Who are the grasshoppers?

Who are the grasshoppers?

Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. – Numbers 14:1

Numbers 13:2-33

 2 Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve tribes.

 25 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned

 27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country – a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces.”

 28 “But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified.”

 30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!”

 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.”

 33 “We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them, we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”

Webster defines a committee as “A body of persons delegated to consider, investigate, take action on, or report on some matter.” Others have less stellar definitions and comments regarding committees.

“A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary” (Fred Allen).

“A committee is a group of people who individually can do nothing and collectively decide nothing can be done” (Wiersbe).

“A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours” (Milton Berle).

“If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it” (Charles Kettering).

“The best committee is made up of 3 people, 2 of whom are dead” (Jess Moody).

“If Columbus had an advisory committee, he would probably still be at the dock” (Arthur Goldberg).

“A camel is a horse designed by committee” (Alec Issigonis).

“Football combines the two worst things about America: it is violence punctuated by committee meetings” (George Will).

The Father told Moses to form a committee of 12 men to investigate the Promised Land and determine its viability. They changed their mission from the investigation of the land to an investigation of the armies and fortifications of Canaan. This was a tragic mistake (Numbers 13:1).

Of the 12 spies, all but 2, Joshua and Caleb, focused on the seemingly overwhelming obstacles they would face when they entered the land of promise. They failed to recognize and believe in the Father’s promise that he had already given them the promised land. By faith, they merely had to take possession of what he had already given them. Instead, they became discouraged.

“Their discouragement quickly spread throughout the camp. Doubt had turned into unbelief, and unbelief is rebellion against God (Numbers 14:9; Hebrews 3:16-19)” (Wiersbe).

They cried out in unbelief, “we are not able” (Numbers 13:31). “Because these ten men were walking by sight, they didn’t really believe God’s promises. They looked at the people of the land and saw giants; they looked at the Canaanite cities and saw high walls and locked gates, and they looked at themselves and saw grasshoppers” (Wiersbe).

Numbers 13:33 We felt like grasshoppers.

Indeed, there were grasshoppers in the land. However, by the Father’s reckoning, it was not the children of Israel who were the grasshoppers. It was the Canaanites.

Isaiah 40:22 God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!


“We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems” (John Gardner).

Father help me to see things as You see things. All the machinations of the human race are nothing but a source of laughter and amusement to the Lord God Almighty (Psalms 2:7).


There were, however, Joshua and Caleb, two men of faith, among the 12 spies. In contrast to the evil report of the 10 faithless spies, they offered a good report, a minority report. How was their report received? At the very least, it was highly unpopular.

Numbers 14:6-10

 6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua, son of Nun, and Caleb, son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing.

 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land!

 8 And if the LORD is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.

 9 Do not rebel against the LORD, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”

 10 But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb.

Joshua and Caleb were like NFL quarterbacks after losing a game. They immediately went from the penthouse to the outhouse. The disheartened children of Israel wanted to kill them. But the Father had another plan and stopped them dead in their tracks. From the Father’s point of view, they were not rejecting Joshua and Caleb; they were in open rebellion against Him.

Numbers 14:10-11

 10 Then, the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle.

 11 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?

The Father had had enough of their faithless criticism and defiance. He told Moses that he was prepared to destroy them on the spot. He would respond with a do-over. He would replace them with the descendants of Moses (Numbers 14:12). Graciously but firmly, Moses interceded on behalf of the children of Israel.

Numbers 14:19 In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.”

The Father granted Moses’ request. Because of their defiant rebellion, they would never enter the land of promise. They would not even be allowed to see it. Their fate was now sealed once and for all. The Father’s words were direct, blunt, and chilling.

Numbers 14:28-30

 28 Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say.

 29 You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die.

 30 You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb, son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, son of Nun.

Malachi 1:6 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name!

It is a harrowing thing to disrespect the living God!


© Dr. H 2022

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