“I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not be come desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. I will drive them out before you little by little…” Exodus 23:29-30a
After the Israelite people were freed from slavery in Egypt, they began a journey to the land God promised them. They experienced miracles and saw God work in special, wonderful ways, like causing the Red Sea to part for them and giving them manna each day to eat.
Their goal was the Promised Land. They left the land of slavery; now it was time to look ahead, to focus on the bright future awaiting them.
As they neared the land, God began to prepare them for what was ahead. Beginning in Exodus 23:20, God revealed more detail of his plan for them.
- 20—assurance that they will enter the land
- 23—God tells them He will destroy their enemies
- 24—God tells them to utterly destroy the false gods in the land; eradicate the sin dwelling there, don’t try to ‘fit in’ or compromise with sin
- 25—He tells them to serve Him, and promises incredible blessing for doing this
- 27—He tells them He is preparing the land for invasion, by sending terror, confusion, and natural disasters to this land.
These facts are stated. This is truth. Here is the promise, the plan; it is a done deal.
God then adds an interesting twist; He will drive out the enemies little by little, not in a single year. His plan was sure; they had protection, direction, and blessings ahead. But it wouldn’t happen all at once. That didn’t mean that His promise was only a little bit true, or that He wasn’t powerful enough to do it all at once or that they weren’t good enough to receive His blessing all at once.
Most of us can think about how we have changed since we were younger. We may be embarrassed by some of our former beliefs and actions, but over time God changed us, little by little.
Good things sometimes take a while. Our co-worker may need our compassion, our patience, with his/her mistakes or wrongs in order to mature and then be patient with others. No one gets better or improves as a response to impatience.
Our Father, teach us love one another enough to bear with them when they don’t act the way we want; help us to keep our faith that God is good, that He has wonderful blessings for us, that He is deeply involved in our lives. Help us to recognize that our patience with others glorifies God and brings contentment into our daily lives.