Friday, January 11, 2013
“By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land” (Exodus 23:30 KJV).
God promises to slowly evict Canaan’s inhabitants so Israel can possess the land. Will Israel believe God?
The LORD claims He will drive out the Promised Land’s inhabitants “by little and little,” as opposed to instantaneously. Why? The previous verses demonstrate God’s wisdom in that regard!
God says to Moses regarding Israel’s entering the Promised Land: “I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee” (verses 27-29).
Firstly, notice God’s power over the natural world. We cannot help but smile when He promises to utilize hornets (wasps) to chase Israel’s enemies out of the land! Secondly, observe why God will slowly drive them out. These Gentiles have houses, fields of crops, and herds of livestock, and God will give those possessions to Israel. Lest the wild beasts come into the land and take it over before Israel comes, God will gradually remove these Gentiles, and slowly, Israel will move into their residences, gaining all of their substance.
Joshua and Caleb encouraged Israel, who feared the size and strength of those Gentiles: “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not” (Numbers 14:9). Israel, despite all of God’s promises, wanted to stone to death Joshua and Caleb (verse 10). And so, sadly, foolish Israel spent the next 40 years wandering outside of the Promised Land, until that generation died, for they believed not the LORD who said, “by little and little I will drive them out….”