February 6, 2017, Exodus 22-24
20 “I am sending an angel ahead of you. He will guard you along the way. He will bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him. Listen to what he says. Do not refuse to obey him. He will not forgive you if you turn against him. He has my full authority. 22 Listen carefully to what he says. Do everything I say. Then I will be an enemy to your enemies. I will fight against those who fight against you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you. He will bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites. I will wipe them out. 24 Do not do what they do. Do not bow down to their gods or worship them. You must destroy the statues of their gods. You must break their sacred stones to pieces. 25 Worship the Lord your God. Then he will bless your food and water. I, the Lord, will take away any sickness you may have.
God has been preparing the children of Israel to move in to the land promised to them. The commandments and various laws He gave them through Moses were given to prepare them for the type of nation He wanted them to be. Now God tells them that not has He provided a place for them, He has also provided a Protector, the Angel of God. The Angel of God, is most likely the pre-incarnate Christ. He would go before the people into the land. But He could only go BEFORE them if they were willing to FOLLOW. There are some mighty promises of God in this passage from Exodus 23, but the promises were all contingent on the people following.
Most of us all have smart phones these days. If we want to get to a destination, we just punch in the address on our map app and options for the quickest or shortest route is delivered right to our phone. But sometimes, I have found, that the phone app doesn’t always give me the best route. In the case of the children of Israel, God knows the best route for them; the route where their Protector is going, and so it is necessary for them to follow the Leader.
It’s easy for us to sometimes get ahead of God. We know what He has prepared for us, but we don’t want to follow Him to that place. We want to just run ahead. But look what you forfeit in doing that: “He will guard you.” “He has my full authority.” “I will be an enemy to your enemies” “I will fight against those who fight against you.” “He will bless your food and water, and I will take away any sickness.” Why would we forfeit those promises by choosing to go our own way rather than following God’s way?
God has prepared great things for us as His children. Follow the Leader, Jesus Christ.