Studying and prayerfully reflecting on God’s deliverance of His people out of slavery in Egypt and into the promised land provides great insight for His relationship with His people. We do well to study this example and look to identify and apply key aspects of what God reveals to our lives today. In Exodus 23, our heavenly Father provides important insight to what it means to be His people and what we are to do if we expect to receive His help.
Conquest of the Land
20“Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21“Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him. 22“But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. 23“For My angel will go before you and bring you in to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will completely destroy them. 24“You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces. 25“But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst. 26“There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. 27“I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28“I will send hornets ahead of you so that they will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you. 29“I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. 30“I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land. 31“I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the River Euphrates; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you will drive them out before you. 32“You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. 33“They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”
Jehovah clearly states that He is sending an angel to protect and lead the people into the promised land. His intent is to clear out the enemies before His people and protect them. However He also provides conditions that the people must follow.
Note the importance of obedience. Obedience is the fruit and evidence of our faith. Those who have faith will obey. Those who do not have faith will make excuses not to obey.
- Obey the angel and do not be rebellious. The angel is operating on behalf of God at God’s instruction.
- If you truly obey, then I will be an enemy to your enemies.
God consistently speaks out strongly against false gods. Not only are we not to worship them and not to serve them, but we are not even to do things the way that the pagans do in worship or tradition / practice associated with their false gods. Further, God instructed His people not to tolerate and accept false gods among them but to overthrow them and break their sacred pillars and idols apart. Certainly today we should not be making excuses to tolerate false gods among us. God knows this always leads His people to trouble.
24“You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces.
God knows the right timing for us to accept victory at His hand. We always think “give us everything now”, but God knows better. Sometimes His wisdom leads to different timing for us to accomplish our victory. We must be patient and trust His timing and His ways.
29“I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. 30“I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land.
God warns His people to trust in Him to drive people out of the land. Do not make covenants or treaties with them or with their false gods. Do not let them live in your land. They will make you sin against God. We are once again warned against accepting false gods and idols and their worship practices among God’s people. If our all knowing Father identifies this clear hazard, and we have a history of witnessing it leading His people astray, then why are we so quick to dismiss this repeated warning? Are we wiser than God? Do we know something He does not? or have we just been fooled by Satan to defend worship of false gods among us and to teach it in schools and treat it in government as if all faiths are equivalent? They are not. One is right… the rest are paths that lead God’s people away to hell. Many will get angry with a statement like this, but it is not in my authority to change what God has said to make people feel better. I am only able to share the truth that God has already told us.
32“You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. 33“They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”
There is much to learn from how God instructed His people as they were searching for the promised land. We should each prayerfully consider these key points and apply them to our lives. Are we trusting God and God alone? Are we obeying all that He instructs, or just parts of it? Are we rejecting false gods? Are we patient to wait for His timing?
Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.