Introduction…How do you think God leads and protects us? How has he lead or perhaps directed or guided you? Do you have any experiential evidence of how God may have led or protected you? If you think or suspect God has perhaps a specific purpose for your life, what might it be?
Read Passage several times.
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.
So is this the Angel of the Lord? Was the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate (before flesh) Christ or second person of the Trinity? And if one does subscribe to a triune Godhead, is God the Father speaking to Moses and God the Son serving as his angel or messenger?
Why do I ask all this? Because in Judges 6 and the calling of Gideon, the Angel of the Lord and God seem to refer to the same person. It was also the Angel of the Lord who spoke to Moses from the burning bush years earlier [Ex. 3].
Seems to point out our need for Spiritual or heavenly or divine leadership and help along life’s way, and yet, just like Israel, we still sin and rebel against this Spiritual leadership.
Deut. 1:31 and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.’ 32 But for all this, you did not trust the Lord your God, 33 who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go.
Pillar of Fire…KAMCHATKA – With a pillar of fire stretching up into the clouds, this spectacular image captures the moment a volcano erupted in remote Russia. The stream of lava rose up to a kilometer above the summit of Klyuchevskoy, one of the active volcanoes on the Kamchatka peninsula in the east of the country. The volcano, which erupts around every two years, is one of the largest on-land active volcanoes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It stands at 15,584 ft on the north end of a belt of 30 active volcanoes. The dramatic picture of Klyuchevskoy was captured by photographer Marc Szeglat on October 16 at a distance of approximately 9.5 miles from its concealed cone, as the volcano erupted for the first time in three years. The explosion triggered by the eruption could be heard from 20 miles away. In September 1994, an eruption caused disruption after it affected airline routes across the Pacific Ocean. The active nature of the volcano, which first began erupting in 1697, means it is still rarely a target for climbers.
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.
How is his name in this Angel? Is this the pre-incarnate God the Son? In other words, you are not just rebelling against my representative, you are rebelling against me–God, and there are major consequences for this type of behavior. I will consider any rebellion against this Spiritual leadership as tantamount to the breaking of our contract and will impose harsh penalties.
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.
You will have great power and protection, if you follow this angel’s leadership.
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.
Why is God going to wipe these tribes or people groups out? Are these the wicked Amorite tribes that God has now given an additional seven hundred years to repent from their heinous practices, including child sacrifice and male shrine prostitution?
Gen 15:13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” 17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river 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.”
Note: when Yahweh God entered into this covenant with Abraham [Gen 15:1ff], almost 700 years earlier, before Abraham even had one descendent, Yahweh foretold Abraham that his descendants would become slaves in a foreign land for a time because the sins of the Amorites [the collective name for the people now occupying the future Promised Land] had not reached their full measure.
When they had, then Yahweh would deliver Abraham’s descendants from slavery and bring them back into the Land to take over the land that Yahweh had promised Abraham.
So in other words, Yahweh God was patient—incredibly seven-centuries patient– with one very wicked, disobedient, godless and immoral collection of people groups until another group that God had chosen by his mercy had become large enough to recover their father’s promised territorial possessions.
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.
No religious tolerance here, is there?
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.
Did this promise apply to everyone or was this a general overall promise? What if a few were disobedient, would God still bless them or the nation in this extravagant manner??
How long was a full life span? Eighty years? A hundred years? Was it like what it is today?
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.
Nations will be afraid because of previous victories or miracles, such as the defeat of Egypt.
28 I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way.
Interesting expression. Is God’s angel his hornet? How will they be driven out?
Asian Giant Hornet
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.
God will drive them out gradually, kind of like our walk of faith, we don’t overcome our sinful nature all at once. It takes a lifetime of obedience, failure, forgiveness, getting back up again and trying once again. Claiming their inheritance would be a process.
30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
A brilliant plan, if you ask me.
31 “I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you.
What River? The Euphrates? Has this ever happen or been fulfilled? The Euphrates is within present-day Iraq. Is this promise still awaiting to be fulfilled?
Abrahams world photo
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.”
Much like a fast-growing and deadly bacteria, if allowed to live or remain in the land, the Canaanites’ moral infection would infect and destroy God’s people as well.
Follow my angel.
If you do, I will destroy your enemies, place you in your vast Promised Land and generously bless you,
…even though I will only do this a little at a time so that you can truly care for the land on your own.
But you must remember to worship only me and to destroy the people and their gods whom you are replacing.
Otherwise their gods will be a snare to you causing you to rebel against me and, in the process, forfeit your blessing.
Bottom line…Trust the angel who has my name in him and you will be blessed. Fail to, and the consequences are tragic.
Why? (What truths do I learn about God, man, people, myself, life?)
• God wants to protect and bless his Spiritual children.
• Yahweh God provides a way, via his Son, his angels, his Spirit and other believers to be united with his children forever. Thus, we are rich in his protection.
• Yahweh God demands his Spiritual children’s obedience, cooperation or trust along this Spiritual journey to God’s presence and blessing. In other words, there are no free rides. There must be accountability.
• God does not bless us all at once, but gradually, so that we are strong enough to handle what he has given us. In the mean time, we must trust, rest, endure, pray, seek, obey and wait.
• At the same time, we must remain faithful. We must stand strong against the enemies, not making deals with them or worshiping their idols, lest we risk becoming ensnared in their pseudo-religious traps and therefore, forfeit much of our blessing.
Thanksgiving…Was blessed to be a part of a plan to Spiritually minister to someone special. In this case, my partner in this Spiritual crime was my inspired daughter-in-law, or as we call her, “our middle child.” Our crime: planning a surprise birthday trip for her husband or my son for his 32nd birthday. We flew him in to Springfield, and after a short weekend home, father and son drove up to St. Louis, where we did a little historical exploring, as well as, catching two Cardinal come-from-behind victories. Our adventure was punctuated by 1) his confession at church 0n Sunday of dealing with a recent struggle of deriving his significance or identity from his profession or work in a city that thrives on deriving one’s self-worth from what you do versus deriving his Spiritual identity from who he is in Christ through faith, as well as, 2) on our drive up to St. Louis, father and son sharing life struggles as brothers in Christ. It was an inspired plan, trip and experience– one, for which, I shall be eternally grateful to both God and my thoughtful and creative daughter-in-law.
I will share one private moment that brought a few tears to my eyes. It occurred while we were touring the Cardinal Museum. It struck me that here was father and son sharing a love for St. Louis Cardinal baseball history—a history that began almost a hundred and twenty-five years ago, but began for me in earnest as a child in the mid-60s when the Cards were winning three pennants and two World Series…and a history that began for my son in earnest as a child in the mid-1980s when the Cards again won three pennants and one World Series. It’s a rich sports history shared between not only this father and son, but many fathers and sons.
Struggle…Lots of counseling these days, resulting in some weekend fatigue not having much time to write or edit.
Truth…God has appointed his church and his children with a Spiritual purpose and destiny, and in bringing this destiny and purpose into fruition, he will protect this purpose, plan, decree and destiny with his angels, church, truth and Spirit.
Application…Rest in the plan. Rest in God. If I am supposed to be helping people by what I do best, counseling, then so be it. Writing will come. Trust God in the moment. Be obedient in the moment. The cloud is there. The pillar of fire is there. The angels are there. The authentic Spiritual family is there. Heaven is there.
Your student’s struggles?
Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version‚ NIV‚ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.