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. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
From the moment God established His covenant with the Israelites, He promised them a specific piece of land. He also promised them His protection and might as they moved forward to take that land. Finally, In Exodus 23, after decades of slavery and one incredible rescue, God tells His people He is going to give them the land He promised- but it wasn’t going to happen overnight. He would give them their inheritance slowly, bit by bit, over time.
How crazy do you think that made the Israelites? Why wouldn’t their all-powerful God just smite the enemies of His people and give them the land He had promised them?
The answer: they couldn’t have handled it if He did.
In Exodus 23:29, God gives the Israelites two reasons why He would give them command of their land slowly rather than all at once:
- If He were to give them the entirety of the Promised Land all at once, the land would become desolate. The Israelites were not yet a large enough people to cultivate the land they would be given. They wouldn’t be able to keep up with the work and, as a result, a portion of the land would spoil.
- If He gave the land to them all at once, they would be overrun with wild animals. They wouldn’t be able to kill and eat enough of the animals living in the Promised Land to keep them in check. They would quickly be overwhelmed.
What a lesson there is for us in these two small verses! I love how clearly we can see the wisdom of God and His heart to set His children up for success. [tweetshareinline tweet=”God knows granting you success before you’re capable of commanding it isn’t a gift at all- it’s a liability.” username=”VIeyhG0^Aga$iv1*ra*5F8kpKNBF9aya:1:1″]
Has God given you a God-sized dream?
If you’re anything like me, you long to do big things for the Lord. But big dreams are often accomplished by taking thousands of baby steps and those baby steps take a lot of time. It’s easy to feel discouraged if things are moving at a snail’s pace, to wonder if you’re making any progress at all.
But take heart! This slow and steady progression is, in truth, a blessing and it has a purpose! God is giving you time to grow into His promises for you. He is bringing you up and strengthening you so you won’t be overwhelmed once you take full possession of your promised land. He’s protecting you until you’re ready, truly ready, to cultivate every last inch of the dream He’s prepared for you. He’s setting you up for success like the good Father He is.
And here’s the reality: God gives us God-sized dreams for His glory, not ours. These are not things we can accomplish on our own. God longs to partner with us in them! He’s not a coach yelling instruction from the sidelines, He’s a team captain running in the mud alongside you, leading the way. And this work He is doing in your life while you wait? It’s not about making you a bigger, more capable person. It’s about teaching you to trust and rely on our bigger, more capable God to make it happen.
Trust Him in the Waiting
The Israelites would, unfortunately, rebel against God and take a 40-year detour before setting eyes on their Promised Land. But that need not be our story. If you can see your promised land from where you’re standing but have not yet sensed the “green light” from God to go and take hold of it, I encourage you to trust in His timing! Dig into this time of growth. Thank Him for it and do your best to flourish in it. When you feel like rushing ahead of God’s timing, remember the waiting may actually be a gift of His protection and cling to the wise words of King David:
Wait for the Lord; Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord!
What dreams are you waiting for and working towards? Share them with me in the comments! I’d love to be praying for you.