Nephilim - Grasshoppers to God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 21, 2013 5 comments

“Don’t tell God how big your storm is; tell the storm how big your God is”.

I’m sure many of you have heard that statement as a motivational tool, whether in a sermon at your church or on your friend’s Facebook page as you were scrolling through. You could replace the word “storm” with “giant” or “fear” or anything else that seems to be standing in the way of you walking the journey that God has set before you. It may be a medical diagnosis that you or someone close to you has recently received. It may be the loss of a job that you and your family were counting on for financial stability. It may be the fact that you know God is calling you to do something that seems extremely difficult bordering on impossible.

I believe that one of the biggest “giants” that stand in the way for many of us is THE PAST. I’ve had the opportunity through my places of employment over the last few years to get to know several men who were living as slaves to their pasts. They are men who had moments of surrender to the Lord and began to make more God-honoring choices in their everyday lives, only to eventually hit a wall that seemed unbreakable in their eyes. These men had built for themselves a skyscraper of consequences from their past sins and those committed against them, and the odds of them overcoming the past seemed insurmountable. I’m talking about men who owe many years and many thousands of dollars in backed up child support. I’m talking about men who are haunted by what others have done to them and what they’ve done to others. And I’m talking about addicts who have had moments of clarity where they knew they no longer “needed” that substance, only to get back to a point where they saw it as the only way to deal with the pain and regret of the past.

While I can’t say I’ve ever been to the point of the men I described above, I can admit that I have been tempted to believe lies about myself based on my sinful past. If I didn’t have men in my life who constantly prayed for me and reassured me that God views me according to what Christ has done for me and not my mistakes, I may have continued in those mistakes and surrendered to them and decided that there was no other way for me to live. Fortunately, I did not lose sight of how big my God is and, with the help of others, I was able to view my past and the other “storms” and “giants” in my life as mere “grasshoppers” compared to the His greatness.

You are probably wondering at this point why I am talking about grasshoppers. Did you know that the grasshopper is referenced in the Bible? It’s actually referenced many times in the Old Testament, one of my favorites of which is in the Book of Numbers. Let me set it up for you. The Israelites were pretty much at the end of their journey to the Promised Land. The Lord had miraculously fed them, battled for them, and led them on the entire journey. In Numbers 13:1, he tells Moses to “send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites”. God already knew what they would find once they explored, so it was an obvious test of their faith and trust in Him.

Moses then sent twelve leaders, one from each Israelite tribe, to explore the land for forty days and then bring back a report to the whole Israelite camp. The report they brought back was partially positive in that they confirmed that it “flows with milk and honey” and bears good fruit, but the report’s pessimism outweighed anything positive that it had to say. They said that “the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large”, and also that they “saw descendants of Anak there” (13:28). After Caleb, one of the men who had explored the land, tried to motivate the people to press on anyway and take possession of the land, the other reporters continued to warn the people of what was awaiting them. “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” (13:33).

Let me ask you an obvious question. How in the world could the reporters have known what they looked like in the eyes of the Nephilim? For all they knew, God could have put the fear of the Israelites into the minds of the Nephilim. My point in bringing that up is that the real problem here is not that the Nephilim looked down at the Israelite leaders, but that the Israelite leaders looked up at the Nephilim. They VIEWED THEMSELVES as tiny grasshoppers compared to these giants. Thus, they were defeated before they ever even began the battle. Instead of considering the facts that God was leading them, that He is more than able to accomplish His will, and that His greatness reduces all who come against Him to nothing more than “grasshoppers”, they allowed their fears that were based on sight to suppress their faith.

I’d love to tell you that somebody gave a great motivational speech that caused the people to come to their senses and push forward into the Promised Land. But that isn’t what happened. Caleb and Joshua, whose name by the way comes from the same root as that of Jesus, did stand up and give the motivational speech. They focused on the fact that the Lord was with them, and that there was nothing to fear. “Do not be afraid of the people of the land because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them” (14:9). However, the people continued to complain and even talked about stoning Caleb and Joshua. Moses then successfully pleads to the Lord for forgiveness of the people, but the Lord still declares that their consequence will be that they will not enter the Promised Land (14:29-30). God then struck down with a plague those who spread the fear with their report (14:37). Later, even after Moses told the rest of the Israelites who believed the original report that God would not allow them to enter the Promised Land because of their lack of faith, they assumed God would protect them anyway and entered the land, where they were destroyed (14:45).

