I’ve heard it said that New York City has the best produce. I have no idea if this is true or not. All I know is that here, in South Brooklyn, I shop at Rossman Farms — where the produce is always fresh. Located right underneath the Gowanus Expressway, Rossman’s is not the most glamorous place but they are open 24 hours, the prices are cheap, and the produce is fresh!
On Saturday I stopped by to pick up some items. I wasn’t planning on buying grapes but when I saw these I wondered about the grapes in Numbers 13. Could they have looked anything like these? Numbers 13 is the chapter where Moses, at the Lord’s command, sends some men to explore the promised land of Canaan. As per God’s instruction, they were to assess everything about the land — the people, the towns, the soil, etc. Lastly, said the Lord, “Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)”
So, the men did exactly what they were told. When they came back they confirmed that the land was indeed beautiful. And, yes, they even had the fruit to prove it! It’s too bad they couldn’t just leave it at that! Instead they went on to throw everyone into a downward spiral.
“But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.”How depressing! But Caleb wasn’t moved. “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Unfortunately it was too late. Discouragement spreads like gangrene.”We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” The sense is that the inhabitants of Canaan were not only big — they were violent and evil. It was only Joshua and Caleb who did not shrink back! They cried out to rebellious and faithless Israel, “Do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14:9b).
Bad reports are like poison arrows striking at the core of our hearts. Anguish takes over and before we know it we’re paralyzed by fear. Doesn’t it seem like there are a lot of flying arrows lately? But why should we fear? Our King is strong and mighty in battle. (Psalms 24:8). He hurls lightning bolts and scatters His enemies. He routs the Adversary and knows how to throw entire armies into confusion. (Psalms 144:6). Is anything too hard for Him? Is anyone too strong? I say with the Psalmist, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalms 20:7).
The days are evil, no doubt, but by God’s grace, I”m getting behind Joshua and Caleb who boldly proclaimed, “God is with us!”
And, in the meantime, I just have to ask, aren’t these beautiful grapes?