As I thought of my last post about unearthing the boulders, rocks and stones of sins in our lives, I was reminded of Deuteronomy 7:22, “The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to put an end to them quickly, for the wild beasts would grow too numerous for you.” (NASB).
The setting is that the Israelites are about to go into the Promised Land and God is telling them how He’s going to do it. I’m sure the message was very confusing; after all, wouldn’t God want them to inhabit all the land right away? Hadn’t He been promising them the Land for a long time? Why the process of “little by little”?
His explanation? “The wild beasts would grow too numerous for you.” If all the Canaanites had been killed at once, there wouldn’t have been enough Israelites to fill the land and the wild beasts would have filled the unoccupied land.
I think God has the same message for us as we think of clearing the boulders, rocks and stones from our personal lives. If He wants us to be in a process of clearing our field, what “wild beasts” would fill us if the clearing was done all at once?
First, a lack of dependence upon God. This beast thinks, “I’ve cleared everything so I don’t need God anymore.” But being “in process” keeps back the wild beast because we must rely upon God. When we struggle we recognize our need of God.
Second, pride. This beast thinks, “I’ve cleared my land, why can’t everyone else? If only they were as good as me, they wouldn’t struggle.” What an ugly beast. Being “in process” keeps back this beast because we recognize that our progress is because of God’s work through us, not our own. And whatever progress we make is for His glory, not ours. As a result, we can be humble.
Third, lack of knowledge. This beast thinks, “I’ve cleared my land and have nothing else to learn.” But being “in process” keeps back this beast by teaching us more and more of God’s ways for changing our lives and passing that knowledge onto others. Second Corinthians 1:3-4 tell us, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” You are most effective in helping others by continuing to clear your land.
Are you glad you’re still in process? Well…that’s most likely a stretch to think because struggling is not fun. But there are advantages of continuing to clear our land. Rejoice! You draw closer to God in dependence, you will stay humble, and you’ll learn more to share with others. Maybe this will diminish the pain of hauling the boulders, rocks, and stones over to that wall.