the giants of this inspected land had heard of these reports and had their own sense of fear that the children of Israel, as small as they may be, if they come with their big God would prevail hands-down and overcome anyone found standing against them.

Again, we are not told what these people felt and thought about the Israelites prior to their visit of investigation. We are only told how they felt about the children of Israel during and after the spies made there way though the camps.

“We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Could it be that the image held by these ten spies about themselves was more than an idea, an assessment or even a belief, but rather something of a deeper substance, a sub-terrain reality – spirit? And, this spirit, this image that they held about themselves was projected towards the giants and so the giants saw the children of Israel as the children of Israel saw themselves?

Have you ever known a person who walked in a spirit of rejection? Regardless of their looks and personality, something in their life (an incident, an upbringing, a wounding experience) caused a spirit of rejection to take root deep within. And then, out of that spirit, other people time and time again end up rejecting that person. There just seems to be something transpiring in the spirit that causes them to be rejected again and again. Or, what about a person who ends up in a victimizing relationship again and again? Like a magnet, they always seem to draw certain types of people to them. It’s said that sex offenders and pedophiles can spot a kid who’s been abused with great accuracy. How can this be? Outwardly, the kid may look, act, interact, dress and play like all the others, but they can tell. Is there some sort of demonic spirit at work? (You bet’cha!).

Something is put off… a personal presence…a vibe…a spirit of some sorts. And others simply (and often unknowingly) act, interact and respond to these persons accordingly. Amazing! Unfortunately, we (the projector, if you will) are the last to know.

Question: In the above passage the twelve spies were divided into two groups (the ten who said their too big & the two who said, God was bigger), Does your disposition towards life in general tend to be more frequently illustrated by the ten or the two?

Question: How is this disposition manifested in your daily life?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
(Proverbs 23:7 KJV).

Question: What are your thoughts about the phrase, “we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:33)?

Question: Are there certain grasshopper mentalities that you possess that get projected onto others?

Question: How can these mentalities be changed?

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