When I was a child, I was deathly afraid of spiders. How could I be so scared of such a small thing that I could crush with one well-placed step? I do not base my fear on any ordinary spider though — but rather, a tarantula. My fear, in part, was due to the 1955 movie Tarantula where a tarantula grew to the size of a building and terrorized a city until they put it to death.
That fear of spiders hung with me for many years after that and as I think back to those days, it reminds me of another insect story in Numbers chapter 13 when the Lord gave Moses the command of sending men to “search out the land of Canaan, which I gave to them.” After searching out the land of Canaan, they returned and reported, “. . .and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers. . .” Remember the conversation the Lord had with Moses afterward, “. . .How long will this people provoke me. . .?”
Why were the people scared and fearful? For our answer, let’s revert to Numbers 13:31 and the report given by the ten men of the twelve that God sent out to spy the land, “But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” Doubt, unbelief, and fear always points to self and says, “We cannot.”
However, in verse 13:30 Caleb stilled the people after the initial report and told Israel, “. . .Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Faith always looks toward God and says, “We can.”
Evidently Israel had forgotten about God delivering them from Egypt and four-hundred years of captivity. They’d forgotten the stories of how God fed their predecessors with manna from heaven, given them water from rocks, and allowed the drowning of the entirety of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea. Yet they still didn’t believe in the power of Almighty God. No wonder God was provoked.
So, why are we, even today, as grasshoppers in our own eyes? Are our fears causing us to wander in the wilderness today? Are our fears bigger than God? Each of us must answer that question ourselves because for as many who ask the question, why am I afraid, there will be as many different answers. Although fear is the enemy of faith it can still be a good thing in that it is a warning when something is wrong. God uses our fear as a trigger for faith.
Numbers 14:8, 9 tells us that Caleb and Joshua spoke to Israel saying, “If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” Sounds strangely familiar to Romans 8:31, which says, “. . .If God be for us, who can be against us?” I personally love the part about “. . .they are bread for us. . .”
First Peter 5:8 also says to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Can Satan devour us? You bet. May he devour us? Not on your life. Jesus won that victory on the Cross two-thousand years ago.
Be sober, be vigilant. . .. and always be on the alert to counter the enemy with God’s Word. Your life may depend on it, both in the natural and in the spiritual. Then leave it to the Lord to be short, sweet, and to the point. The Lord gave us everything and all we must do is. . .receive it and use it. Sometimes the hardest thing about victory, is receiving it.