But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”  Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”  So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height.  And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” (Numbers 13:30-33 ESV)
The call of God’s faithful has always been to live by faith and not by sight. Here, the people of God found themselves on the verge of entering the Promised Land, but upon hearing the report of the spies, they became miserable and accused the LORD of bringing them into this land only to devour them. Although they had seen God deliver them by parting the Red Sea and miraculously provide them with quail and manna to eat from heaven after leaving Egypt, they nevertheless did not trust him.
It is often said in Christian circles, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Although this statement is often offered as a comfort to Christians who are struggling with despair at their circumstances, the truth of the matter is that God DOES give us more than we can handle. In the midst of temptation, we are able to endure because it is God who provides the way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). When we are under attack by the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, it is God’s grace that is sufficient for us (2 Cor. 12:9).
The reason that God has designed us to be fragile jars of clay is to emphasize to the watching world his surpassing power—not ours. What is most important about the man of God, is not that he is a MAN of God, but rather that he is a man of GOD! The people of Israel were not wrong in their assertions that the people of Canaan were stronger than them, or that they had chariots of iron, or that they were descendants of the mighty Nephilim. What they were wrong about was their inability to succeed in obeying the commandments of God to conquer them with divine power. They determined right and wrong based on the thoughts of MAN and not the thoughts of GOD. And so long as our wisdom is derived from the eyes of unbelief and not the eyes of faith, we will never be able to walk the Way of Christ or conquer the Jerichos that the Lord sets before us.
Christian, do you look at the commandments of God and make excuses for why they cannot be obeyed? Do you shrink back in fear from the hard things that he has repeatedly pressed on your heart to do? Are you overcome with despair and feel grasshopper-ish when you look at the immensity of the work that God has given you to do?
Loving our enemies is impossible if we do not know the God who loved his enemies and sent his Son to die for them. Forgiving those who have wronged us is impossible without knowing the forgiveness that Christ has extended to those who have offended him. God arranges circumstances to make us feel like grasshoppers so that we are not deluded into believing that we are giants. When we forget that we are dependent creatures, we run the risk of believing ourselves to be independent kings.
What a joy it is to be humble, dependent creatures! There is no shame in being grasshoppers who are utterly incapable of anything, except that which their Master empowers them to do. Learn well then, Christian grasshopper, that true wisdom is not to be gained by looking inward, but by looking upward. Let us learn to be content as insignificant grasshoppers who are wholly dependent on the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. How much better to glorify God by being a grasshopper whom God exalts, rather than a giant whom God humiliates!