20 “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. 21 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. 22 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. 23 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. 24 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. 25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
27 “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. 28 I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. 29 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. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
31 “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. 32 Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. 33 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.”
The Lord has brought the Israelites out of Egypt, revealed His awesome power on their behalf, given the Tens Commandments and the civil laws, and now promises His presence as they move forward to claim the good and spacious land He promised.
Once again, we are privileged to see that the Lord is the promised-keeping God who does lie or forget what He has said. Years before He promised Abraham the land they are to enter and God has not forgotten.
“On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites,Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites (Genesis 15:18-19).”
The Lord remembers His covenant and in verse 20 He says to the Israelites, “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.” This angel must be the Angel of the Covenant, the pre-incarnate Christ. Who else is able to forgive rebellion and has “my Name” in Him than the One who is divine? His presence into history is revealed at other times in the Bible as well:
- “The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.” Genesis 16.7
- “In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.” Isaiah 63:9
- “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.” Malachi 3:1
- “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” 14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13-15
In verse 21, the Lord tells the Israelites that they are to pay attention to and listen to what this angel has to say. In verse 22, He literally repeats himself. He knows how slow we are listen and obey.
The Lord repeats, “If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say.” He then gives a list of “I wills.” Blessings contingent on obedience. It is a great blessing to read thru the Scripture to see what the Lord told the Israelites to do… and not do…and all the I will’s.
I am blessed as well that in His wisdom, the Lord told the Israelites, “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. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”
I pray that these verses encourage you to see through the life of the Israelites the heart of God for His own. He is not moved by our being a “hurry-up, give it to me right now” people. The all-knowing God moves in His time to fulfill His plan and purposes in our lives. He know us, the circumstances we face, our maturity to handle both the blessings and the struggles, the enemies we face. He knows what is too much for us and places a barrier.
Little by little, the Lord uses the struggles, trials, suffering, and disappoints to increase and strengthen our relationship with Him…and all along He is driving out our enemies and so we are able to take possession of His blessings in this earthly realm.
So thankful that God was/is “an enemy to my enemies” of sin, guilt, rebellion and shame! Bless the High Name of Jesus who has all ready driven out and destroyed our last enemy, death (1 Corinthians 15).”
One day, those who have believed and trusted the completed, finished work of Jesus, the Lord has promised us a new land, the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21), where there will be no enemies and will live in His Presence forever. A prepared place for a prepared people- prepared by the blood of the Lamb! Hallelujah to His Holy Name!