Obey God's Angel
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Date: 9 January, 2020
Text: Exodus 23:20-33
Title: God's Angel
The term angel in the Bible, often means messenger of God. We've just come through the Christmas season and Angels were all through the story.
1.) John the Baptist, was announced to Zacharias by an Angel.
2.) The coming Messiah was announced to Mary and Joseph by an Angel.
3.) The shepherds were informed by an Angel and then a group of Angels.
note: An angel is a created being that serves God in glory.
The term: angel, however means "Messenger" and can be used to refer to people other than what we think of as an angel.
ill. In Revelation when Jesus speaks to the pastors of the local church it says, "To the Angel of the church at Ephesus, Thyatira, Sardis, etc.
note: In the OT however, the angel of the Lord or as in our text, "my angel" is referring to none other than Jehovah Himself in a pre-incarnate appearance or reference to Jesus.
Hagar's blessing from the angel - Gen 16:10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
Gen. 31:11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.
Gen 48:16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
note: And so in our text this morning, the angel referred to here is the pre-incarnate Saviour of all mankind, the Lord Jesus Christ.
exp. The context is the promise of God to God's people the children of Israel with regard to the promised land. (The angel of God was going to lead them into that wonderful place.)
note: Now, the promised land is not a picture of Heaven - it can not be as there will be no battles in Heaven. The promised land pictures rather - the place of a believer's privilige on earth.
1Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
Go with God's angel to the place of privilige on earth. Are you in that promised place?
I. The Security of the Angel.
20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee,
ill. Again we know that this is a reference to Jehovah himself and specifically the Lord Jesus.
Exo 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
question: Put yourself in the Israelites sandals. If you were traveling through enemy territory knowing that war was ahead of you, wouldn't you want to know that God was leading you?
ill. My parents gave me permission as a 16 year old to go on a week long canoe trip into a wilderness area in Northern Minnesota called the "boundary waters." This was before mobile phones and GPS. We had an MAP and compass. I took comfort in knowing that there were others guiding the trip.
exp. Israel would find comfort in knowing that the Angel of the Lord was guiding them.
A. If you are following the Angel, you are staying in the way.
...to keep thee in the way,
exp. I love the many references in the Word of God to the "the way" or "the path."
Isa 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Psalm 23: A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
ill. I don't like to get lost. I'm reading, "The Journals of John Wesley." He speaks about following a blazed trail in the wilderness of the Eastern US. They became lost, had to dig for water. They had to return and get a guide to take them to their destination.
exp. There are many people today who have no direction in their lives. They are not on God's way.
1. You may be out of the way today because Jesus is not your guide.
exp. You need to humble your heart and admit you can't find your own way.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
exp. The way of Jesus is the way of the cross and the empty tomb. It is called the Narrow Way.
Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
app. You'll never enter into the privilige of what God has for you take Jesus as your Saviour.
Joh 10:10 I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
2. You may be out of the way today because you stopped following Jesus.
exp. This is a point of fact for those who need security, as long as they follow Jesus, they are secure. But, outside of the way of righteousness and the guidance of Jesus, they are in danger.
Pro 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
Pro 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Pro 4:26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
app. Only those who follow the Angel of God, Jesus Christ, stay in the way.
B. If you are following the Angel, you are headed towards a prepared place.
....and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
exp. Israel would doubt this promise many times.
ill. At Meribah - Exo 17:3 And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?
ill. At Mount Sanai Exo 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
ill. Rebellion of Dathan and Abrium - Num 16:13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.
exp. Sadly, a whole generation would never enter into their privilige because they refused to believe God on this point. (JEHOVAH JESUS IS OUR GUIDE AS WELL.)
app. We aren't preaching this morning a "health and wealth" false Gospel. But, I'm not ashamed to preach a Gospel which says God has good things for His people in life. Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
question: We may have to walk through danger and difficulty to get there - but He is going before us. Have you let anything stop you from following Jesus?
transition: There is security in following the Angel of God.
II. The Sovereignty of the Angel.
def. Sovereign - possessing supreme or ultimate power.
ill. We recently had a decision of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom which was against the government.
The Supreme Court is so named because there is no judiciary above them.
