The Little-by-Little Principle

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Change is a constant in today's world, impacting our personal and professional lives. Change comes in all shapes and sizes: there are small adjustments that we need to make in what we are doing, then there are the more significant changes where we plot our course, thinking through what we will do and how we will do it.

And then there is transformational change: doing something we have never done before. This is the most challenging type of change because we may not even be able to reach out to others for experienced advice. Here is where I think God's principle of "little by little" applies. It can be both a comfort and helpful instruction to see us through the difficult process of change.

It was a season of transformational change where God revealed his little-by-little principle to the children of Israel. They had been delivered from slavery in Egypt and were now in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 7:22 says, "And the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you" (NKJV).

The nations mentioned in this passage were the "ites" of the Promised Land: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations - described as greater and mightier than the children of Israel - were then occupying the land which God had promised to give to his people.

Notice that God said that they would be unable to destroy them at once. Why? Isn't God the same God who had delivered them miraculously from Egypt, even by parting the Red Sea to get them away? Couldn't he simply cause them to take the Promised Land in a similar miraculous event?

Sometimes God's work in our lives is instantaneous, but more often, it follows a process - and that process is for our own good. The process can be best seen by looking back on progress over time. Today may not feel like a success, but plotting results over time would reveal a definite line or curve slanting upward, with ups and downs along the way.

Exodus records this same little-by-little principle in more detail.

Exodus 23:29-30 says, "I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land" (NKJV).

July01, 2008 at 2:04 PM

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