In Numbers 13, the children of Israel are being commanded by God to send men into the land of Canaan. God says to send a man from each of the tribes to spy out the land.
Moses quickly gathers 12 men out of the twelve tribes and commands Joshua the son of Nun from the tribe of Benjamin and his men to depart from the Wilderness of Paran.
Moses tells them to “go up to the mountains and see what the land is like; whether the people who dwelling in it are strong or weak, few or many; whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.
So they spied out the land from the Wilderness of Tzin to Rehob, through the South to Hebron and up to the valley of Eshcol.”
There in the valley of Eshcol they cut a cluster of grapes and tied it to a pole because of how large the cluster was so that two men could carry it between them.
40 days they spent spying out the land.
When they get back to the tribes they began to tell the people what they saw and showed them the fruit of the land.
They said, “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.”
But then the story begins to take a turn.
“Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.
The Amalekites are in the South, the Hittites, Jebusites and the Amorites are in the mountains and the Canaanites are by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”
Than the men said “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than us.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land.
“The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we SAW in it are men of great stature.
There we SAW giants, the descendants of Anak, and we were like grasshoppers in OUR OWN SIGHT, and so we were in their site.”
Did you catch that?
“We were like grasshoppers in our OWN site, and so we were in their site.”
Throughout this entire story, there is no mention of the spies talking with the inhabitants of the land. There is no discussion on how these inhabitants of the land actually viewed these spies.
The children of Israel had just left Egypt and in doing so God had a great victory over the largest nation in the world. Pharaoh and his men had drowned in the sea. The world I am sure was shocked by the greatest world power being brought to its knees.
Standing on the other side of the sea, Moses and the Children of Israel sang. “You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away; terror and dread will fall on them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone.
See with God the children of Israel had the greatest power to boldly march into the land and claim the promised land.
However, the children of Israel still viewed themselves as slaves. Not in physical chains, but they had spent so many years being abused and beaten that when they looked in the mirror they saw themselves as grasshoppers.
Small, insignificant, easily squashed grasshoppers.
The children of Israel assumed that because they saw themselves as insignificant that their enemies would see them that way as well.
It took them 40 years in the desert for God to truly teach them that if they only trust in God, then they are truly conquerers.
One of the greatest come-back verses of the Bible is in Joshua 5. “Now when the kings of the Amorites, which were on the other side of the Jordan heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel, their hears melted, neither was there spirit in them any more.”
When the children of Israel finally saw themselves as God saw them, they were conquerers, and their enemies, that once were viewed as giants in the land, melted before them.
Only when we see ourselves through God’s eyes and understand that we are sons and daughters of the living God can we realize that we can be more than conquers as well.