Exodus 23 Part 3 God Sends His Angel to Lead Israel

Jan 3, 2013  |  Exodus, Old Testament  |  No Comments

Exodus 23 Part 3 God Sends His Angel to Lead Israel

Exodus 23:20-21 Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay close attention to Him, and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions, for My name is in Him.

Exodus 23:22 But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries.

Exodus 23:23 For my Angel will go before you and bring you into the Amorites, and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.  And I will wipe them out.

Exodus 23:24 You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor follow their practices, but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars.

Exodus 23:25-30 And you shall serve the LORD your God, and He shall bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall miscarry or be barren in your land.  I will fulfill the number of your days. I will send my fear before you and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send hornets before you, that shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite and the Hittite, from before you.  I will not drive them out before you in one year; lest the land become desolate and the beast of the field multiply against you.  Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased, and inherited the land.

Exodus 25:31 I will set your boundaries from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the river; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land to your hand; and you shall drive them out before you.

Exodus 25:32 You must make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.

Exodus 25:33 They must not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, surely it will be a snare to you.

 Reflections on Exodus 23 Part 3

The identity of the Angel referenced in the beginning of this section is a subject of debate.  I believe it is the pre-incarnate Jesus. The passage is clear as to what He is to do for Israel and Israel’s responsibilities toward Him:

  • He will lead Israel to the Promised Land and keep them on track.
  • Israel is to listen carefully to Him and to obey Him.
  • Israel is not to provoke Him, for He will not forgive their transgressions.
  • God’s Name is in Him.

If Israel obeys Him and does all that God speaks, then:

  • God Himself will be an enemy to Israel’s enemies and an adversary to Israel’s adversaries.
  • God will completely destroy the peoples in the land that God set aside for Israel – the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.
  • He will do it gradually so as not to devastate the land.
  • He will bless Israel’s bread and water.
  • He will remove Israel’s sicknesses.
  • No one will miscarry or be barren.
  • Everyone will live out their days.

God explicitly lays out the boundaries for Israel here – from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and from the desert to the river. The world is cavalierly shaving Israel’s boundaries, but they were set by God Almighty and we do so at our own peril.

The saddest thing about this chapter are the warning God gives Israel that we know are not heeded:

  • Don’t bow down to the gods of the people they’re overthrowing; don’t serve them, don’t follow them, but completely overthrow them and destroy their places of worship.
  • Don’t make a covenant with them nor with their gods.
  • Don’t let them dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me.
  • If you serve their gods, it will be a snare to you.

What a place Israel might have been had the people of Israel obeyed God. What a place our world might be if we obeyed God.

Leave a comment