- If you lost in a lower court, you can appeal to a HIGHER authority.
- But, the rulings of the Supreme Court are final as their is no higher authority.
exp. A foolish man would treat lightly the authority of the supreme court. If they sentence him it is a sentence enforced without appeal.
app. It is evident that this Angel in our text possesses supreme authority. He is over all.
A. Fear Him.
21 Beware of him,
def. Beware - be wary - be on Guard.
ill. Working at Cogeneration power plant at BJU. If there was a power failure, cogen would power the university properties. It was there I had to do one of the more dangerous jobs I've ever done. We cleaned the magnets - climbing into a confined space and spraying something more flamable than petrol. I was extremely careful to do that.
exp. We should exhibit no carelessness when dealing with Jesus.
Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
ill. Katie bought me a Reese Chronoligical Bible for Christmas. I started over my Bible reading from the beginning, I'm just now at the Tabernacle. There are commands which instruct the priest in proper worship and then they say, "That thou die not." Almost immediately the sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu disobeyed God's command and offered incense which God did not command. God killed them.
app. We live in a day which is very flippant and casual in their supposed following of Jesus. God commanded his people, "Beware of Him."
B. Obey Him.
v.21 ...and obey his voice,
exp. This ANGELS' WORDS are to be OBEYED.
note: Two things are necessary for his voice to be obeyed.
1. First - His Words must be heard.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak;
notice: His Voice is God Speaking. "obey his voice....all that I speak;"
exp. To obey Him you must get to where you can hear his voice.
ill. I wanted to hear the Queen's Speech at the opening of parliament. We tuned in to parliament live tv so that we could listen to her.
question: How do you hear Jesus? You go to where He speaks. Where does He speak?
a. Personal Bible study (Get reading God's Word on your own.)
b. Church - preaching and teaching. (Local church - not youtube)
app. If you do this, you've completed the first part of obeying Jesus. (Hearing him.)
2. Secondly - His Word must be acted upon.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak;
etymology: indeed = "in deed." note: "deeds" are actions.
exp. "do all" - God expects activity in our lives based upon what we have heard Him say.
note: Thursday nights we have just begun a study through the book of James. James is a very practical book as is seen in James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
ill. The place of privilige is found in the place of obedience. As the Hymn, "Trust and Obey" says, "Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey."
app. Does your hearing Jesus Word impact your actions? Have you trusted what Jesus has said and obeyed it?
C. Provoke Him not.
now - Back to v.21...provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
ill. Like a child poking a stick through the bars of caged bear and provoking that bear to anger.
exp. We are not to provoke God.
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
question: What angers and vexes God? Ungodliness
ill. Children are you parents going to lead you into a place of blessing or judgment if you provoke them?
app. If you want to enter into a place of privilige, you need to follow Jesus. We do that by fearing Him, obeying Him and by not provoking Him.
III. The Subjects of the Angel.
exp. The angel is sovereign. Who then are His subjects who will enter into the promised priviliges?
answer: In our text they are obedient Israel - like Caleb and Joshua.
exp. In our day they would be the faithful among God's people like Caleb and Joshua.
A. They are unlike the world.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt
utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
exp. God's people are not to be like the world.
1. They refuse to worship the idols of the world.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods,
ill. To whom does our world bow down?
Satan's rock and pop "musicians",
The god of sport - No time for God but plenty of time devoted to sport.
The god of popuarity - famous people and what they say and do.
The god of false science - evolution the doctrine of atheism.
app. You can find out who your god is by what you worship. Is there anything you adore more than God?
2. They refuse to serve their idols.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works....
ill. These people live as if God does not exist, they live for their idolatry, they drink, they smoke, they curse and use God's name in vain - their lifestyle denies God.
app. If you are a Christian, who doesn't live as a Christian, you are not a Christian at all.
2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
3. They destroy those idols.
v.24 ....but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
note: In our text these were statues of the false gods of those who despised the TRUE GOD.
ill. The worlds cd's, dvd's, technology, magazines, media, addictions, relationships, are destroyed by those who are subject to the Sovereing Angel of God.
note: Many times God's people failed to completely follow the Lord in this. (8 times the phrase the high places were not taken away).