The story of Caleb and Joshua and the rest of the leaders who explored the land and brought a report back to the people is definitely one of my favorites in the Bible. I encourage you to read Numbers 13 and 14 in their entirety. If you don’t believe that God is real, then you have every reason to fear each and every “giant” that stands in your way. But, for those of you who claim to be followers of Christ and believers in the Almighty God, this is where it is most crucial in your lives. Friends, if we don’t believe that every single “giant” or “storm” in our lives is a mere grasshopper compared to the God we serve, what’s the point in worshipping Him? Belief that He is Almighty as He says is the ENTIRE reason why we should be moved by fear of disobeying Him and moved by faith to do the great things to which He has called us. What great thing has He promised you or called you to that is currently blocked by “giants”? Is it overcoming an addiction? Is it climbing out of the hole that your past has created for you? Is it forgiving someone who has hurt you? Maybe it’s leaving what is comfortable to serve Him in a new way or a new place. I can assure you that, if God has promised you something in the Scriptures and approves of your goal, whatever stands in your way is nothing more than a grasshopper. Don’t tell God how big your “Nephilim” are; tell your “Nephilim” how big your God is!


Anonymous said...

Hello, I am having difficulties understanding what you mean when using the word "promised". Can you shed some light on these two sentences that I have copied and pasted?

What great thing has He promised you or called you to that is currently blocked by “giants”?

I can assure you that, if God has promised you something in the Scriptures and approves of your goal, whatever stands in your way is nothing more than a grasshopper.

***When I read these sentences I understand that God can call ME (specifically) to do something, but what does God promise ME? Are you talking specifically about the promises in the Bible or are these promises uniquely designed for each individual?***

Logan said...

Great question! I'll start my answer by saying that I know of some people in my life who believe that God promised THEM something directly. One is my former pastor and his wife, who said that God promised them He would bless them with a son after the first 2 children were daughters. Their son was born a little over 3 years ago. I never heard him describe the "promise" much in detail, but he did say it was a "promise from God". I'll share two others. I had a youth group leader when I was in high school who was older than all his friends, but was not yet married with children like they were. They would lovingly tease him about it sometimes, and he always just smiled and said "I believe God will bless me with a wife and children when His time is right". I never heard him use the word "promise", but essentially that's what he was talking about. Finally, there was a girl I was dating once who had been divorced with 3 children. Her husband had cheated on her and left their children. She told me once that she received a promise from God out of the Book of Joel. She then quoted Joel 2:25, which says, "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten". She believed that she had read that Scripture at just the exact time God wanted her to read it so she would receive that promise personally, even though it was originally intended for Israel in the Bible.

So, to answer your question, I do believe God can directly promise YOU something. You have to be in relationship with Him to KNOW Him and know what He has promised you. And those specific promises that He has made to you are essentially between you and Him. But I also believe it's possible that God promises things to Israel or individuals specifically in the Bible that can be applied to us, such as the Joel 2:25 promise that the woman applied to her life. I would also include Joshua 1:5 - "I will never leave you nor forsake you". Jesus himself also says in Matthew 28:20 - "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age". Jesus was speaking to his disciples there, so anyone who becomes a disciple after that point, which would include me and anyone else who is a follower of Jesus, can also know that promise is for THEM. We have this fulfilled promise in the form of the Holy Spirit.

So, the short answer to your question, after I gave you the long one, is "both". :)

Anonymous said...

First, I would like to say thanks for answering. This definitely helped me better understand what you meant, but also raised another question. Before that...

I was hoping your response said that God can promise things specifically for an individual because I felt like that happened to me not so long ago. It was a powerful yet, emotional experience. I thought I was crazy when this was happening because while someone was reading scripture in the Bible, it was being translated in a way that applied specifically to my life. I don't know for sure what the "promise" was, but I did get the general idea of what I am suppose to do. Ever since then I have been putting one foot in front of the other, despite what I think. Anyways, to my question...

Your example referencing to Joel 2:25 -- you said that this was really intended for Israel-- Okay, but who again are the Israelites?

Logan said...

The Israelites are the people of the nation Israel, which was promised to Abram (later became Abraham) in Genesis 12:1-3. He was told to go to the land of Canaan (present-day Israel with parts of Syria and Lebanon) and God told him He would give this land to his descendants. They were God's chosen people to be an example to the rest of the world. God miraculously led them out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. In the New Testament, Paul says in Romans that followers of Christ are "ingrafted branches of Israel". Check out Romans 11 for that story. Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that ties things together.