After the people of Israel endured 400 years of bondage in Egypt, God provided ten miraculous signs of His sovereign control over all things and then delivered His people from slavery and directed them to take possession of their Promised Land. Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan to scout out the land; upon their return, the majority gave this disheartening report:
The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size . . . We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight (Numbers 13:32-33)
The problem with this report, given by ten of the twelve spies, is that these men took their eyes off God and focused on their circumstances. It was true that the people of Canaan were “of great size,” but the spies completely forgot that their God was bigger than the people they would face. The ten spies had witnessed ten miraculous signs that God performed, causing Pharaoh to release them . . . they walked on dry ground through the Red Sea and then turned to watch the water swallow up the pursuing Egyptians . . . and yet they developed the “grasshopper complex,” which shifts our focus away from eternal Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence and onto our obstacles.
Before you sneer at the faithlessness of these ten men, consider that you and I have a natural tendency to do the very same thing; we look past our possibilities and see only potential problems. We shift our focus away from the Lord Jesus Christ and lock onto our circumstances.
We are all a bit like Peter. Well . . . not all of us. Most would never get out of the boat and attempt to walk on water. (Nowhere in the biblical narratives do we read about any of the other disciples following Peter out of the boat.) But if we do find the courage to step out of the boat, it’s not long before the howling winds and high waves shift our focus away from our Savior and onto the storm. And then we begin to sink.
But this is not for you! There were twelve spies sent in; two of them returned with a good report. Joshua and Caleb saw the same people of “great size,” but they kept their focus on their Greater God. Here is their report:
Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30)
Joshua said, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14:6-9)
The devil does everything in his power to get us to shift our focus away from our God and put it on ourselves. When we do, we find ourselves living out the “grasshopper complex,” where our obstacles overwhelm our opportunities. But when we stay focused on Jesus, there is nothing that can keep us from doing what God is calling us to do . . . regardless of the cost or circumstance.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!