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Summary: After the giving of the Law to Moses, it is time to move forward and prepare the people to claim the Promised Land. Along the way, though difficult the way maybe, God has promised to guide them until they reach their eternal destination.

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THE PROMISE OF GOD'S GUIDANCE

SCRIPTURE READING:

Exodus 23:20-26 (NIV) 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.

INTRODUCTION:

We are now in chapter 23 of the Book of Exodus.

This is the incident after the the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai.

God also gave them specific instructions on dealing with servants, with personal injury, with the protection of property, with social justice, with the Sabbath and the Annual Feast or Festivals.

You can read all of these in chapters 21-23.

We have no time to discuss every detail of these laws.

But the most important thing we can learn here is that God was preparing them spiritually and morally to move forward and claim the Promised Land.

They have never been there, but God has promised the land to them because they are His own people.

And so, God has planned to guide them along the way, every step of their journey.

They were required to listen carefully to what God says and do all that He commands.

He now gives them the things they MUST NOT DO along the way.

*They must not rebel against the Lord. God hates rebellion from His people.

*They must not bow down before the gods of the land, or worship or follow their practices.

God then list all the things they MUST DO along the way:

*They must listen carefully to God's commands.

*They must demolish the gods of the land and break their sacred stones to pieces.

*They must worship the Lord.

God then had PROMISED the following things in return for their obedience:

*God will bring them to the Promised Land

*God will wipe out all their enemies.

*God will bless their food and their water.

*God will take away sickness from among them.

*God will give them a full life span.

Wow, those are a lot of blessings in return for their complete obedience and submission.

This is what the covenant relationship with God is all about.

The reward will be received after they have obeyed.

That is the same thing that God requires from us.

When we have a covenant relationship with God through Christ, He has promised to bless us when we obey Him.

But along the way, He will lead us and guide us so that we can make it through the difficult pathway of life.

This is what God's guidance is all about.

There is no short-cut to the Promised Land.

We had to take the difficult road that leads to life.

We had to hold his hand and take one step at a time until we get there.

There are battles that had to be fought.

There are idols that had to be dismantled.

There are traps that had to be avoided.

But if we are faithful and obedient. We will make it.

The word "guidance" means God's direction to understand or God's advice that we need to follow.

It also means God's instruction and counsel for our everyday life that we need to pursue.

We do not follow our own Google map to get there, but we follow God's Biblical map instead, then we submit to His guidance.

But of course, that is only an illustration.

We still need the Google map.

The problem is many times, we just rush into deciding to do something that we desire without thinking thoroughly the consequences that what we are getting into.

We depend on our emotion to decide for us.

There was a story from the Reader's Digest of a flight attendant who spent a week's vacation in the Rockies.

She was captivated by the mountain peaks, the clear blue skies, and the sweet smelling pines.

But she was also charmed by a very eligible and handsome bachelor who owned and operated a cattle ranch that lived in a log cabin.

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