(By Rachel Joyce)
When God’s people reached the border of the promised land, He told Moses to send a man from each ancestral tribe to explore the land and bring back a report along with a sampling of the fruit growing there. So the twelve men ventured out to investigate Canaan.
After forty days, two of them (Caleb and Joshua) returned with pomegranates, figs, and a cluster of grapes so big, it took both of them to carry it on a pole between them. They spoke of the powerful people that lived there but advised, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Num. 13:30).
However, the other ten explorers returned with this report: “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Num 13:33b NIV).
This was the land God had promised them. Their God had delivered them safely from the Egyptians and split the Red Sea apart to lead them to victory.
In the wilderness, He had fed them with manna from heaven and rained quail down upon them to provide meat to satisfy their hunger. He even drew water from the rock to quench their thirst. He brought them to the edge of the land He had promised them, but when they got one look at it, the ten men drew back in fear.
Even though God had promised to be with them and take care of them, in their eyes, the enemies in the land loomed larger than He did (Exo. 33:14).
When the ten men explored the land, all they could see was how big the enemy was and how small they were - like grasshoppers - so they pulled back from doing what God had called them to do.
Their lack of faith in what God could do through them cost them their inheritance and they died in the wilderness instead of enjoying life in the promised land.
The psalmist understood that it is God who makes us strong; He is our glorious strength (Ps. 89:17 NLT). When we align our view with what God says in His Word, we see that our God delights to work in and through us.
Paul spoke of this in Ephesians 3:20,
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Even though we are not mighty in and of ourselves, we belong to an all-powerful God. When our faith grows weak, we can ask Him to strengthen our faith and help us do what He has called us to do (Mar. 9:24).
Gideon is a perfect example of this. When the angel of the Lord greeted him with the words, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you” he was threshing wheat in a winepress, hiding from the Midianites who were oppressing God’s people (Jud. 6:11-12).
Gideon’s immediate response was to pour out his questions and concerns to God. Why had this happened? Where were the miracles his ancestors had said God could do? He felt like God had abandoned them and he wasn’t afraid to share his feelings with God (Jud. 6:13).
God didn’t mind Gideon’s honest questions and He doesn’t mind ours. He told Gideon: “Gideon, you will be strong, because I am giving you the power to rescue Israel from the Midianites” (Jud. 6:14 CEV).
Gideon’s next words showed that he saw himself as a grasshopper, too: “But how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest one in Manasseh, and everyone else in my family is more important than I am” (Jud. 6:15 CEV).
The difference between Gideon and those ten explorers was that in his heart he wanted to trust God; he kept seeking and dialoguing with God. God promised to be with him and help him. Even though Gideon asked for sign after sign to strengthen his faith,
God obliged and built up Gideon’s faith. Gideon allowed God to work in him and through him until a mighty victory was won and God’s people were freed from the Midianites.