2Ki 14:4 Howbeit the high places were not taken away: as yet the people did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places.
2Ch 20:33 Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.
app. You will never experience the priviliges God intends you to have as a believer if you don't knock down the idols of this world which can creep into your life.
transition: The subjects of the Angel of God ARE UNLIKE THE WORLD.
B. They are under God's command.
25 And ye shall serve the LORD your God,
ill. We've just come through parliamentary elections and heard during the candidacy that "MPs are servants of the people.
They represent the views of the British people.
They defend the interests of the British people.
exp. People get upset and rightly so if that servat of the people puts their interest before that of the people.
app. Do you serve God? Are you a defender of his views and a representer of His interests?
transition: His subjects are unlike the world, they serve Him, .....
C. They are uncompromised
32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.
exp. Satan is always seeking a compromise with God's people.
ill. He got the church of Scotland to agree - to allow women to be ordained ministers - to redifine marriage in agreement with the world.
question: Should God's people ever make a covenant with those who reject the Sovereign?
app. Are you holding that position today of refusing to compromise with the world? Are you under God's command (serving Him) are you unlike the world? If so, then you are truly the subject of the Angel of God.
IV. The Success of the Angel.
exp. Here we find the promised priviliges of the people of God.
note: If we are indeed His Subjects, and He is our Sovereign - then we have some wonderful PROMISED PRIVILIGES.
ill. These promises SHOULD HAVE meant much to Israel. Caleb and others would tenaciously grab ahold of these promises in the face of huge adversity.
ill. Our Christianity is kind of sanatized and we forget that we are in a spiritual battle. There could be some today who....
1.) Don't care to be unlike the world.
2.) Don't care to serve God.
3.) They want to compromise with the world.
4.) They don't hear him or obey him.
5.) They provoke him.
exp. But, in that position, their faith fails, their family fails, their church fails - why?
BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T ACCESSED THE PROMISES OF THE SUBJECT OF THE ANGEL OF GOD.
app. God gave Israel these promises conditional upon their SUBJECTION to His Angel.
A. The Angel of God is on the side of His subjects.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
question: You have a choice? Will you be on God's side or not? If not, though all men are on your side, you will fail. If so, though all men were against you, you will succeed because God can not fail.
B. The Angel of God destroys the enemies of His subjects.
23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
exp. These nations were greater and mightier than Israel. Only with God could they succeed.
Deu 4:38 To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day.
C. The Angel of God nourishes and heals His subjects.
25 And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
exp. God would provide for their food - is that a New Testament truth?
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
exp. God would heal them - is that a New Testament truth?
James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
app. Woe to those who have physical needs tonight who refuse to get in a place of subjection to the Angel of God. If you need nourishment or healing, you are in a good place tonight if you are SUBJECT to the angel of God. You are where God has promised to meet your need?
D. The Angel of God blesses His subjects.
26 There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.
ill. God may allow testing like Job - but God blessed Job in the latter end.
app. Again you are in a good place tonight if you need God's blessing - if you are subject to the Angel of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Php 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
E. The Angel of God Captains His subjects.
ill. There has been a lot of talk of war this past week. Each military has a commander who makes the decisions as to their battle plan.
exp. The angel of God, the Great Commander, has a plan of victory!
27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
exp. The Angel of God had thought out every detail of victory for those who would be subject to His battle plan.
app. The Angel of God will be successful if we will subject ourselves to His plan.
conclusion: The Angel of the Lord for Israel is a reference to Jehovah Jesus - pre-incarnate.
He was prepared to lead Israel into the place of their privilige.
Go with God's angel to the place of privilige on earth. Are you in that promised place?
1.) Are you securely on His path? Salvation - Are you staying there?
2.) Is Jesus sovereign in your life? (Fear Him, Obey Him, provoke Him not.)
3.) Are you subject to Jesus? unlike the world, under His service, uncompromised?
4.) Are you following Jesus to SUCCESS? (ALL OF THOSE PROMISED BLESSINGS.)
You are if you are...
1. Securely on His path.
2. He is Sovereign in your life.
3. You are subject to Him.