I love it when I’m reading the Bible for one thing, and another thing altogether leaps off the page. And it gives you a revelation...not about the thing you went to the Word for, but you just suddenly know it’s important. And you get excited, because wow, why hadn’t I seen that before?
That is what happened to me this morning. (As I was trying to ignore the babbling Paxton was doing at SIX O’CLOCK AM.)
I was re-reading Deuteronomy 6, 7 & 8 (don’t you always start there, too?) and suddenly this obscure little verse got my attention:
“The Lord your God will clear away these nations before
you little by little. You may not make an end of them at
once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you.”
- Deuteronomy 7:22
The Message translation says it this way:
“God, your God, will get rid of these nations, bit by bit.
You won’t be permitted to wipe them out all
at once lest the wild animals overtake you.”
- Deuteronomy 7:22
And I read this and almost shouted “Eureka!”
So often I pray that God would wipe out all my enemies at once; that all my troubles and problems would be removed immediately. I ask why all the stuff over here is great, but this whole side is still a hot mess? I always trust God knows what He’s doing. Always believe He’s got a reason for everything. But every once in a great while He provides a real, tangible answer to the “why?” question.
And today, He told me.
“I don’t want you to be overtaken by the wild animals.”
He knows that if all the chaos, confusion and problems disappear instantly, in their wake will be the ramifications of them suddenly disappearing. In His infinite wisdom, He knows the wild animals would multiply without people to hunt and kill them. And one day, as I’m drinking coffee in my cozy little plot of land (while my husband and kids are tilling the earth with oxen, natch), a wild herd would suddenly rise up and leave a cloud of dust in their wake and simply overtake me. And leave a huge mess in my kitchen. (Which would lead to weeping and gnashing of teeth.)
So He clears away the nations, the enemies, the troubles and the problems...but He does it little by little, bit by bit, so that when each one is removed, it’s truly gone (and all the beasts that go with it). Then the freedom that comes from it is true freedom. There is no fear of something new and unexpected coming suddenly, no waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am free indeed.
He is the ultimate Project Manager.
Something interesting about this verse is the fact that God will get rid of the nations, but WE won’t be permitted to wipe them out all at once. It’s a p-a-r-t-n-e-r-s-h-i-p. God rarely does the work without our involvement. He wants us to participate in the battle. He’ll do the hard part, but we can’t sit back on our heels just waiting for Him to do it all, while we enjoy our grapes and servants fanning us. We have to fight, too.
(I could go on and on about this point, but I’ll save it for another post, another day.)
The other thing that struck me is the fact He specifically said it’s the wild animals that would grow too numerous. When I think of wild animals, I think of ugly, out-of-control beasts. Vicious and rabid. With no loyalty; they cannot be tamed. And they stink to high heaven.
I started thinking about past prayers, where I had prayed for God to just slash and slay His way through my life...removing people, situations and circumstances left and right. If God had done exactly what I asked and everything was suddenly fixed at once, the wild beasts would have surely come. The ugly, bad-mannered, stinking beasts of pride, selfishness, arrogance, egotism, recklessness, discontent, ungratefulness, laziness. These animals would have appeared instantly, impossible to tame, vicious, rabid to me and those around me.
He loves me too much to let that happen.
“You shall not be in dread of them, for the Lord your
God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.”
- Deuteronomy 7:22