God Has Been There
Lord God, I’m grateful for the gift of Your Word and Your Holy Spirit to guide me each day.
Read EXODUS 23:20-33
 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.  Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him.  If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.  My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out.  Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces.  Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,  and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.  “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.  I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.  But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you.  Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.  “I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you.  Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods.  Do not let them live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat conditions does God place on his promises here?
Scholars point out that the word “angel” can also be understood more simply as “messenger,” referring to a divinely appointed human leader such as Moses. But since it says “my Name is in him” (21) it seems more likely we should understand the angel to be a representation of God himself, playing a role similar to the pillars of fire and cloud in Exodus 13:21.
The great news for us is not that we can explain God’s way ahead for us. Rather, it is that our God has indeed promised that he will precede us. Wherever he asks us to go, he has been there first and nothing on the path will surprise him. Sensible Christians will not worry too much about how God chooses to support us. The blessed assurance of his involvement in our journeys should be enough.
Before we get too comfortable with this idea, however, it is important to note that v. 22 warns us that God’s angel will have things to say, and that we’d better pay close attention. God’s promise to walk with us is conditional upon us sticking close to him!
How are you listening carefully to God’s voice and leading? Where is God’s voice leading you right now?
Lord, I want to follow You faithfully. Help me to always recognize Your voice and follow Your wise leading.
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