Exodus 23:20 “…I send an Angel before you…”
Capitalized Angel usually refers to the pre-incarnate Jesus or a physical form which is God Himself or is used to represent Himself. I’ve always wondered if God sometimes used the living creatures around Him to speak through them in His physical realm. In that case, they would be a form of pre-incarnate Christ. Purely speculation on my part, but I see Christ as the form of the Trinity which God uses to relate to His physical realm. He said He made us in His image, and we are soul, body, and spirit. We are the soul, and we use the spirit to exist in the spiritual realm and the body to exist in the physical. God is far more complex than us, but if we’re a small mirror of His image, then the Father would be God, Christ would be His relation to the physical, and the Spirit would be Himself in that realm. He of course is three distinct persons in one while we aren’t, but we’re made in His image, not exactly like Him. Anyway, from this we can see that any physical form God chooses to use would be Jesus, His body, His way of relating with His physical realm.
21 “…He will not pardon your transgressions…”
God is usually about mercy and forgiveness, but here He is plain about what will happen if they disobey. They are at a point where He won’t overlook their sins. Their development as a people is too important, and they are too prone to wander after other gods.
24 “…completely break down their sacred pillars”
Places of pagan worship. Those places and all associated with them were to be destroyed. Most representations we have today show some form of phallic symbol. Fertility worship was a common theme. Commentary suggests conquering armies would sometimes keep items as victory trophies, showing their power over the victims’ gods. But Israel wasn’t to have anything to do with other gods, so God ordered it all destroyed. In another place, it describes how they were to even destroy the livestock which had images of gods branded into them. Their worship of God and God alone was to remain pure, no contamination by other god worship.
25-26 “So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.”
Living a Godly life would take care of a lot of sickness and trouble. But this appears to be a special promise of God if the people did as He commanded. If they lived as His people and kept His commandments, He would make sure they had plenty to eat and drink and keep them from physical diseases. No problems in childbirth or with barrenness. And everyone lives to a ripe old age. Too bad they chose to do otherwise.
28 “…I will send hornets before you…”
If they had followed His plan, they wouldn’t have even needed to fight that much. He would use nature to rid the land of the existing people. And those they did fight would flee in fear before them.
29 “I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.”
God would take His time to do things thoroughly, according to His physical creation. If He ran the people out immediately, the time it took the Israelites to move in would allow the land to overgrow from lack of use and the wild animals to take over. We must trust His timing in all things. He has it all worked out.
31 “…I will set your bounds from the Red Sea to the sea, Philistia, and from the desert to the River…”
From the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, and from the deserts of Sinai up to the Euphrates River. I’ve heard estimates that it would encompass around 1500 square miles. Unfortunately, Israel never conquered all they were supposed to. They expanded the most during the reign of Solomon, but since they didn’t drive out the people like God said, those people were always around to cause trouble. They could never occupy as they were meant to.
32-33 “You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in your land…”
God had given the people of the land plenty of time to repent and come to Him, but they did not. Now His judgment was upon them. The Israelites were to drive the people out to establish their nation on the land God promised them and to judge the pagan peoples for their sin. And God didn’t want any contamination in the land with the people. His admonitions couldn’t have been more clear. But they refused to obey.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.