The Minority Report Grasshoppers or Giants?
“Moses sent them to spy out the land...to see whether the land is good or bad, whether there are trees in it or not. At the end of the 40 days the spies returned. They brought back word…’It flows with milk and honey and fruit.’ However the people who dwell in the land are strong and the cities fortified and very large. And we saw descendants of Anak (the Giants) there.
Then Caleb quieted the people and said: ’Let us go up at once and occupy it for we are well able to overcome it.’ The men who had gone with him said, ’We are not able to go against them. The people are stronger than we are.’ So they brought a bad report to the people of Israel saying: ’We saw the Giants (the sons of Anak) and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers and so we seemed to them.” - Numbers 13
In whose opinion do you trust? Is it a favorite newspaper, a celebrity, or perhaps a philanthropic business man or woman? I raise this question because we are in the midst of uncertainty. Right now, we remain in a defensive posture against the spread of the COVID-19 virus that is impacting the world. Each day there seems to be more bad news, more negative stories, reports and predictions. We need to be realistic while taking proper precautions against the spread of disease, but in whose opinion do you trust? Are you trusting in God? As the author of Hebrews declares: “For he hath said: ‘I will never leave thee or forsake thee.’”
Where are you in your spiritual walk at this present time of crisis and uncertainty? Some people are almost paralyzed with fear over the virus. The loss of control is very frightening to many, but who is in control? Consider the words which inspired Martin Luther to write his famous hymn: “A Mighty Fortress” from Psalm 46: “Be Still and Know that I Am God.”
Soon we will celebrate the greatest event in human history: The Resurrection. In some respects, our present angst is very similar to the experience of the first followers of Jesus at his Resurrection. There was a promise, but no visible sign of hope. Then there was the empty tomb, but not everyone believed. Later, as more people encountered the Risen Lord, they were able to overcome fear and doubt. Today as we prepare for Easter, where is your faith? Are you standing on the promise from the Bible? In similar difficult times, God declared to Jeremiah in chapter 29, words of encouragement: For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Faith and outlook go hand in hand. Certain events have a way of intersecting with our faith that hit us very hard. How do you respond? Do you follow the majority reports? I raise this question in light of the scripture from Numbers where the majority opinion is based on fear, while the minority opinion is based on faith. Do you have strong faith or is your faith small? That question is of little concern when we remember the words of Jesus: “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed...nothing is impossible for you.”
There is an advanced reconnaissance mission; the Israelites are at the edge of the Promised Land and are preparing to enter. The future looks promising and bright. At God’s instructions, Moses sends spies to provide a report of the strengths and weaknesses of the land. The spies return with an impressive report of the abundance of crops, particularly grapes. Despite the fact that this land is truly a land of “milk and honey,” the defeatist attitude of the spies poisons everyone. The cities, they tell the people are large and fortified; the people also are large, warlike and aggressive, there are GIANTS living there! As you expect everyone's hearts melt with fear and apprehension. The Israelites are so overtaken by their fears that they threaten Moses and Aaron’s leadership.
In this narrative, think of what has happened so far. God has been faithful time and time again, yet as each new crisis unfolds, the people fail to apply the faith lesson they have learned previously. Led by Caleb and Joshua, a new generation finally enters the Promised Land.
How about fear in our lives? God tells us not to fear by reminding us: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God: I will strengthen you; I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -(Isaiah 42:10) Have we short changed ourselves by making God too small?
I want everyone who is feeling challenged by our present situation, to focus on the words of Caleb and his faith to overcome the giants of the land; “The land, which we passed through to spy, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us...Only do not rebel against the Lord.”
As one thinks in one’s heart, so one is; are the words from Proverbs. Do we look at each situation with a Christ inspired confidence, or do we shrink back in fear? Are we merely grasshoppers dwarfed by our perceived giants; or are we conquering kings? Is God stronger than any situation? These are the questions the empty tomb answers. Jesus Christ has overcome death and now reigns in triumph! He Is Risen!
Yours in Christ,
P.S. We may not see each other this Easter due to restrictions on gatherings, but you all know that you remain in my daily prayers. Be bold, be courageous and be like Caleb and step out in faith.