“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” (Numbers 13:33).
Our text verse is part of the “evil report” of the ten spies after their survey of the promised land. Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, wanted to “go up at once, and possess it [the land]; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). The ten spies saw themselves as “grasshoppers,” as did the inhabitants of the land.
Grasshoppers have two characteristics which are readily obvious from Scripture. In Job 39:19–22, the courage of the horse is contrasted with the fear of the grasshopper. “Canst thou make him [the horse] afraid as a grasshopper?” Nahum speaks of the Ninevite captains being as grasshoppers who flee away “when the sun ariseth” (Nahum 3:17). The second characteristic of grasshoppers is their ability to rapidly reproduce. In fact, the word locust (translated “grasshopper”) takes its meaning from a root word which means to rapidly increase. Although the grasshopper is small and fearful, by force of its sheer numbers, it has been known to bring great destruction to crops.
The children of Israel saw themselves as a band of fearful insects, rather than a mighty nation to whom God had given the land. Their focus was on their own weaknesses, and not on God’s word: “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel” (Numbers 13:2). The battle each of us faces has its own particular giants. As the opposition to Christianity in general, and creationism in particular increases, we look to God’s word, trusting His will is sure to be accomplished, though we may seem “as grasshoppers” to His enemies. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). CJH