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Pointers along the way #419

Are we like grasshoppers?
- Jacob Ninan

After Israel left Egypt and came near the Promised Land, Moses sent out twelve spies to visit the land and to bring back a report. They came back and unanimously reported that the land was indeed "flowing with milk and honey" as the Lord had promised. But ten of them said that they themselves appeared to be like grasshoppers in front of the giants who were in the land and that it would be impossible to conquer the land. However Joshua and Caleb, two among the twelve, said that the Lord was able to give them the land (Nu.14:7-9). They added that the Lord had taken away the strength of the enemy and would actually turn them into 'bread' for Israel. Sad to say, the majority opinion won.

This was the the land which the Lord had promised to them and to which He had led them from Egypt through a series of supernatural interventions and provisions. In spite of the promise of God and all their experiences the majority of people chose to trust in their own perception. As a result, all of them perished in the desert without being able to enter the land, except for Joshua and Caleb.

What is our promised land, as Christians? Isn't it eternal life, which is to know God through Jesus Christ (Jn.17:3), and to partake of His nature (2Pe.1:4)? ('Eternal life' is not merely to live forever, because even people in hell will do that!) Remember, Israel had to enter the Promised Land area by area by conquering the Canaanites who lived there, giving us a picture of our overcoming our old sinful nature and becoming like Jesus. Many people think of the promised land as heaven. Yes, that is also a part of God's promise but we must see that becoming like Jesus is the ultimate promise for us who have been slaves to sin.

When we want to enter our promised land we also come across many giants, especially the lusts and desires in our flesh. When we try to overcome them we find that we are only like grasshoppers in front of them!

Those who have not yet discovered that they are like grasshoppers in front of their lusts, hopelessly weak in comparison to the strength of their temptations, have obviously not taken up the battle seriously! Some may not have known any battle at all in this area but have been tamely giving in to the enemy, probably thinking that the blood of Jesus would anyway cover their sins! But people like Paul have tried their best against temptation and discovered that their strength is not sufficient to overcome the enemy (Ro.7:24). In fact we are really like grasshoppers in front of our lusts.

But many people give up in despair once they come to this recognition. That is because they are only looking at themselves and not also at God who has given us the promise (Ro.6:14;8:29). We need to see both--ourselves as grasshoppers and Jesus as our Saviour. That is how Paul overcame his fear, unbelief and hopelessness as he saw himself (Ro.7:25). We need to have no confidence in ourselves and also full confidence in God.


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