Saturday, February 28, 2009

Encouragement from Deuteronomy

Today's reading contains a passage that has been meaningful to me at different points in my life. These are the words of Moses to the children of Israel, before entering the Promised Land where they would be engaging in battle:

If you say to yourself, "These nations are more numerous than I; how can I dispossess them?" do not be afraid of them. Just remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. Moreover, the LORD your God will send the pestilence against them, until even the survivors and the fugitives are destroyed. Have no dread of them, for the LORD your God, who is present with you, is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to make a quick end of them, otherwise the wild animals would become too numerous for you. But the LORD your God will give them over to you, and throw them into great panic, until they are destroyed. (Deut. 7:17 23)

We can only apply these promises to areas of our lives in which we are obeying God's clear direction, but if we are, what encouragement is here! I think of the numerous nations as the many obstacles that we surely will encounter as we obey. But He says not to fear them! He says, instead, to remember all the ways that He has delivered us in the past, and to understand and believe that God will defeat these new enemies in the same way.

Moses reminds us that our God is a great and awesome God, a God who is present with us--so mighty and powerful, yet near and available to us always! May our intimacy with Him never cause us to forget his power and authority over all things.

Finally, I love Moses' explanation that God will not do these things all at once, "otherwise the wild animals would become too numerous for you." How often we would love to "make a quick end" of our problems! We may not appreciate what God may be protecting us from by clearing them away "little by little"--at a hen's pace, so to speak. This passage reminds me to be patient with circumstances, with myself, and with others, and to trust in God's timing.


Amy said...

Wonderful encouragement!

Jessica said...

Jeanne, thank you for that. I've been reading the OT (in Numbers now!) and also just read Herbert's poem ("Bunch of Grapes", I think?) about using the journeying of the Israelites as a metaphor for the Christian life. This just adds to that . . . and I think I can see this truth of slow growth in my own life.

Linds said...

You know, Jeanne, Moses is someone I have always wanted to have a chat to. One day. Such courage and such faith.

Jenny in Ca said...

love the hen's pace!

God is so faithful to not leave us where we started.