Friday, September 30, 2022

2022.09.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 23:20–33

Read Exodus 23:20–33

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom would God send where (Exodus 23:20)? To do what two things? What two things were they to do with Him (Exodus 23:21)? What were they not to do? Why, what wouldn’t He do? What would be in Him? In what things were they to obey His voice (Exodus 23:22)? If Israel did, what would God do to whom? What six enemies does He specifically mention doing this to in Exodus 23:23? What will He do (end of verse 23)? What three things mustn’t Israel do like them (Exodus 23:24)? What two things must they do to them? What must they do to Yahweh (Exodus 23:25)? Who is Yahweh to them? What five things will He do for them as their God (Exodus 23:25-26)? What else will God send before them (Exodus 23:27)? What two things will this do to their enemies? What else will He send (Exodus 23:28)? What three peoples does He say they will drive out? How long will this take, and why (Exodus 23:29-30)? Where will their borders be (Exodus 23:31)? What aren’t they do with whom (Exodus 23:32)? What aren’t they to let them do (Exodus 23:33)? Why not? If they are permitted to remain, what will the result be?

What will the covenant relationship between Yahweh and this new church-nation be like? Exodus 23:20–33 looks forward to the evening sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these fourteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God Himself will lead them, God Himself will bless them, and God Himself will establish them.

God Himself will lead themExodus 23:20-24. The Angel that goes before them is not something new. We have already read about Yahweh going before them in Exodus 13:21, specifically as this Angel in Exodus 14:19, as Whom Yahweh first appeared as flame in Exodus 3:2. On this side of the incarnation, it is much easier for us to understand that this Angel (Messenger/Herald) is a Christophany, a theophany of the second person of the Trinity. 

But even here, we see that He has all authority and power, and even the identity of God Himself in Him (Exodus 23:21). This of course is bad news for their enemies, but if they do not obey Him it will be equally bad news for them. Our God is still a consuming fire, and it is not safe to rebel against Him or take Him lightly.

God Himself will bless themExodus 23:25-26. In their covenant with Yahweh, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, every detail of life will come not as chance but as covenant blessing. Every detail will be personal, covenantal benefit. Bread. Water. Health. Fertility. Length of life. These will be tokens of His favor. Similarly for believers, every little blessing in life comes in the love that gave us Christ and is to be received that way (cf. Romans 8:32). Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from a Father Whose light smiles upon us with unrelenting intensity (cf. James 1:17).

God Himself will establish themExodus 23:27-32. God is in complete control here. Although they are expected to express their fidelity by destroying and shattering all vestiges of the religions of the people of the land (Exodus 23:24), the Lord Himself will do much of the dispossessing of the land. He is sovereign over men’s hearts (Exodus 23:27) and many hornets (Exodus 23:28)—even to the point of controlling the pace at which they are driven out (Exodus 23:29-30). 

The fidelity to Yahweh commanded in the shattering of all idol paraphernalia in Exodus 23:24 is paralleled by the duty to drive them out completely in Exodus 23:31-33. The difficulty will be willingness, not ability; Yahweh says, “I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand.” As God establishes their strength, they are to guard against their own tendency to unfaithfulness. This remains true for God’s people today. As He works in us to will and to work according to His good pleasure, we are to be working out our own salvation with fear and trembling (cf. Philippians 2:12–13).

How are you taking confidence and comfort from being led by God? How are you navigating the risks and dangers of negligence or resistance to His direction? How are you recognizing and responding to every blessing in life as a covenant blessing from Him? What are you doing to cut out of your life influences that tempt your heart to dependence upon, devotion to, or delight in something apart from the Lord?

Sample prayer: Lord, You are our Shepherd. You have laid down Your life for us, and You lead us through our lives. Grant to us to walk by faith in You, believing all that You say, obeying all that You command, and taking all of our delight in You. Guard us from all that would hinder this we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH78 “O My People, Hear My Teaching” 

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