Last week we began a discussion on perspective; how we see the world, and ourselves. And we saw some things last week regarding the promises of God, and how they should inform us regarding our own outlook and estimation of our situation.
Today we are going to continue the conversation by looking at another example: the twelve spies sent to evaluate the Promise Land. And although we have looked at these scriptures before, there is still more for us to see in this account.
So join me today as we continue examining how to change our lenses and change our life.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the scripture that we will be looking at today is the account of the twelve spies is they examine the Promise Land; it’s one which we have examined before, but today we are going to focus-in on one very specific and often-overlooked detail in that account – one which we have not examined before… in-fact I have never heard anyone mention this detail before, and it is going to show is something very powerful about our lenses, and how the perspective that we have about ourselves and the promises of God can either allow us to receive wonderful blessings, or dire consequences.
And please don’t let that statement frighten you. This account is not in the scripture to scare or condemn you, but to instruct and teach you regarding the power of your lenses. Romans 15:4 makes it clear that the things which happened in the past and were recorded, all were for our learning. And God wants us to learn about the great power of our perspective.
You see, your perspective is very closely related with your believing, and ultimately shapes your words (which we learned previously also have great power).
So let’s begin by reading the relevant section of scripture, which is Numbers 13:25-33:
“And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.
And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, to the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word to them, and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.
And they told him, and said, We came to the land where you sent us, and surely it flows with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.
Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched to the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eats up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
Now as I mentioned we have studied this section of scripture before (several times in-fact), and we know from the scriptures that God had already promised the Israelites that this land was theirs – that’s why it’s called the Promise Land to begin with; because it was “promised” to the Israelites.
God promised it to them, not once, not twice, but three times… in Genesis chapters 15, 26, and 28. Yet in verse 32, they still brought back what God calls an evil report that they could NOT take the land, even in direct opposition to the promises which God had given them. All this we know, because we have studied it previously.
Today however, we are going to look at one overlooked detail in this account, which sheds an important light on why they brought back the evil report that ultimately led to their destruction, and it contains an important lesson for us today as well.
Take a close look at the very last verse, 33:
“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
We can see a very startling admission here: notice precisely what the ten spies said: we were in our own sight as grasshoppers.
This right here my friend tells us how they saw themselves, and it shows us which lenses they were wearing.
They saw themselves as grasshoppers compared to the inhabitants of the land. And this perspective kept them in the clutches of fear and prevented them from taking the land that God had already promised them!
Notice that their faulty perspective also had an effect on how they were perceived by others as well. They said: we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
This is an area that a lot of people struggle with. And for myself growing up as a sickly, weak and disabled child, I struggled with it as well. I always had a negative opinion of myself, and would project negatively into my future, because of the way that I saw myself. I would always think that other people were judging me, and secretly laughing at me. I saw myself as a grasshopper. And because that was the perspective that I had of myself, the result was the same as that of the ten spies… others also saw me through the same lenses as I saw myself.
Much like the Israelites, I had the promises of God; I knew about them; but when it came time to live them, I really didn’t trust or believe in them. I was too busy looking at the giants in the land, the high walls, and my own perceptions of myself.
Friend, if what I am describing also happens to describe you today, know that you’re not alone. Countless others experience the exact same thing. Our lenses have been warped by the world, and by dead religion that has no real power. Proverbs 14:12 says that there is a way that seems right but in the end it leads to death. And 2nd Timothy 3:5 describes a people that have a form of godliness, but who deny its power.
They have a form, an appearance of godliness – outwardly to others they seem very good and godly, but they deny all of the power of God; they are nothing more than a mirage; cloud and winds but without the nourishing rain. A shadow with no real substance.
Again if this is hitting home and describes you today, don’t despair – it described me as well, and it describes many others who are firmly entrenched within the cogs and machinery of religion, not realizing that there is something much more and better than that life, which is truly not the abundant life of Jesus Christ.
The good news here is that the scriptures also describe the way out of that wilderness, and how to actually enter our Promise Land. And we will continue this conversation next week, as we explore the answer of how to get out of our wilderness, and enter the Promise Land given to us by God.
I’ll see you again next week.