When I was studying the Old Testament to write my devotional, HIStory in 30 Days, I often came across lists of names that end with “ite”. Seven of these “ites” are identified as the enemies of Israel that happened to reside in the Promised Land—Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites. (“Ite” simply means “people of.) After God rescued the Israelites from slavery, they were to travel and take the land in possession of these people groups. They were commanded to destroy them completely. (Deuteronomy 7:1-2.) A cursory reading of the Bible might lead one to conclude that this was unkind of God, but the Bible and other historical accounts confirm that these pagan nations were evil and committed horrible atrocities including child sacrifice. God wanted the Israelites to get rid of these enemies so they could reap the full benefits of the Promised Land. It was a command born out of His Mercy. The same is true today for us, but in a spiritual sense. While many promises of God are available to us such as peace and joy, we also need to battle the “ites” in our lives. What are mine?
I have been a follower of Christ for almost 30 years. I know that through God’s Spirit I have the power to fight my spiritual enemies, and yet I often find myself facing the anxiety-ite, the fear-ite, the grumbling-ite, the gossip-ite, to name a few.
While I am continually repenting, I often ask myself, how have I once again found myself in the position of asking God to forgive me, and to rid me of the enemies that steal my joy and peace.
As I returned to the Old Testament, I found some encouragement by this additional verse:
“Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.”
Little by little.
The process by which we are sanctified (a theological term that simply means to be made holy as God is holy), is done little by little in our lives.
God wants lasting peace and joy in our lives in order that His promises might be built into, or become the fabric of our hearts. Our job is to fight the “ites” through the reading of His Word, obedience, and repentance when necessary. In other words, with each battle, we are meant to draw closer to God—calling on His strength and power. Then, we experience His promises of forgiveness, faithfulness and patience. The result is—we become holy—little by little.
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2
As many of you know I went to Ethiopia last year and was part of a team that established a mentoring program with women from the local church and orphan girls. The orphan population in Ethiopia is very high, and when the girls transition out they often end up on the street because they have no jobs or practical skills. The mentoring program has been successful thus far, but there is still a great need for more. I am returning to Ethiopia in August with 5 others to continue our work. We will be encouraging the mentors as well as reconnecting with the girls with whom we established a relationship last year. Some of you have asked how you can help! We will be bringing over gifts and supplies to the girls and the mentors. Attached is an amazon wish list. Anything you purchase will be shipped to me and we will bring over with us. (Our flight includes 3 checked bags!) I will be periodically adding to the wish list as other needs come to mind. We will also be meeting with a doctor who ministers to HIV individuals living on the street, as well as a women’s shelter. When we find out their needs I will post them. Thank you for any help you can provide.