Designated Tour Guide

Opening Prayer

Thank You, God, for Your guiding presence in my life. Use Your Word to speak to me today.

Read Exodus 23:20–33

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.”

Reflect

Can you think of a time when planning for the future has encouraged you in the midst of your more usual daily routines?

The Israelites stay camped at Mount Sinai from Exodus 19:2 to Numbers 10. There is a lot of law and general holy orientation to come, as well as some memorable narratives (such as the golden calf story). But here is the promise of an angel to lead the way when they do set out, and a description of the land to which they are going.

The Old Testament tends to blur the issue about whether “God’s angel” is a way of speaking about God: since you were not allowed to see God it made more sense to talk of seeing (or listening to) his angel. If they listen to the angel, God will look after them (22).

Perhaps God says all of this at this point because of the temptation of worshipping the local gods of the lands they are going to. All of this talk of “no other god before me” may sound clear in the abstract, but, says God (and God’s angel), you are highly likely to forget it as soon as you set off. A great big angel may help you remember…

Apply

Do you tend to hear God more in a promising or warning voice? What might God be saying in the other voice?

Closing prayer

Instead of speaking as you pray, take time for the other half of communication—listening. Sit quietly and listen for God to speak.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider