In the past year or so, I have been learning the importance of having an accurate vantage point, especially when it comes to how I see myself. Too often, how I feel about myself directs what I believe to be true about myself. And we all know that that’s not always the most positive vantage point! I need to be constantly reminded that I am who God says I am- a chosen, beloved daughter of His. One of my new favorite worship songs says it well:
“I am chosen, not forsaken.
I am who You say I am.
You are for me, not against me.
I am who You say I am.”
The bridge repeats itself over and over and over again. Because how many times do we need to tell our own souls this? Over and over and over again. How many times will the devil attack us and try to make us believe that we are who we think we are? Over and over and over again. How many times does our own sin cause us to fall back into that bad thinking? Over and over and over again. And how many times does God graciously pick us back up and remind us that He is for us? Praise God, over and over and over again.
I was listening to Stephen Furtick (Elevation Church) preach on the story of the Israelite spies, and God showed me another necessary vantage point that I often miss. I can get so caught up in making sure that I view myself truthfully, that I forget to make sure my view of Him is accurate too.
Here is a quick overview of the story of the Israelite spies:
God had delivered his chosen people from slavery in Egypt and promised to give them a land all their own…something they’d not had before. He protected them in downright miraculous ways and brought them right to the edge of their future promise. The problem was, this land was already inhabited by hostile tenants who weren’t too happy about their land being promised to other people. So Moses sent 12 spies to check it out, see what they were getting themselves into.
Ten of the spies came back with reports of how beautiful the land was and how they would prosper there, BUT the natives were too much to overcome. They were particularly concerned about the one nation of giants. So concerned that they basically advised that Israel live in the neighboring desert instead. Or go back to Egypt and slavery. Or just die. Apparently Moses picked a few drama kings as his spies!
“All of the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:32-33)
They were focused on their perspective, how they looked to themselves, and they missed it on multiple levels. They forgot who God proclaimed them to be, and they forgot who God says He is. They forgot that the almighty God of the universe had already promised them this land. Instead they saw giants and panicked.
Two of the spies, though, had a different perspective. “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land, a land flowing with mild and honey, and will give it to us.” (Numbers 14:7-8)
This is what I had been missing. I’d spent so much time focusing my thinking on how God views me and trying to match that. But I was neglecting to remember how powerful He is. The God who is “for me, not against me” is the same God who protected His people from fire-filled furnaces, hungry lions, and warriors giants. He stopped rushing rivers and violent storms to make sure His people were safe. He caused animals to talk and fire to spring from water, all to make His purposes happen through His people.
And most incredibly of all, He raised Jesus from the dead, defeated death itself, and promised to come back in all His majesty. THAT, my friends, is MY God. If I truly believed deep down in my heart that this God was totally on my side, why would giants ever scare me? But when life seems bigger than me, I forget. When I think that my strength alone will cut it, I become a grasshopper, waiting to get squished in the grass.
And the truth of the matter is, I am a grasshopper compared to the giants in front of me. Just like a grasshopper can’t grit his teeth and take down even a chipmunk, I am not capable of defeating the giants that God has called me to. But the amazing thing is that He doesn’t expect me to. He didn’t tell the Israelites, “You got this! Just try really hard and I’m sure you can beat those giants!”. No, He said…
“I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgement. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.” Exodus 6:6-8
So when giants appear in your life and giving up or going back seems easier than facing them, check your vantage point. First, remember who God says you are- chosen, not forsaken. Second, remember that He is a mighty Lord, and He fights giants for you. With this vantage point, our giants will become grasshoppers in comparison to our God.
Story- Numbers 13- for the whole story of the twelve spies
Song- “Who You Say I Am”, Hillsong
Sermon -“Reputation Rehab”, Stephen Furtick, Elevation Church