The book of Numbers, chapters 13 and 14, tells the story of the leaders of the tribe of Israel who were sent to scout the Promised Land and report back to the Israelites as to what they saw.
Remember that just prior to this, the Israelites had witnessed God in action many times as He brought them out of Egypt with miracles and plagues. They had also just walked through the Red Sea on dry land.
Remember that those selected to scout out Canaan were leaders, probably because they were men of vision and standing.
Yet, of the twelve men that returned, ten reported that the people were giants and that the Israelites would not survive if they went up against them. The people joined this chorus, wishing that they had never left Egypt, and developing a plan to return.
Except for Joshua and Caleb. Whereas the other ten saw the giants, Joshua and Caleb saw the grapes.
These were grapes so big that it took two men to carry back one cluster on a log between them.
In these grapes, Joshua and Caleb saw the provision that God had for them. They saw the grapes as the promises and blessings of God. And given what they had just witnessed with God’s power, provision and protection, it seemed easy and obvious to see.
Joshua and Caleb begged the people not to focus on the giants: the enemies and adversaries to the promises and provisions of God. But unfortunately, they were the only two that could look at the environment in Canaan and apply what they had just witnessed to this new environment. And unfortunately for them, they had to wait forty years with the rest of the Israelites, wandering in the desert.
If all we see is giants, we will be ineffective. Many of us are held captive by a “giant” mentality, in which we see negativity everywhere we look. We are slaves in a “giant” prison.
But some of us are trying to break out. We want to go for the grapes.
We need to think grapes, walk grapes, and talk grapes. When we close our eyes, we should see grapes.
Once you taste those grapes, the giants don’t matter.
The giants are on OUR property with OUR grapes. The grapes are the reward for standing on the word of God.
In this time of the pandemic, do we see grapes or giants? At this time in our lives, what are the grapes and what are the giants?
What is God calling us to do as individuals, communities, ministries, or the Global Church? Which do we focus on – the grapes or giants?
The DML team has been praying together daily about this and we believe that God is calling us to a time of repentance and revival. We believe that some of the giants are traditional church and some of the grapes are the people released from the building.
One of our partner pastors in Burkina Faso wrote this to us in this past week:
Never have I felt ashamed of myself and for the Church like I do at this time. We are so powerless to show the move of the Good Samaritan in a hungry world. I think that the day Jesus asked the disciples to feed the mob themselves in the desert, the disciples gave a better answer than most churches could give today. They said in Mark 8:4-5, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied.” Rather, our untold answer would have been, “Lord, what do we have to do with feeding people’s stomachs? Have you not come to feed people’s soul?” No empty stomach will stand and listen to a talking man.
NEVER THAT AGAIN! Our better answer should be, “Lord, with you on our side, we are ready to care about all that you care about that is human: missionally, socially, economically, and environmentally.
To tell you the truth, the experience of COVID-19 has opened our eyes! We need to be fully Christian and to fully disciple every congregant, by taking into account all that God has for humanity.
I don’t know what your grapes and giants are. But together, as the body of Christ, may we see grapes rather than giants in this coming week!