By little and little I will drive them out from before you, until you be increased, and inherit the land.
"By little and little." My brethren, think often of the mode in which God thus declares that He will drive out before Israel the Hivite, the Perizzite, and the Jebusite: it is the very mode by which His grace will enable you to drive out from your hearts those principles of evil which oppose the complete setting up of the kingdom of His Son. The difficulty in religion is the taking up the cross daily, rather than the taking it up on some set occasion, and under extraordinary circumstances. The serving God in little things, the carrying religious principle into all the minutiae of life, the discipline of our tempers, the regulation of our speech, the domestic Christianity, the momentary sacrifices, the secret and unobserved self-denials — who that knows anything of the difficulties of piety does not know that there is greater danger of his falling in these, than in trials which apparently call for higher and sterner endurance? If on no other account than from the very absence of what looks important, are trifles likely to throw him off his guard, make him careless or confident, and thereby almost ensure defeat. It is not comparatively hard to put the armour on, when the trumpet sounds, but it is to keep the armour on when there is no alarm of battle; and our warfare with our spiritual enemies is not warfare in a series of pitched battles, with intervals for rest and recruiting — it is rather daily, hourly, momentary fighting. This is the "driving out by little and little," to which the Almighty promises "the reward of the inheritance." Understand, therefore, and remember, that there is great difficulty in little things. Be assured that daily dangers and duties, the little unevennesses which may ruffle the temper, the petty anxieties of common life, the exercise of righteous principle in trifles — in these must you seek, and in these will you find the opportunity of ejecting "by little and little" the foes which you have sworn to expel from the heart, but which still, like the Canaanites against Israel, dispute the territory with the Lord God of hosts. And if the warfare be tedious, forget not that you fight for an incorruptible crown.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.