The Grasshopper Syndrome

by Lester Young

So here’s the picture: On one side there’s an entire country full of large – no, no; I mean reeeally large – people… like nine-feet-tall-plus people – just a whole army full of them. And on the other side as their opponents you’ve got… ta-dah… a relatively small swarm of grasshoppers.


Sounds like a decidedly one-sided fight, doesn’t it? Sure it does. But let me ask you this: Why does it sound that way? What makes us automatically think right out of the gate that the grasshoppers got no shot? Because we look at those nine-foot-tall giants and size them up against those two-inch tall grasshoppers, and we make our appraisal based on their appearance – that is, their physical attributes. And if physical attributes – numbers, intelligence, abilities, money, etc. – were all either side brought to the table, our judgment of probable outcome would indeed be quite reasonable.

But what if “what meets the eye” is not all that’s going on? What if some new, vastly pertinent information came to light? You’d likely want to take the opportunity to re-evaluate your opinion with that new data factored in, wouldn’t you?

Of course, the illustration I’ve laid out above alludes to the ancient children of Israel and the incident that cost them forty years of wandering-around time in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33-34). Now we all know today that representation wasn’t anything close to the reality of the situation. But to 99.9999 percent of the Israelites on hand at the time, the picture above was precisely how they saw it. And they were so convinced of the validity of their own assessment that they were fully persuaded it was precisely the way the other side saw it, too! (Numbers 13:31-33)

Two points I’d like to touch on: First, don’t you think the Israelites should’ve known better? I mean, these were the same folks who walked through the Red Sea on dry ground not too terribly long before (Exodus 14:21-30). These were the same ones who saw enough water come out of a rock to satisfy a nation of thirsty individuals as well as all their livestock (Exodus 17:3-6; Psalm 78:15-16). These were the same people who were continually led around by an imposing pillar of cloud and of fire (Exodus 13:21-22; Deuteronomy 1:33; Numbers 14:14). After all they’d been through, shouldn’t these folks have known that the living God was with them – and if God was with them, what other “facts” could possibly matter? (Exodus 3:11-12; Deuteronomy 31:6) Instead of succumbing to a ‘grasshopper’ mentality, shouldn’t they have known that? ……… As the Body of His Son Jesus Christ on the earth, shouldn’t we know it? (1 Corinthians 12:27; 1 John 4:17)

Second: How the heck did they know what the other people thought?! Did anybody bother to go over to the other side and ask even one of them? No, of course they didn’t; because they were too afraid to! The Grasshopper Syndrome had convinced them of something they couldn’t possibly know for sure. For all they knew, those giants had already heard about that ‘Red-Sea’ deal and were by now scared shoeless of Israel themselves. With the God of heaven and earth among them on a daily basis, shouldn’t the Israelites have known that? (Numbers 14:14; Joshua 2:9-11; Nehemiah 9:19-21) ……… As the sons and daughters of God with His Spirit dwelling in us daily, shouldn’t we know it? (Romans 8:14-16; 2 Corinthians 6:16, 18; Hebrews 13:5)

If God tells you to do something, know for a certainty that “He’s with you” (Exodus 3:10-12). If He wasn’t going to be with you in it, He wouldn’t have told you to do it. And that should be the first thought your mind snaps to – not an immediate inventory-taking of what you have (or don’t have), or what you’re able to do (or not able to do), or how smart you are or aren’t, or the fact that you’re only two-inches tall… or any other ‘self’-focused thought the Grasshopper Syndrome is apt to throw at you (Exodus 3:11; Numbers 13:33). When the One Who’s with you – and He just so happens to also be your Father – is the Biggest Thing going, it doesn’t matter a hill of beans how tall you are or what you have. All He really needs from you is your availability (that is, your willingness) and your obedience. He’s got the rest.


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2 Comments to “The Grasshopper Syndrome”

  1. Fantastic. Convicting, too – we have every reason in the world to be brave.

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