December 29, 2020
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 29 December 2020
The final chapters of the book of Exodus reveal how God gave precepts and promises to his people in relation to their conquest of the Promised Land. God assured his people of his ongoing commitment to them, and indicated the process by which they would enter the land and the circumstances they would encounter. God told them he would not displace their enemies immediately. God stated, “I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land” (Exod 23:30). Little by little is how the majority of us grow spiritually.
The current year is nearly to an end, and probably many, if not most, have some mental or written list of something to accomplish prior to the New Year. Perhaps you began this year making a resolution in that regard. Surveys report that the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Most people want to lose weight; some will accomplish that and most who do will be fighting weight loss again soon. Does that mean one should not try? The answer is a resolute “No!”
There is always great relevance for resolving, by God’s grace, to make progress in life. Having specific goals in order to maintain focus is wise. Everyone could resolve, for instance, to be a little more loving toward others. While it is possible to ridicule that notion, the concept is entirely biblical, especially considering Exodus 23. When the Jews were on their way to the Promised Land, the Lord told them that He would expel the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite before them, yet He would not do it quickly. They would have to fight for every inch of the land because God said that He would expel the present occupants “little by little.”
God promised slow success, not quick victory: “I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you” (v. 27). Thereafter, the Lord would use hornets (v. 28) to expel the occupants from the land, and all that the Israelites would see would be the backs of their enemies as they dispersed. God said that He would not rid them suddenly, lest the land increase with weeds and wild animals would take control to fill the land once occupied by their enemies (v. 29).
God deemed it better that his people should fight many battles and win the land gradually, taking possession of it “little by little” with their own people, which is wise counsel for one’s spiritual life. Everyone can set a resolution for spiritual advancement, with perhaps “a little more here” and “a little less there,” such as a little more kindness and a little less criticism. Other focused resolves could include a little more forgiveness and a little less resentment, a little more contentment and a little less complaining, and being a little more like Jesus and a little less focusing upon self.
Wars are won by many battles, large and small, fought in many places. No doubt when this year is completed, all the “land” before us will not be conquered, which is good, lest we become complacent in our spiritual maturity. Let us determine – together for the Lord – to focus “a little more” upon godliness and eternity, and being “a little less” self-absorbed and myopic, and we certainly will be amazed at how much progress is made in our lives!
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