Grasshoppers, Don't Fight Giants!

"Grandfather Daniel, you've told us what life was like in Egypt under Pharaoh," Joel remarked.

His youngest sister, Hannah, added, "And you've told us how God rescued our people and caused the Egyptian army to drown in the Red Sea. But you haven't told us why our people have been wandering in the desert for 40 years. Why aren't we living in the land that God promised us?"

"Yes, it's time that I told you that sad story," Daniel spoke softly. "I was a young man of 30 at the time. I remember exactly how I felt that day. My cousin, Jacob, and I were tending to the livestock. He was complaining to me.

"‘I'm hot, tired and bored! I'm sick of this food and this scenery,' Jacob moaned. ‘This trek is going nowhere!'

"Then my oldest brother, Benjamin, ran toward us shouting, ‘I have good news! Joshua and Caleb and the other scouts just got back from checking out the land that God promised us. Everyone's going to hear what they have to say.'

"‘I hope the land is as good as what Moses told us,' I said. ‘Let's go listen to the report.'

"The three of us joined the crowd just in time to see the giant cluster of grapes that the scouts had brought back from Canaan.

"‘The land is lush with abundant fruit and crops,' one of the scouts reported. ‘But the people who live there are giants. We seemed like grasshoppers compared to them. We can't attack them. They're too strong for us.'

"On hearing that news, the crowd responded in anger and disappointment. Some people started crying. Others yelled, ‘We knew it was too good to be true!'

"‘Wait a minute,' Caleb responded. ‘God promised us the land, and He will surely help us take possession of it! Do not rebel against the Lord! Don't be afraid of the people of the land because the Lord is with us.'

"Joshua reported, ‘The land we explored is very good, just as the Lord told us it would be. Don't be afraid! The Lord will lead us into that land and give it to us.'

"But the crowd was too angry to listen to what Joshua and Caleb were saying. And the other 10 scouts kept saying, ‘We can't attack those people--they're giants!'

"Moses and Aaron fell on their faces and prayed. And after a while most of us went back to our tents. All night the people vented their feelings. I'd never heard such wailing and carrying on!

"Benjamin, Jacob and I sat outside my tent and talked.

"‘We should have stayed in Egypt,' Jacob said angrily. ‘At least we had melons to eat and a house to live in.'

"‘I want to live in my own house on my own land again,' Benjamin grumbled. ‘I hate camping in the desert.'

"My cousins Mordecai and Samuel joined the conversation.

"‘I've been talking with a lot of the other families,' Mordecai said. ‘Moses got us into all this trouble. We've put up with enough! We're drawing the line right now. Everyone agrees. We refuse to fight giants.'

"Samuel added, ‘Moses should be stoned for forcing us to leave Egypt and bringing us out into this desert to die.'

"‘But don't you remember what happened when we complained about having only manna to eat, when we asked for meat?' I reminded them.

"‘That was different,' Jacob snapped at me.

"‘Yeah, use your mind,' Mordecai told me. ‘What don't you understand? The people in Canaan are giants and we're grasshoppers. They'll step on us. Splat! Well, this grasshopper refuses to fight!'

"Several men who had been conversing outside a nearby tent joined the conversation.

"‘Going to Canaan would be suicide!' one man commented. All the others agreed.

"‘But God has taken care of us,' I countered. ‘He's given us manna to eat and water to drink. Our clothes don't wear out. No one gets sick. And what about that miraculous exit from Egypt that He provided for us? Remember how Pharaoh's army drowned in the Red Sea?'

"‘We didn't have to fight against Pharaoh's army. I'd rather take my chances in the desert. I'm too tired to fight. Tomorrow,' Jacob announced, ‘I'm going to pack up my family and head back to Egypt.'

"‘You're absolutely right,' Benjamin said. ‘My family and I are going with you.'

"The other men agreed. ‘Let's choose a leader to take us back to Egypt.'"

"But, Grandfather, our people were slaves in Egypt!" Hannah interrupted.

Joel commented, "I'd rather fight a hundred giants than be a slave!"

"What did you tell them?" Hannah asked.

"All the scouts except Joshua and Caleb--10 out of the 12--said that fighting the giants in Canaan would be a disaster!" Daniel continued. "I was just a young man, and the other men kept telling me, ‘Grasshoppers don't fight giants!'"

"But what did you do, Grandfather?" Joel asked.

"I made the biggest mistake of my life," Daniel said sadly. "I listened to what the other men were saying and went along with them."

Hannah and Joel saw the tears in their grandfather's eyes and quietly waited for him to continue talking.

"We all knew that God had promised us the land. Joshua and Caleb pleaded with us not to rebel against the Lord. They told us not to fear the giants because God would protect us. We wouldn't be fighting the giants by ourselves; God would be with us. But no one would listen to them."

"What happened?" Hannah asked.

"God's glory appeared at the tent of meeting, the place where He met with Moses. The Lord told Moses that we had treated Him with contempt because we had refused to believe in Him in spite of all the miraculous signs He had done. He wanted to strike us all down with a plague, but Moses said, ‘The Egyptians and the other nations will hear about it and say that the Lord was not able to bring His people into the land He had promised them.'"

Daniel wiped a tear from his eye. "Then, even though some of our people had talked of stoning Moses, Moses asked God to forgive us."

"Did God forgive our people?" Joel asked.

"Yes, He did," Daniel responded. "He could have struck us all dead right then, but in His great mercy He sentenced us to wander in the desert for 40 years until all the men who were 20 years old or more die."

"That was merciful of Him?" Joseph asked.

"Oh, yes! We had seen all the miraculous signs and wonders that He had done, and yet we had refused to trust Him and obey Him."

"Then you won't get to see the land He promised us?" Hannah asked.

"No, I will not. But God has given me the past 40 years to be with my family, to watch my children grow up and to tell you, my grandchildren, ‘Don't make the mistake I did. Even if everyone else rebels against God, don't go along with them. Obey God no matter what. My choice changed my destiny, the good plan God had for my life. Even if you feel like you're facing a giant, don't give up the wonderful things God has planned for you. Grasshoppers can fight giants when God is fighting alongside them.'"

© by Nancy A. Stevens