Tony Evans - Rejecting Grasshopper Thinking
God wants us to have a set of glasses on as we look at life that are colored with kingdom lenses. Lenses that are seeing things as he colors them, as he, God, perceives them, as God directs them, as God wants them understood. Far too many of God's people are wearing cultural glasses, or racial glasses, or class glasses, or personality glasses and they see things through the lens of those particular perspectives. God has a set of glasses that he wants us to wear as we look at life, kingdom lenses designed to give you kingdom vision. That is, vision from God's rule, the kingdom is the rule of God. The kingdom agenda is the visible manifestation of that rule over every area of life. He wants you to look at every area of life through his lenses.
God had sent Israel through a process. These are his people in the Old Testament, and he sends them through a journey for which he sends all of us through. The journey began with deliverance from Egypt. So it began with deliverance. It continued through development in the wilderness. So he set them free from Egypt in order to develop them in the wilderness. Development then led to destiny, his ultimate purpose for them in history. God does the same three movements with your life and my life. Deliverance, the point of your salvation when you trusted Christ. Then he wants to develop you through spiritual development in discipleship so that he can lead you to destiny, the place he's taking you in order to use you in history.
Now by destiny, I'm not referring to heaven, that's our ultimate destiny. I'm referring to usefulness in history because when God took Israel to their destiny in the Promised Land, there were still Hittites, Canaanites, Amorites. There were still problems to be dealt with. Not true for us in heaven, but those are challenges that we still face in history, but we're prepared to face them because of development having already been delivered. We find in chapter 13 of the book of Numbers, Israel is on the precipice of the Promised Land, the place of destiny, the place where God wanted them to wind up in history, the place where they were anticipating God's divine favor being fully realized.
But that is where we run into a problem, a problem that they ran into, a problem that we run into, and that is the problem of grasshopper thinking, a grasshopper complex. As they come into the precipice of where God wants them to be, they are right on the verge of experiencing God's historical purpose for them, and we read in verse 33 these words. "There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight". Please notice what they say after they start feeling as grasshoppers, "And so we were in their sight".
So when we felt like grasshoppers, they treated us like grasshoppers. In other words, your self-perception will affect how other folk view you. Said, "We saw ourselves as grasshoppers and they saw us as grasshoppers". See a lot of folk are seeing themselves in a way God never defined them, and then wind up being mad 'cause folk are treating you like you see you. Why shouldn't I agree with how you view yourself? A grasshopper mentality, a grasshopper complex is when you limit your perspective to the size of the physical problem that you face rather than the spiritual assessment that God makes. He said, "We saw the Nephilim, when we saw them, they got bigger and we got smaller".
They limited their perspective to the physical alone because the Nephilim were giants. The Nephilim were this huge community of strong men, and when we saw them, we shrunk. Many of God's people and many of us as individuals don't see ourselves like God sees us. And so we succumb to cultural analysis, racial analysis, social analysis, political analysis because we have limited ourselves to the Nephilim of society and how they want us to be viewed and how we view ourselves.
And so let's look at this situation a little closer because I want you to change if you need to change how you look at yourself, and I want you to change how you look at God's church and how the church views itself because this was the collective people of God in a culture that's now being controlled by the Nephilim. See, I wanna submit to you that the Nephilim look like they're in charge. See, the Nephilim were anti-God, the Nephilim were big, they were the powerful ones, they were the ones who controlled the agenda, they were the ones who occupied the territory, they were the secularists of the day, and they were calling the shots, and they were defining reality.
We are told that in the beginning of the chapter, verse 1, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, 'Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan.'" So let me give you the rest of the story. It's described for us in Deuteronomy chapter 1. After Numbers comes Deuteronomy. Moses is rehearsing what happened. So this is after the fact. Verse 19 says, "Then we set out from Horeb, and we went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, just as the Lord our God had commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. And I said to you, 'You have come to the hill country of the Amorites which the Lord our God is about to give us.'"
So they've gotten the promise of God. God's gonna give you this. "See, the Lord your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear and be dismayed". So Moses is rehearsing this. Verse 22, "Then all of you approached me and said, 'Let us send men before us, that they may search out the land for us, and bring back to us word of the way by which we should go up and the cities which we shall enter.' This thing pleased me and I took twelve of your men, one man for each tribe".
Oh, what? We just got some new information from Deuteronomy that we didn't get from Numbers. In Numbers chapter 13 verse 1, it says, "God said, 'Send the twelve spies.'" That's what Numbers 13:1 says. But in Deuteronomy 1, it wasn't God's idea to send the 12. It says the people came up with the idea to send the 12, and the reason the people came up with the idea to send the 12 was to spy out, what strategy are we going to use to take it?
God makes legal promises. I'll do this, I'll do that. But God wants us to implement the strategy for claiming what he's declared will happen. If you don't know the promise, then the strategy is connected to nothingness or your own human opinion. But if you do know the promise but don't develop a strategy, then the promise lays dormant. It's still there, but you don't get it. They had a strategy to claim the promise even though the promise involved the problem. I won't go too fast here.
The promise was the Promised Land, but in the promise was a problem. The Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the -ites were in the land. So God's promises don't mean there aren't problems, but God's promises that also have problems are to be addressed by the strategy used to grab ahold of what he has said. He says it up there, we implement it down here. So they send 12 spies into the land to spy out the strategy for taking it. Now, Numbers 13, verse 25. "When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days," becomes very important that way.
