Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When God Doesn't Clear the Obstacles

One of my favorite things about reading through the Bible is finding verses that I’ve never noticed before.

A few weeks ago, I found a little nugget tucked away in Exodus.

The Israelites are camped out at Mt. Sinai and God is promising them that when they go into Canaan, they will be victorious. There’s all sorts of awesome promises about angels going before them to guard the way and how God would be the enemy of their enemies. There’s even a really interesting one where God promises to send hornets into the land to drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites.

Then, God drops in this little aside.

“I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.” (Exodus 23:29-30)

Honestly, it seems pretty obvious to me why He did this. With what we know about the Israelites abysmal short term memory, if He’d cleared out the Promised Land in one fell swoop, they would have forgotten before they got half a mile in. Then they would have complained about wild beasts and overgrown fields while calculating how many days it would take to get back to Egypt.

I can see this so clearly when it comes to the ancient Hebrews, but I don’t like it so much when God applies this same principle to my own life.

I want God to give me a nice yellow brick road. A straight, obstacle free path leading from where I am to where He wants me to be.

Instead, He shows me my own Promised Land, promises He will never leave me or forsake me, and teaches me to trust Him in and through each obstacle—the ones He chooses to clear aside and the ones He chooses to allow me to endure.

All the while, I’m growing, learning, changing, and preparing to possess the land.

When I get there, I’ll appreciate every square inch of it, because I will have seen—and will remember—how God cleared the way.



Cathy Baker said...

Great post, Lynn. I relate to the Israelites (and their attitudes) a little too often. :(

Your post reminded me of our study in Nehemiah, especially chapter 9, on the faithfulness of God.

Every step, every square inch of our "yellow brick road", is for a purpose and I agree we'll one day look back in awe as we see the many ways our God cleared the way for His glory.

Edie Melson said...

I love this post. Such a great application, especially to my life right now! Thanks so much for sharing!

Carina Arias de M. said...

Thank you for this!
I'm exactly at this point right now.
Looking at the promises I have received, awe-struck, just asking, How on earth are you going to do THAT in my life? How can that be? How can I get from A to Z? And the answer of course is, step by step, through the alphabet!
I've recently rediscovered my identity as a writer, and every day it seems more natural to blog or write. And this little by little principle applies. God had me blog non-stop for almost two full months before He gave me the inspiration for a scene in the novel I've got written in my mind. It was too big a giant to face at once. But the blogging practice has allowed me to get the rust out of my system... And sitting down and being able to produce something without that total sense of inadequacy and failure was a powerful experience in itself.
It's like I won the first battle at Jericho! :)

Marcia Chadwick Moston said...

Love nuggets like that. Well said.

Vonda Skelton said...

I love finding those little details, too, Lynn. And the great thing is, they're always there, but we only seem to notice them in the times when they would have special meaning to us.

Hmmm...wonder how that happens?

Lynn Huggins Blackburn said...

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I love it when I post something and think "this is only going to apply to me" - only to discover that it applies to lots of people!!

Carina Arias de M. said...

What never ceases to amaze me about the Holy Spirit is that He's always teaching exactly the SAME lesson to some other person... and has the awesome habit of bringing us together so we encourage and exhort each other to stay faithful and be steadfast!
It was a pleasure to meet you, Lynn. And I want to thank Edie Melson for posting so many great links on her FB page. That's how I found you.