Grasshoppers, Giants and Reality

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Reality is 90% perception, or so they say. I don’t know who comes up with these statistics, but it makes a lot of sense to me.

When I was in sales, I led my district one year, but also went through a three-week drought with no sales at all. So what was my reality? Was I a good salesman who had a bad drought, or was I a bad salesman who just happened to get lucky?

Since the dynamics of a family are so different between first born, middle and youngest child, and, taking into account the gender difference, two siblings can grow up in the same family, but since their perceptions are different, it is like growing up in different families. Each child perceives and experiences the family differently to the extent that as far as perception goes, it’s not even the same family. You and I can watch the same football game, but if I am watching behind the goal, and you are sitting on the sideline near the center we are going to have a totally different experience and perception of the same game.

Satan well knows how perception affects our picture of reality. So he likes to play little mind games. A while back during a Bible study I mentioned that sometimes I am tempted to think that I care more about people than they care about me. My Bible student quickly responded, “Me too!” Then he paused, scratched his chin, and added, “I bet Satan tries to make everyone feel that way.” I agreed with my Bible student.

Let’s look at how Satan played mind games with the Israelites. Look at how they perceived themselves after spying out the Promised Land which had already been … well, promised to them!

All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” Numbers 13:32-33 NLT.

Wait a minute? First of all, historians say the Canaanites may have been a few inches taller than the Israelites, but not so much taller as to be called giants. The grasshopper comparison was a drastic exaggeration. Furthermore, how did they know the Canaanites thought they were like grasshoppers? How would they know what they were thinking at all? They didn’t! They cast their perception on other people, and thought their perception was reality, when it was all in their minds. Satan was playing mind games with them.

Later, in Joshua 2:24 another group of Israeli spies visit Rahab in Jericho and there they found out what the reality was.

“The Lord has given us the whole land,” they said, “for all the people in the land are terrified of us.” Joshua 2:24 NLT

So the grasshopper comparison was just a little mind game of Satan’s that the first spies bought into. It was not reality. Sure, God wants us to be humble, but that does not mean he wants us to think we are grasshoppers while everyone else is a giant. Those who walk humbly with God are a terror to those who stand in their own pride and arrogance. If you walk humbly with God you do not need to be intimidated by anyone, regardless of their title or letters behind their name.

Humble men, armed with the word of truth alone, withstood the attacks of men of learning, who, with surprise and anger, found their eloquent sophistry powerless against the simple, straightforward reasoning of men who were versed in the Scriptures rather than in the subtleties of the schools. –Ellen White, Great Controversy, Page 455.

So it is today as in every age. The same can be said for you today, which was said of John the Baptist.

He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings. –Ellen White, Desire of Ages, page 103.

Wisdom and humility go beautifully together, while the common combination of arrogance and ignorance seems to be lacking in comeliness. While we do not want to be arrogant and ignorant, it is possible to be humble and confident. Our confidence should be in God and not in ourselves.

Are you facing a giant today? First humble yourself before God. Put your confidence in His love and power. Walk forward in humble faith and obedience, and your giants will turn into grasshoppers. The humble of the land can also be the confident of the land, and not cowards.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

Luke 20; Spies Who Dress Like Sheep But Really Are Wolves

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Luke  20:19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them. 

 20:20    And they watched [him], and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. 

Do you believe Satan uses these same tactics today? You better believe he does! He will use wolves in sheep clothing who pretend to be sincere, to get you to open up to them so that they can report what you have said, and hopefully twist your words and malign your motives to destroy the work you are doing for God.

While it is true that no weapon formed against God’s people can prosper, and that the enemies of truth can do nothing but advance the truth, Satan and his spies can still cause some headaches along the way. This is why Jesus warns us, “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Luke 12:3    And remember Jesus said that before there were cell phones and Facebook! Solomon in his wisdom advises, “ Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.” Ecclesiastes 10:20

  The last time I performed a baptism at church, when I changed into my robe, I did not want to leave my wallet with my clothes, so I gave it a friend to watch for me. While I would never dream of anyone in the church taking my money, there was still only a handful of people I felt comfortable leaving my wallet with. While I assume many are trustworthy, there are very few that I will put in a position where they need to prove they are trustworthy. Many of us have friends all over the country. If we must talk about a problem that is sensitive and needs secrecy, it may be best to share it with a friend who is way outside the picture rather than one who is close by. They will have less opportunity to let it slip to the wrong people, and they may even be able to give us a better neutral objective view point on the issue. Of course we have a friend in Jesus, who we can trust with all our secrets, and in reality He is the only one who can help us anyway. Also remember, evil spies cannot twist words that were never spoken.