Exodus 23:20-33 - God's Promises

Exodus : From Bondage to Glory  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  51:48
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Exodus 23:20-33
Exodus 23:20–33 ESV
20 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. 22 “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. 23 “When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out, 24 you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces. 25 You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you. 26 None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days. 27 I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. 28 And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. 29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. 31 And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. 32 You shall make no covenant with them and their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”


Coming to the end of the Book of the Covenant which began in 21:1
Covenant promises and requirements stated here.
Followed by a covenant renewal ceremony beginning in 24:1

The Angel

The identity of the angel
My angel (23a)
An angel has been with them throughout their journey
Exodus 3:2 “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.”
The Angel of the Lord revealed the name of Yahweh in the burning bush.
Here we see that Ex 23:21 “for my name is in him.”
Exodus 14:19 “19 Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them,”
Equated with God - alternate usage.
Above examples
John Currid, “This angel appears to be an extension of God’s person and word, an equivalent of Yahweh himself...It would seem likely that, as in chapter 3, this angelic being is a pre-incarnate appearance of the Messiah.”
Complete obedience and trust because His presence is the presence of the Lord. (21-22)
Those who oppose His people are His enemies - Covenant relationship
The work of the angel
Guide them - Bring you to the place prepared (20)
Guard them on the way (20)
Continued protection until they possess the land.
The Lord is a Warrior
Enemy and adversary to their enemies (22)
blot them out (23b)
Terror and confusion before them (27)
Ex 15:16 “16 Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased.”
Ex 14:24 “24 And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic,”
Fear of the God who defeated the Egyptian gods.
Jericho and Rahab
Joshua 2:9–11 ESV
9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.
Flee before the Israelites (27b)
Hornets to drive them out (28)
Dt 7:20 “20 Moreover, the Lord your God will send hornets among them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you are destroyed.”
“hornets” is from the same root as leprosy.
Metaphorically used for distress
Hornets pursue (mowing and hiding in Ford Explorer).
Give them the land in a way they can manage (29-30)
Best possible way - gradually
So that they will increase and possess the land (30)
The borders (31)
Realized under David and Solomon
1 Kings 4:21 “21 Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.”

Prosperity (25-26)

Longer list in Deut 7:12-16
Deuteronomy 7:12–16 ESV
12 “And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. 13 He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock. 15 And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. 16 And you shall consume all the peoples that the Lord your God will give over to you. Your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.
Is this the prosperity gospel?
Bless their food
No sickness
No miscarriages
full life - “fulfill the number”
General wisdom?
Prov 10:27 “The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.”
False religions often had practices to promote fertility
Ritual prostitution
Child sacrifice
God alone will give them fertility.
Covenant context
Promise of divine protection and provision for the people under God’s rule and care.
John MacKay
Exodus Entering the Land (23:20–33)

In the ancient world it was an important role of deity to protect the physical well-being of worshippers. It is the LORD alone who can truly accomplish this

Fidelity required: Ex 23:32 “You shall make no covenant with them and their gods.”


Covenantal language
Blessings conditioned on obedience (22a)
Covenant between God and Israel
Pay careful attention to the angel and obey (21a)
He will not pardon your transgression if you rebel (21b)
No false worship (24)
Destruction of idols and false altars (24b)
Active opposition
Serve Yahweh (25a)
Drive out the inhabitants of the Promised land (31b)
They cannot live in the land.
Snare to God’s people (33)
No covenants with the people of the land (32)
Covenants with them as covenants with their gods.
Their gods would be called upon as witnesses.
Assimilate their culture and worship
Acknowledge their authority over Israel, rather than God.
Yahweh’s people were to give Him exclusive worship and loyalty.


While we know that being a Christian does not prevent suffering or hardships, we need to be reminded all the good that we experience come from our God.
It is wrong to give the credit to someone or something else
including yourself.
What does tearing down false altars and opposing false worship look like today?
God demands exclusive worship and loyalty
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Not a direct relation with USA, closer to the Church.
2 Cor 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”
In our own hearts and lives?
2 Corinthians 6:15–18 ESV
15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
God was sovereignly leading them and protecting them, so that He might fulfill His covenant promises to them.
How does God guide and protect you in fulfillment of His promises?
John the Baptist - Matthew 11:10 “This is he of whom it is written, “ ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’”
God’s people - 1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Jesus goes to prepare a place for us as He did for Israel in the Promised Land.
John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
These covenant promises depend on Israel’s faithfulness and obedience.
They fail and are cast out of the land.
In the New Covenant the promises are founded on the obedience and faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
An unconditional covenant.
Closing Hymn: 95 Though Troubles Assail Us
Benediction: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
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