Grasshoppers, Grapes & Giants

Numbers 13:33: “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.” Moses’ spy team of 12 arrived after a reconnaissance mission of 40 days to the Promised Land. They had seen the unexpected— giants in the land. No Twitter. No telephone. No fax. No Facebook. No email. They could not report to Moses. Moses after leading 3 million people out of the gallows of Egypt might have wondered: “How I wish I had a satellite phone. A Motorola Iridium 9555. Or they could have tweeted me or facebooked me. I don’t have a tablet either. Besides, no Wi-Fi connection. With my short fuse, it is difficult to wait.” How you wish you wouldn’t have to face Anak giants! Finally, the team 12 arrived. They had two reports. Ten of them with report one: “There are giants in the land and we are grasshoppers. This is even worse than what we experienced in Egypt.” Then Caleb and Joshua with report two: “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it. We all had walked on dry ground through the parted sea. The same God will part a way for us through the giants.” God called you out. Following God is all about learning while we persevere by faith to reach the singular purpose He has set for us. Canaan was before Israel. Israel had to learn more before reaching Canaan. The days of exodus from Egypt were over. Canaan had new challenges. Every new open door has new challenges by default. Weren’t the clusters of grapes from the Valley of Eschol from God? How come they let the sight of giants overshadow the grapes they held? We cannot overlook God. It took two to carry just one cluster of grapes! The first thing Noah did after the flood was plant grapes.  Grapes would indicate a new beginning. Start from where you are.
Duped as grasshoppers Israel cried out: “So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night” (Numbers 14:1). Fear will test us before the Word tests us. Our focus is the Word. We want to be tested by the Word rather than by fear – fear is a spirit according to 2 Timothy 1:7. It is a spiritual warfare that we need to wage. Wee hours. 3 O’clock they say.  Peter, a mortal, walked on water. After a few steps he said to himself: “Mortals can’t walk of water.” Jesus did not say that. Peter did. Have you said anything which God never said? Years later Solomon wrote: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).This proverb is almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy prophesied or spoken by ourselves and others over our own lives. The Israelites said to themselves: “We’re 1.5 inch creatures. Grasshoppers. Our days are numbered.” But God did not say that they were grasshoppers nor did the Anakites. Now, pop star Beyonce’s baby news got 8000 posts per second on Twitter and Osama Bin Laden’s death news around 5000 posts per second. The grasshopper news got more posts than Caleb’s declaration of faith to take out Canaan. Majority of what you hear and see will tell you that you are a grasshopper with no purpose but to destroy crops after crops. God does not count numbers. God counts faith. Israel belittled themselves in their own sight not in the sight of God. They made it up. The Anakites did not even know that team 12 spent 40 days in their territory gathering grapes and information!
God grows grapes in the valley – whatever valley you may be in right now. Isaiah 5:4: “What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?” We are to fear the Lord only. God was asking the same question to Israel through Isaiah as He did through Caleb: “What kind of grapes are you? Good or wild?” The same question is before us. What type of grapes are we? Whatever God grants us comes with obligations as well as consequences. Grapes are crushed in the winepress to extract juice to make wine. God will squeeze out things from us as He works on us. Transformation is the butterfly pushing on the walls of the cocoon until it breaks open – not a fun process. God is serious. Psalm 34:8: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” What does this imply? We can taste the Lord and forget. Being blessed is trusting God in the winepress. Israel tasted the grapes of the Valley of Eschol and forgot. A teachable heart is what God is looking for. Jesus painted the same picture when He said: “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mathew 18:3). Little children are always teachable. Is our heart teachable?  Moses spent 40 years in the desert to get that. His world-class education from the University of Egypt did not matter to God. Moses mentored Joshua. Joshua did not mentor Caleb. Joshua was a leader not a mentor. Caleb was a sincere disciple. Are you a leader? Mentor? Sincere disciple? Whoever you are, a teachable heart is what God will demand. Nothing more. Nothing less. God does not bend His standards. God wants His transforming work in us to bear fruit. By seeing our transformation others around must also come to the winepress. They might not know that God is able to turn their problems around. God can remove things that hinder them from fulfilling God’s purpose. Have you been to the winepress lately?
Numbers 13:33 again: “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.” God’s battle plan: by faith and obedience to Him not warfare. Israel’s battle plan: faith will not work in this militarily challenged geo-political situation. By faith alone were the giants to be taken out. Even today the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a test of faith with the US, EU, Russia and China making their stand that Israel concede to UN resolutions. God is global. The happenings in Israel are a pointer to who God is. Christ’s cross makes giants our ally because everything was vanquished at the cross. We still see giants falling hard today. God made grasshoppers, grapes and giants.