October 24, 2021
Numbers 13:30-33 (NIV)
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)
BREAKING NEWS: It’s today again! ;0)
MINORITY REPORT: 1. We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.
MAJORITY REPORT: 1. We can’t attack those people. 2. They are stronger than we are. 3. The land devours those living in it. 4. All the people are of great size. 5. We saw the Nephilim. 6. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes. 7. We seemed like grasshoppers in their eyes too.
Verse 33 is where it always goes south.
We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
We gaze upon the opponent. We compare ourselves to the opponent. We assume the opponent sees us the way we see ourselves. What’s missing here? God. In fact, we don’t see any expression of faith in God in this entire exchange today. Caleb seems to have a lot of self confidence, noting we should because we can. It comes off a bit like over-confidence. The others seem afraid and quite under confident. Under confidence, however, is not humility. It is fear.
The big issue is whose eyes are on God. When our eyes are not on God, they are on ourselves. When our eyes on ourselves we then compare ourselves to others. Faith focuses, even fixates on God—who God is, what God has done, and what God can do. When we see God truly, we see ourselves in reality. If we aren’t beholding our God, we are destined to see ourselves and others in the framework of grasshoppers and giants, constantly switching roles based on the ephemerality of our own confidence or lack thereof.
This is why the Word of God is so critically important. And we don’t want to read it with ourselves in the middle of the frame but with God in the center. We must learn to read with the primary matter in view—what is God like and what can God do? How does this apply to my life and what do I need to do is at best a secondary question and often a tertiary one.
Unfortunately, we have tended to make it the main point. It has led us into a highly functional faith focused on our capacities and activities (or lack thereof). What we must develop is a more contemplative faith trained to behold a dynamically transcendent God who delights in the lack of human capacity and the frailty of human activity because his strength is made perfect in our weakness.
The word of encouragement to anyone facing challenging scenarios or difficult circumstances is not, “You can do it.” The word of encouragement is “Behold our God.”
Father, save us from looking in the mirror. Let us instead lift our eyes to the hills and ask from where does our help come. Our help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth. Come Holy Spirit and deliver us from our thin frameworks of faith which subtly center on ourselves our capacities and our abilities or the lack thereof. Lead us into a faith wholly consumed with God alone. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Are you grasping this contrast between a highly functional faith which centers in our capacities and abilities and a contemplative faith in a transcendent God? How would you say what I am struggling to say?
For the Awakening,