Overcoming Grasshopper Mentality
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i heard this week the true story of a man that got a brand new metal detector. He took it out to a field to try it out for the first time. As he turned it on, he got a really strong signal right where he was standing. He immediately started digging to found the prize. He dug and could not find anything. He would pick up the metal detector and get a signal that was very strong. So, he would dig some more. Still nothing. He checked his signal again. Strong as it could be. He ended up digging a 12 foot hole and could not find anything. Imagine how he felt when he realized the signal he was getting was coming from his steel-toed boots. The perception in our mind sometimes tricks us in believing things that are not true.
Such is the case of the Israelites. Over 600,000 Israelites were delivered from the captivity in Egypt and wandered for years in the wilderness anticipating going into the Promised Land, which the Bible describes as flowing with milk and honey. They get on the southern edge of the Promised Land, and they get a glimpse of this land and its inhabitants. They sent spies into the land to check it out. Our Scripture today gives us the report from these spies:
They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Today’s message is called, “Overcoming Grasshopper Mentality.”
Grasshopper Mentality Defined
Grasshopper Mentality Defined
We see in the very last verse of this passage a mindset that is described. The men said they “seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes.” They had a “grasshopper mentality.” Grasshoppers rub their legs together to make chirping sounds. One interesting fact is that they have ears on their bellies. This allows them to feel the vibrations of other grasshoppers. As a result, they respond to the chirps of other grasshoppers and do what they do.
Grasshoppers have the ability to jump away from any kind of predator. In fact, if we humans could jump like they do, we could jump the length of a football field. They can also fly.
Grasshoppers can eat half their body weight in a day. We hear more about locusts causing billions of dollars in damages to crops. We hear of locust swarms devouring fields and we even see evidence of this in the Bible as one of the plagues. Grasshoppers and locusts are of the same insect order.
Both seem to be a great source of protein. John the Baptist ate locusts and honey. Many people today in Africa, Asia and the Americas eat grasshoppers.
While they may be able to do all that, they are not known for their ability to think. These men heard this report and begin to make sounds that didn’t have a lot of thought with them and before long, the chirping was throughout the people. Have you ever noticed that before? One or two people start some type of negativity, and before long, the whole group is negative.
The Osmond Brothers in the 1970’s had a song that said, “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch.” Really? Leave that bad apple in the bunch long enough and watch what happens. They all will spoil.
The same thing happens with a grasshopper mentality. There is limited thinking which produces limited abilities that gives limited results. It happened with the Israelites. Notice how the grasshopper mentality is demonstrated.
Grasshopper Mentality Demonstrated
Grasshopper Mentality Demonstrated
I see grasshopper mentality demonstrated in this passage in three ways. First, I see it demonstrated through naysayers. A naysayer is person that does not believe anything good can come out of the situation. That person will always say no and have a pessimistic or negative view of the outcome.
In verse 26, we see that the men came back with a report. The naysayers focused on what was seen instead of the One who was allowing them to see.
In verse 27, they call the promised land the “land which you sent us.” If you study other scriptures that describe the promised land, you will see language that is described as the “land which the Lord swore to give them.” They were afraid and fear made them feel disqualified. These naysayers doubted the Word of God. God had already promised them the promised land. This report came back and they doubted God’s Word.
We see they recognized that the land does flow with milk and honey and they had a sample of the huge fruit. However, the very next word in the NIV says, “but.” Isn’t there always a big “but?” “It does flow with milk and honey and my goodness look at this fruit, BUT the people that live there are powerful.
A naysayer will only see part of the picture instead of the whole thing. Here we see the naysayer seeing the obstacles instead of the Omnipotent. They looked at the powerful people instead the power of God Almighty. Do you have powerful people in your life? Power is an amazing tool of deception. We allow these folks to determine our self-worth. We allow insecurity to creep into our lives.
The perception became their reality. They were powerful because they appeared that way. The passage says they saw the descendants of Anak there. The Bible says in that the Anakites were strong and tall. They were perceived as giants. In verse 29, the report goes into more detail and lists other people groups that had the reputation of also being strong and tall. A naysayer will allow what is big to become irrationally bigger.
The naysayers of the grasshopper mentality will eventually make doubt-casters. A doubt-caster takes “naysaying” to a whole new level. The doubt-caster will be one that says their way is the right way, there is no other way and whoever doesn’t see their way will never be right. It doesn’t take but one or two doubt-casters to get that ball rolling.
Verse 31 says,
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”
The doubt-caster begins with “we can’t” and moves to exaggerated truth.
How many excuses can we come up with in our Christian walk? “I can’t serve you God more because I don’t have time.” Really? You are saying to the One who created time, you don’t have time?
“I can’t serve you because I don’t have the right opportunity.” Unbelief always sees the obstacles but faith sees the opportunities.
“I can’t serve the Lord because of what I have done in my past.” If that were true, none of us could serve. Some of the best advice I have ever received was when I made a statement like that to a pastor friend. He said, “Stop looking in the rear view mirror, keep your eyes on the road ahead, and put the pedal to the metal and go!”
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
“I can’t serve the Lord because it’s too hard.” Sometimes in life and in our spirituality we have to understand that nothing worth having comes easy.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“I can’t serve because I don’t know where to start.” All you have to do is ask.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
One more word about being a doubt-caster. In verse 32, we see that the doubt-casters spread the word. One of the most damaging things that can ever happen in a church is for one or two people to start casting doubt. When that happens, division happens. When division happens, the devil is tickled because he is fulfilling his mission of killing, stealing and destroying as Jesus mentions in . We can all be guilty of this if we allow it to happen.
In demonstrating the grasshopper mentality, there are the naysayers, the doubt-casters, and that which is self inflicted. In verse 33,
We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
See the self-infliction? “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes.” I talk to many people that have this mentality. For whatever reason, they believe the lies that have been imposed on them in some form or another that says, “I am not good enough.”
1 Corinthians 6:20
you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
That includes your mind by the way. There is no room for stinking thinking.
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
I have good news. Now only can we see grasshopper mentality in this passage defined and demonstrated, because of the grace of God, we can see it dissolved!
Grasshopper Mentality Dissolved
Grasshopper Mentality Dissolved
In order to do so, we have to resolve that there is nothing bigger than God Almighty. He is Creator, Sustainer, Omnipotent and head over heels in love with you! His promises are true. His word is infallible. He cares for you.
The fear of the Israelites caused them to have to wander the wilderness for 38 more years. Some of you have been wandering in your own wilderness for a long time. Fear is keeping you from your Promised Land. Your perspective needs to change.
Go back to and let me show you a different perspective.
But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”
What is the purpose of this verse? Is it to instigate fear? The Israelites far outnumbered all of these groups combined. They were spread all over the land and could not have easily or quickly come together. The Israelites had a commander in chief that was knowledgeable and had been with God. He had kept them united. The other groups would have never been as united and their efforts would have failed. They may have been giants who were strong and tall. That just makes them a bigger target. Perspective matters.
Caleb gives us a great example to follow. His perspective is worth looking at as we close. In verse 30, Caleb says:
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
He shows some heart. He speaks with confidence. He shows bravery and courage. He says, “Let’s go and possess” not “Let’s go and conquer.” God had already promised. He is assured that because of God’s promise, it will be so!
Caleb remembers here, that with God, all things are possible!
Are you going to think like a grasshopper or a child of the King?