Exodus 23:20-33 I See Victory Ahead
God renews His promise with Moses and gives him a bit more information on it. God shares that He is sending an emissary before them on their journey.
God concludes His filling out of His Ten Commandments. This isn’t the end of what He has to teach His people but it is a great starting place. He is taking them step by step into His statutes just like He promises to take them step by step into conquering the Promised Land.
Reading God’s promise today is a bit hard because we know the rest of the story. The adults that came out of Egypt won’t be the ones who go into the Promised Land. They will break God’s heart and throw His promises back in His face. We will get to those “yah buts” and “holy cows” later on. But hearing the promise God gives Moses makes me want to cry.
He promised to send His angel before the people to guard them and bring them through. He also promised that the angel would NOT pardon their sins. He promised to even use nature itself to war against those on the other side of Israel’s armies. “I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you” (verse 28). How much more help could they need? God was promising to do all the “heavy lifting”, IF they would only stay true to Him.
God was also telling Moses that He wasn’t looking for the people to make quantum leaps in their conquest of the territory. He promised to take them slowly as well as by the hand. “Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possessed the land” (verse 30, emphasis added by me). How much better of a deal could you ask for? Sign Me Up!
But wait; there’s more! Not only do we get an angel leading the way, hornets pushing your advisories out, and the Lord allowing you time to grow into the land but you also get God making those who would come against you so afraid of you that they are shaking in their shorts and more mixed up than a feather in a whirlwind. I can see EVERYONE cheering at this pep talk!
ALL this for one small price. That price is complete dedication to God. The God who is doing all this for you. The God who put so many plagues on the Egyptians that they were THROWING you out of their territory and paying you to go. The God who took you right through the middle of the water on dry ground. The God who gave you water from a rock and manna from heaven every morning. THAT God!
With that list of credentials it should be a no brainer. NO OTHER god has ever done acts like these. Why would anyone have a problem with this requirement?
Part of that requirement though was to get rid of EVERYTHING that they encountered that even hinted at other gods. “You shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces” (verse 24) and “I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you” (verses 31b-33).
How simple that sounds. Just stick with what the angel tells you to do and toss out anything that even remotely resembles other gods. If only they had listened… If only they had obeyed… If only they had recognized the TRUTH in God’s words about what wanting other gods would do to them.
But this promise wouldn’t be good enough for them. They would turn away even with Your AMAZING track record. They were excited to get their hands on what was left behind. They would even go so far as to make a god themselves; but that’s a story for another day.
Father God, You fight my battles too! Mine aren’t nearly as dramatic as Israel’s were but they are still important to me. I don’t draw from our “travels” nearly as often or as deep as I should but I trust You to be there for me at just the right time with the perfect answer. I wish I could say I ALWAYS follow You and Your lead but I know I have let other things occupy You place too. THANK YOU for Your forgiveness in those times. But I never want to take that forgiveness for granted either. Help me knock down all the pillars and show me all the hidden obstacles along the way. Thank You that I have Your Spirit living inside me that helps me avoid some of the messes Israel stepped in on their journey.