God spoke to the children of Isreal about the conquest of Canaan, which was promised to them. He promised to send an angel to go ahead of them to lead them into the promised land. They were warned to listen to him and not to rebel against him, as he would not pardon their transgressions. God promised to be an enemy to their enemies and an adversary to their adversaries. He promised to wipe out all of their enemies from before them, as they entered the land. They were warned not to bow down to any of their strange gods, but were commanded to serve God and he would bless their provision.
God also made a promise to remove sickness from their midst. No one among them would have miscarriages or would be barren. “I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you” (Exodus 23:27). God promised to send pestilence ahead of them, to drive out their enemies. The other thing of interest which God said, was that he would not drive out their enemies all at once. He said that if he did that, then the land would be overrun by wild beast. I imagine that this was because, the Israelites needed time to repopulate the land and to rebuild the cities.
God told them that he would drive them out little by little, until they had increased enough to possess the land. God outlined the border which his people would possess, from the Red Sea to the Euphrates. They were not to make any covenants with the people in the land, but to allow God to drive them out. “They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you” (Exodus 23:33). God did not want his people to live among the inhabitants, as they would learn from them and serve their gods.
What is interesting about this passage is that, God wanted his people to advance little by little. God was with them and had assured them victory. The idea was that if they drove out all of the inhabitants at once, then wild animals would take up the lands that were empty. The people needed to grow and expand, in order to develop the capacity for additional territory. God is expanding our reach and at times this will be gradual. This is to give us the time to develop and to grow, in order to be able to occupy new territories. Change happening too suddenly or too quickly can throw us into chaos and confusion. Be patient with the process as your expansion happens little by little.
“For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10).