Giants and grasshoppers

Numbers 13.1-3, 17-33

This note was originally published on Wednesday 2 February 2022.

‘We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.’


The Israelite spies saw themselves as grasshoppers: small, weak, insignificant. How do you see yourself? How do you think God sees you? Close your eyes and ask God to help you see yourself as he does.


Numbers 13.1-3, 17-33


The spies’ journey through Canaan ended in Hebron (v 22), where Abraham had purchased a cave as the family tomb: he was buried there, alongside Sarah, Isaac and Jacob. The purchase of a tomb in a foreign land was a sign of Abraham’s faith in God’s promise, repeated here to his descendants (v 1). The spies’ visit, after all these centuries, was a sign of God’s faithfulness to that promise.

It looked good: the tomb, the cluster of grapes so big they named the area ‘Cluster Valley’ (v 24), the flowing milk and honey (v 27).

Yet the spies began their report with an accusation (‘the land to which you sent us’) not an expression of faith (the land God is giving us, v 2). And it went from bad to worse: the spies showed no faith, even as God was proving himself faithful.

Despite the best efforts of Caleb (v 30) and Joshua (14.6–9), the bad report spread (v 32). The people focused on themselves – ‘we seemed like grasshoppers’ (v 33) – instead of God, who was faithfully fulfilling his promises.


Faith means trusting that God is bigger than our problems. The spies held their faith-binoculars the wrong way round: magnifying their problem and minimising their God. Ask God to help you hold your faith-binoculars the right way round.