Pastor Mark’s Daily Devotion 3/24/2020

“Little by Little”

“The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little.” Deuteronomy 7:22

Israel spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Moses passed the baton of leadership to Joshua. The next generation of Israelites followed Joshua into battle. They first destroyed the city of Jericho. More accurately, we need to acknowledge that Yahweh was the One who brought down the fortified walls of Jericho. Yes, Israel was on the move. It was time for them to take the land. God promised to drive and deliver Israel’s enemies into their hands. And the Israelites were to defeat and destroy them. God said, “Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.” These words sound uncharacteristic from the Heavenly Father we know whose nature is love. But not fully understanding the culture, climate and times – God’s words require a step of faith as He explains, “For they will turn your hearts away from following me to serve other gods.” We must trust that God, our Father recognized the existential threat these nations posed toward his people and his plan for salvation. In some similar way, perhaps how the Nazi war machine of World War II posed a physical threat to the lives of the Jews.  Yahweh continues, “Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.” He goes on, “You may say to yourselves, ‘These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out? But do not be afraid of them: REMEMBER WELL what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.” The Hebrew word, “zakar”, to remember, also means “to recollect” or “to reflect deeply upon something or someone”, in this case, namely Yahweh Almighty. God is telling his people to “take seriously to heart” the mighty power of God over those pagan nations.

Finally, God says, “The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once.” Why does God say, “Little by little”? He explains, why, in the next verse, but don’t you hate, “little by little”. It would have been so much easier if God would have just cleaned the land of Canaan all at once. The Israelites could have washed their hands of the whole mess and could have moved on with drinking the milk and eating the honey that was promised. But in the end, the children of God were going to have to continue to wash their hands – over and over and over again, trusting in God to deliver.

So often, in our own lives, we wish troubles, fights and challenges could just be washed away all at once. But more times than not, they are overcome, little by little. The truth is, we are called to trust God in the little things and to wash our hands, over and over again until the job is done. Just as we are called to do today in getting rid of that nasty Covid19 virus! So wash! So too, think of the Allies in World War II. They had to advance little by little as they re-captured village after village in France and “Island Hopped” across the Pacifc.

God says to Israel, “You will not be allowed to eliminate all the nations at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.” God is going to move Israel through Canaan in a step by step process in order to protect them. What kind of protection? He mentioned the multiplication of wild animals but perhaps that also meant protection against sickness and disease. However far reaching, God was going to protect his people through the process.

Today, our wish is that this coronavirus could be wiped and washed away all at once. But more than likely it will be a step by step process. Little by little, day after determined day, researchers, scientists and practitioners will discover how to destroy this invisible enemy, this pagan disease. Perhaps not on our preferred time schedule. But trust that this WILL take place! Why do I say this? Because God continues to be sovereign over all things and his plan of salvation is still being brought to completion. REMEMBER WELL, the Rock of our salvation. He is our Champion. He is our Victor! And He shall surely do this!            

In Christ, Pastor Mark