Mighty Lord, You are…”my rock, my fortress and my deliverer” (Psa. 18:2). Let me hold fast to this truth today, I pray.
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 Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands 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 THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow should the Israelites act in the presence of God's angel?
God may be speaking to the Israelites, but they must still feel pretty vulnerable that they are in the middle of nowhere and the Promised Land is nowhere in sight. They need reassurance, so God gives them some clarification. It won’t be over until it’s over–and God will give them that Promised Land only if they do what he says (20-23). It’s hard going through challenging times–especially when they don’t seem to stop. My family had a flood in our house just over a year ago, and, although God felt very close to us, we experienced difficulties and complications for a long period. There are several things that are clarified here. The future will be sustainable (25,26) and secure enough (27-30), but the Israelites need to hold their nerve and not get distracted into treaties and compromise (32,33). Often we look for solid, clear and definite solutions when things are feeling insecure and ill-defined. God reassures us that there is something on the other side of this wilderness journey. And it will be enough for our needs, even if we have to wait a while for it (29,30).
How have you seen God at work today protecting you and those you love, administering justice to those who commit evil acts?
Gracious Lord Jesus, You have given me so many gifts. Show me where and how I should use them to Your great glory.