Let’s continue with two more connections between the Israelites entering the Promised Land, and me visiting Utah’s national parks. (Or, if you’re a fan of wordplay, “between Zionism, and going to Zion.” Or, if you prefer irony, “between a group trying to leave the wilderness, and one trying to go into the wilderness.” OK, enough of that.**)
- After heeding the self-defeating report from ten out of twelve spies, convincing themselves of their grasshopper-like inferiority (while their opponents did pretty much the same thing, according to Rahab), the Israelites spent decades (40 years total) in the wilderness, surviving on manna and reminiscing about going back to Egypt, all that time basically camped across the river from the land of milk and honey.
How does this relate to me? While I haven’t exactly been living in the wilderness eating bland food (unless all that Top Ramen consumed during college counts), I have lived 40-(*cough*)-years wanting to tour Utah’s parks, and I am definitely guilty of looking at the past with Easier-Than-Facing-the-Future-colored glasses.
Hard to believe, I’ve lived my entire life only a few day’s drive from a dream.
- The Israelites first step in claiming the land and overcoming their “complex” was to get across the Jordan river. In a move similar to the parting of the Red Sea, reminding everyone of the events of 40 years before – sort of a “Previously on ‘Entering the Promised Land'” type of recap – the new management, Joshua, following out God’s instructions, sent priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant wading into the swollen Jordan River. The river backed up, thousands of Israelites crossed over on dry land, Joshua piled up a few rocks to mark the spot, the priests came through with the Ark, and the Jordan resumed flowing. “We now return to your regularly scheduled river.” The Israelites were in the land, everybody knew it, and there was no turning back.
My point in all that is this: They declared their intentions, both to themselves and to all those in the land. Grasshoppers? Definitely not.
To declare my intentions, I now present these homemade Grasshopper Bars (chocolate and mint), which represent my declaration to make the journey to Utah’s parks this year.
Too literal? A grasshopper on top of desserts? Sorry.
** For a much more legitimate interpretation of desert exile and personal experience, try “Desert of My Days,” by the incomparable Larnelle Harris.
Isaiah 40:22 (NIV)
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.