Remember, say 40 days, all right. "They proceeded, they came to the congregation". Verse 26 says, "And they brought the word back". Verse 27, "We went into the land where you sent us, and it flows with milk and honey". That means it's highly productive. Just like God said, this is fertile territory. "Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong. The cities are fortified and moreover, we saw the descendants of Enoch there". That's the Nephilim. He says, "These folks, the Amalek, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, these problems are all over the place". Ten of the spies spoke up and said, "While God's promises are true, the problems are too big".
When I look at the culture today, I see Nephilim everywhere. I see Democratic Nephilim and Republican Nephilim, Black Nephilim and White Nephilim. I see Nephilim everywhere, strong problems in every direction. And they said, "This is too big, even though we agree that, yeah, God said it". But here it is, "Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses". He had to quiet the people down. Why? 'Cause they said, "Oh no! Oh no! This is... we can't fix this, this is too big". "We should," Caleb said, verse 30, "By all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it. But the men who had gone up with him, 'We are not able to go up against the people for they are too strong for us.' So they gave out to the sons of Israel," verse 32, "A bad report of the land which they had spied out. 'The land through which we have gone in spying it out is a land that devours.'" We got cannibals in there, "Devours its inhabitants and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size".
We have a big problem because we got a divided leadership. The ten saw the physical and two saw the spiritual. This is the problem with majority rule 'cause the vote is ten to two. Ten spies versus Joshua and Caleb. So let me give you a secret if you want to begin to experience God's kingdom power working in your life, your home, our church, and hopefully to influence our culture. You don't vote on the will of God. Let me say that again. They gonna vote, it's ten to two, and you're gonna get ready to see the folks say, "Majority rule. And since ten leaders said this and two leaders said that, we gonna go with the ten".
You never vote on the will of God. When God says something, it doesn't matter how many folks say something else. Doesn't matter how many folks. It doesn't matter how many people voted for it or voted for this or voted for that. When God speaks, you are to implement his principle if you want to see his power, even though it means you have to overcome some problems. If you listen to the voices of the majority who are not pursuing the will of God, it doesn't mean they're wrong except that they're not pursuing the will of God. Whenever that happens, you have the wrong set of glasses on. You want leadership in your life, in your family, in your church, and even in the culture that has the guts to see the spiritual and who will start there, doesn't deny the problem.
Caleb does not deny the problem, he just doesn't start with the problem. He starts with the reality that God had already made a promise. So let me show you what happened. Chapter 14, verse 3 and 4, "Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt? So they said to one another, 'Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.'"
Here's another problem. We had a problem with bad leadership, but we had a problem of also people who were still tied to their past. See Egypt is their past, Egypt is where they came from. In fact, when they were in Egypt, they were fussing and cussing to get out. But they said... and when they heard the Word of God about this Promised Land, they thought that was great, but now that they have a problem, they wanna go backwards, they wanna regress and not keep going in the will of God, even though their problem's to overcome. They were tethered to the past.
See, so many of us were raised by the world, raised by ungodly way of thinking that our minds got to think that's the only way we can be happy, that's the only way we can be fulfilled, that's the only way we can be victorious, that's the only way we can overcome, and so we go back to that Egypt because we still see a challenge to move forward because we're not like Caleb who is looking at things through spiritual eyes.
He says in Hebrew chapter 4, verse 1, these verses, "Therefore let us fear. While a promise remains of entering his rest," his destiny, "Any one of you may seem to have come short of it". Not make it over. "For indeed, we have had good news preached to us". What was the good news back then? Go to the Promised Land, God has given it to you. The good news is whenever you hear the promises of God given to you in church. "Just as they also, but the word they heard did not profit them". Did you know you could hear the Word and not benefit from it? "The word they heard did not benefit them, profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard".
Verse 3, "For we who have believed, enter that rest. Just as he said, 'As I swore to my fathers, they shall not enter my rest.'" He says, you can hear the word and not profit from it because you don't mix it with faith. When they heard the report, the majority report versus the minority report, ten versus two, chapter 14, verse 1. "Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, 'Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!'"
They are crying, sad, and emotional about their rebellion, not 'cause they're trying to fix it, 'cause the next verse says, "And they grumbled". They grumbled. At a time they should be giving thanks for his promises, they were grumbling because of bad leadership and faithlessness. Verse 29 of chapter 14, "Your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to the complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me".
Verse 35, "I, the Lord, have spoken, surely I will do all this evil congregation who have gathered together against me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed and they will die". Look at verse 34, "According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know my opposition". They said, "Oh, that we might die in this wilderness," and God said, "Okay".
If we insist on not moving forward with God's perspective, kingdom eyeglasses, we will go in circles and never cross over to victory in our lives, victory over our addictions, victory in our relationships, because we still are giving excuses for staying stuck. I'm trying to get us to move forward with the challenges in spite of the challenges in our lives and in our spheres. So search out God's promises for your situation, for our situation, and then let's move, let's get going. I want you to ask God to give you new eyes, to give you a different pair of shades, to help you see his promises and then to act on them.
The size, height, scope of these hills and rocks and trees makes me look very, very small. When you compare the size of your problem, your circumstances, your struggles against the size of your God, they will begin to shrink too. Life does have realities that cause us pain and that cause us consternation, but they must be all put alongside of who God is, what God says, and what God has done in the past to help us cope, and not only cope, but overcome the things that we're facing now.
Throughout the Bible, God's people have faced things that look like it was going to both defeat and destroy them, but when they were able to bring God's perspective into it, even though it looked like defeat was inevitable, God was able to bring victory out of ashes. Whatever you are going through right now, put it alongside of God and watch it shrink as the size of God grows. You look throughout the Bible, praise is appropriate to problem because the more you praise, the more you're recognizing God, and the more you're recognizing God, the smaller the issues of life will become. Keep your praise up so your struggles go down.