What is the grasshopper view? It has nothing to do with a martial art mentee (a “Kung Fu reference for the 50+ crowd) but it’s a lesson in confidence from Numbers 13. After God mightily delivered them, the Israelites wandered in the desert before entering the promised land. Moses sent twelve spies in to check out the lay of their inheritance land. The ten returned with “evil” reports that were very interesting. They felt like little grasshoppers in their own eyes as well as the enemy’s eyes. Joshua and Caleb acknowledged the problems but reported the blessings as God had promised them.
“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.”
31 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.” 32 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. 33 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
Staying in a Slave Place
Before their desert wanderings, the Israelites had been slaves to the Egyptians for hundreds of years. They were treated cruelly and were forced to build many magnificent pyramids that still stand today. The Egyptian enslavers were cruel, and any strength, defiance, or confidence was met with brutality and even death. The enslaved Israelis saw this and developed survival skills. Many of them stayed in that place of feeling less than human, not trusting in the goodness God was showing. They became compliant; they had to abandon their hope of being and having something greater. The enemy of our souls does the same thing to us. He wants us to be a slave to our fears and bad feelings, so we don’t walk in the love and freedom that God intends for us.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].1 Corinthians 5:17
The Gift of the Desert
Most of us have been oppressed, abused, or hurt by someone or a situation, maybe not as bad as Israel, but it changed us. We developed survival skills, changed our way of thinking, gave up hope because we didn’t want to be disappointed again. I call it a grasshopper view; it’s the thought that we aren’t meant for anything better. It might be in just one area, but it’s hard to imagine ourselves ever being free. God could have beamed Israel into the promised land if he wanted to. Still, they needed the time in the desert where they experienced God’s presence and his miracles in order to remember that they were daughters and sons of God. A few of them chose to be led by God daily, but most complained. Except for Joshua and Caleb, those who were older than twenty years old at this time never got into the promised land.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?Isaiah 43:19
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Freedom for Believers
God never left them alone in the desert. He performed daily miracles for them and tried to help Israel learn to think and live by faith. It’s in the desert where God tried to prepare them for their future as leaders, warriors, and priests. The desert can be tedious; it may even feel like a punishment, but it’s the time we lean on God to lead us. Sometimes God brings us out of something terrible, but not directly to the best place. We get to see his goodness in when everything else is stripped away. That’s time we must guard against fear and remind ourselves of the miracles that he’s doing a new thing and that he is faithful to his promises. Let’s encourage ourselves to hope again, for we are no longer enslaved, but we are free.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[a] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with himRomans 8:14-17
Some Symptoms of Grasshopper Views
- We struggle with low self-esteem
- Negative self-talk is the norm
- Fears and doubts stop us from taking small steps forward
- It’s hard to believe God’s promises and a good life are meant for us
God, I pray for the person reading this now. I pray that you would lessen the power that they’ve been trapped or enslaved to, something that has stolen their hope and made them feel less than human. I pray that you will give them open eyes to see your great and mighty love for them and that your intentions for them are good. God, allow the desert to become a place of blessing; give them strength against fear as you prepare them for a blessed future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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 hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11