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Little by Little

April.19.2009

A few days ago I came across an interesting verse in Exodus (ok, many interesting verses – it is Exodus – but the Spirit used this one to teach me).  In this part of the book God’s speaking directly to the Israelites, and they could hear His words.  He just went through the ten commandments and many of the various laws.  Now He’s explaining to them that if they would obey His voice – do the things He’s saying – then He will bring them to a place that He has prepared (Canaan).  This is just an excerpt from all the blessings the Lord promises to pour out on them during this time.

  • “I will not drive them (the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites) out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you.  Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.”    Exodus 23:29-30

Now think about it.  You’re an Israelite.  You’re enemies are living right next door.  You really don’t want them living, let alone in the land that you were promised by your God.  You want them gone – maybe an asteroid hurling toward earth at maximum speed – big enough to destroy their camp but not too big that it touches yours.  Maybe expecting the Lord to do a miracle like He did with the Egyptians and the Red Sea or like He will do with Gideon and his 300 men (but you don’t know that yet because Gideon is hundreds of years from even being the twinkle in his parent’s eye).  Anyway, you want them gone… quickly.  But, hearing this, you realize something – wisdom comes from the Lord.  He tells all of Israel out loud right why He does some things the way He does – it is for their good!  it is so they may prosper!*  it is so they don’t get eaten by wild beasts!  The Lord – the Creator – knows how to do things.  Sometimes His ways look upside-down to us because of our sin nature and limited can’t-see-more-than-2-seconds-ahead-of-us minds.  But really, it’s us that need renewed minds – not Him.  Join with me now in asking our God to continually transform us by renewing our minds.  Let us faithfully and obediently trust Him and His rightside-up ways.

 

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* Let me put a footnote on this because the meaning and purpose of  God’s people prospering is commonly misunderstood in the church today.  Them prospering was not for their own sake – it was so that His name might be lit up so bright that other peoples that live and interact with them, even their enemies, know that the Israelite’s God is the True God, El-Elyon, God Most High.  Everything the Lord does is for His name’s sake – even saving us today.  He does it.  He does it for His name’s sake.  In Romans it talks about how “God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath.. in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy..”  All of it is so that His mercy and justice and wrath and power may be shown and glorified – held as significant and weighty, whether that be us, as His people, prospering or suffering, it is to show His glory.**

**Is a footnote on a footnote allowed?  This one called for it so let’s just call it a shoenote or something.  Yes, everything the Lord does is for His glory – but, being the God from whose right hand pleasures flow forevermore, bringing us closer to Himself by using us for His glory is ultimately for our joy.  God gets glory, we get joy…  good deal, huh?

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