27 "I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. 28 I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. 29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
31 "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea [a] to the Sea of the Philistines, [b] and from the desert to the River. [c] I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you. 32 Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. 33 Do not let them live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you."
There is no question that God had given the “promised land” to the Israelites. The issue is: “possessing the land”. The task of settling into the land was to be a long process. Driving out enemies was to be accomplished a little at a time as the Israelites were able to do it. They were cautioned to not be influenced by their enemies. God was at work in the process – and the process was going to take time.
How often have I felt like a failure because I viewed the possessing of my “personal promised land” as a singular event instead of a gradual process? Metaphorically speaking, there are enemies to my spiritual growth; distractions which need to be driven out. Like the Israelites, I probably won’t see it accomplished in a year’s time. If I’m willing, God will assist me in driving out these enemies – one by one. All I need to remember is that I am not to compromise my faith during the process. Realistically, I am to expect battles – years of sporadic warfare, as I become a battle seasoned warrior, well able to possess and settle the land with my fellow warriors.
What’s the old saying? Oh yeah… “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
In 1546, John Heywood used it. The saying has also been traced back to 1545, translated from medieval French. Amy Grant used this quote in a song she wrote: "It takes a little time sometimes, to get your feet back on the ground...it may not be over by morning, but Rome wasn't built in a day...give it, give it time.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH REQUIRES PATIENCE!!!!!
God, thank you that I don’t have to live a lifetime of spiritual growth in a single day. Thanks for the grace, encouragement and challenge that you have set before me as I possess a place of promise in your Kingdom. Give me wisdom, discretion and strength as a spiritual warrior in this life. Amen.