Today's Bible readings are Exodus 23:14-25:40, Matthew 24:29-51, Psalm 30:1-12, & Proverbs 7:24-27
27 “I will send my terror ahead of you and create panic among all the people whose lands you invade. I will make all your enemies turn and run. 28 I will send terror ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. 30 I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land.
God is getting ready to lead His people into the possession of what He has promised them. They have left the land of slavery & are moving toward a place of blessing where God will supply their every need. The people are starting to get a bit excited. The people are also starting to get a bit concerned. They realize that in this new land of promise there is another enemy waiting them. This enemy is not going to just give up & let them take their land.
Israel is not trained in the art of war. They were slaves for the last 400 years. They are getting ready to go into a land that is occupied by a group of people who have mastered the art of war for the last several centuries. They are skilled in warfare & Israel is not. There had to be a certain degree of fear that was trying to get into the hearts of the people. Yet God had a plan.
I love the truth that is laid out in this text. The truth shows us what to expect in our own lives today. God is the One who goes before us to make a way where there seems to be no way. He will defeat enemies much larger & skilled than we are by His power, if we follow the leading of His Spirit. What an awesome promise for you & I.
The promise land was going to be a great place for God’s people. It was going to be a place of great blessing. It was going to be a place of great prosperity. Yet, there were going to be some enemies that had to be defeated so they could have God’s best.
Let’s make something clear here, God was calling His people to the land of promise. Many times, we assume that this is a symbol of heaven for us. They had the promise land & we have been promised heaven. They had a land of promise in which God was going to bless them but we think that our land of promise is going to be heaven. This thinking causes us to waver in this life to have any real victory by giving us the impression that we will just have to wait until we get to heaven before we can share in victory. This is inaccurate.
The promise land for Israel was going to be a place that had enemies. You will have no enemies in heaven. The promise land was going to be a place where God was going to teach His people how to trust in Him for daily victory. There will be nothing that you have to fight for in heaven. Truly, the promise land represents our life in this earth after we come to Christ.
In this life we will fight the good fight of faith to share in victory. In this life God, by His Spirit, will drive out all the enemies that try to invade you & your family. God wants to lead us to a place in Christ where we find rest & victory through Him. This represents what Israel had to learn to do in their journey, as well.
Much like Israel, we have enemies that try to deter us. They are things that have been used to control us in our past. There are also things that satan uses to steal, kill, & destroy in lives. These are the enemies that we must take our stand against so we can be blessed in this new life that Christ has called us into.
I think it is important for us to look at what God promised to do for His people in this particular story.
28 I will send terror ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. 30 I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land.
God made it clear that this was not going to be an “over the night” kind of experience. This was going to be a gradual thing. Victory would be coming in areas at different times as He led them. It was all part of the process. He would focus on 1 enemy & 1 battle at a time.
I know that it can get discouraging when we see a bunch of stuff that we need to overcome in our lives. It can even overwhelm us into think,
1. This is too much.
2. I will never be able to do all of this.
3. I am too screwed up to make it.
4. I can’t see ever be free from all these different battles.
5. There are just too many things working against me to make it.
6. Why bother even trying.
7. Where do I even start?
I know who the enemy tries to throw all of this at us at once. He does this to put fear, doubt, discouragement in our hearts & minds. This is how he keeps us from moving forward. I SAY IT IS TIME FOR THAT TO CHANGE!!!
There were all kinds of things waiting to attack Israel. There were enemies that they didn’t even know about BUT God gave them a promise. It is a promise for us today, as well. Here it is:
30 I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land.
God is breaking it down into a bite size amount so that His people can handle the task. It is not that God needs it to be smaller so He can handle it better. He has all power. He created the world & all that is in it in 6 days. God can handle it. The thing is that it needs to happen at a rate of speed that we can handle. That is what the saying—“One day at a time” really speaks to. God doesn’t expect everything to change in your life over-night. That is not realistic. He only needs you too focus on what is directly in front of you.
I know that there is so much that it seems impossible at times BUT IT IS NOT! Learn from this. Find out what God wants you to be working on RIGHT NOW. Don’t get too wrapped up into what is 1 year down the road, 2 years down the road, etc… He is not going to drive it all out at once. So you stop trying to drive it all out at once.
There are some things that we focus a lot of energy on that really doesn’t matter at this current moment, first thing first. Victory will come. But let’s get the victory over what is directly in front of us first. The battle can be fought when we get there, NOT A SECOND EARLER!!!
Listen to what Jesus said:
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Let’s do our best to find victory today over what we face right now. Some things are not meant to be dealt with at this current time. The more you focus on them the more you lose right now. I want you to win every battle. God will enable you to win each time, BUT let’s do our best to live in today. Stop being afraid of tomorrow. Little victories are what win the war. Don’t spend time thinking about the past. Refuse to spin your wheels thinking too much about the future. Spend the majority of your time thinking about today. It is your greatest gift.