I will drive them out little by little ahead of you until you have become numerous and take possession of the land. – Exodus 23:30
Wouldn’t you like for God to just remove every single obstacle from your life’s path? Wouldn’t that just be, well, wonderful? Hmm … too bad.
Maybe He didn’t want them to become discouraged. Perhaps He didn’t want them to become over-confident in their assured victory. I’m not certain, but it is clear from Scripture that God knew a land that was uninhabited would become a problem for the budding nation of Israel and, therefore, He did not wipe out their opposition in advance of their occupation. Only as they increased in “strength” did He decrease their enemy.
A person cannot hold by personal strength that which God has obtained by His power. It cannot be done. Personal redemption is not achieved, it is received. It is a gift of grace. In the same way, spiritual victory over our common enemy (the flesh) is not personally achieved. It is also a gift of grace. By His grace, each person is individually strengthened to the point of “occupation” and the means by which a person appropriates this grace and strength is (as always) by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.
Go ahead. Give it a shot, but you will only fail without Jesus. In Christ, we find the strength to defeat any foe and in Christ alone are we able to keep the ground that we gain. Do you now see why it is so important to remain in Him?
A handful of men, inured to war, proceed to certain victory, while on the contrary, numerous armies of raw and undisciplined troops are but multitudes of men dragged to the slaughter. – Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
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