Sermons

Divine Guidance for Your Life

By Leroy McCreary
"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" (Exodus 23:20)

Divine Guidance for Your Life

"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" (Exodus 23:20)

July 22, 2018

 

I grew up in a house where my mother walked her guests that visited until dusk or later part of the way back to their home. Walking was our only mode or regular transportation. I never learned why my mother felt this trip was necessary. Also, I never thought it was necessary for her to shut down the house, close the doors and for all of us to walk with her and her guests. Further, I cannot remember even if my mother told me how she determined where to make the turn around and head back home.

 

My long-held assumption was that this was just how country folks showed their hospitality. But when I read this text before us this morning, I thought about my experience of growing up in our home in the south.

 

The text for today's sermon is about God's people leaving from Mount Sinai. You may recall God called them out of Egypt to Mt. Sinai. God called them to leave Egypt and meet with him at the foot of Mt. Sinai to worship him. They had camped at the foot of the mountain for some 40 days and nights. At the foot of this mountain, much had transpired. It was here that Moses had climbed up the mountain and met with God. It was there that God had given Moses the tablets of the law; tablets that God had written on the front and back; and it was there that Aaron made a golden calf and the people had worshipped it; it was there that the people had dissed Moses, saying, "We don't know what happened to that fellow, Moses." It was there that they had said about the golden calf that Aaron had made, "This is the god that brought us up out of Egypt." Yet, now they want God to travel with them.

 

Now, it was time for them to actually start their trip to Canaan Land. Canaan land had enough to frighten the Jews: "The land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusite. (Exodus 23:23b) The names alone had the potential to cause anxiety. Surely the differences in religion, culture, lifestyles added to their anxieties. Because of these anxieties and differences, they wanted God to accompany them to Canaan land. Despite their awful behavior at Mt. Sinai, God promises to travel with them.

 

We are not unlike the Jews. We want God to walk with us. We want him to accompany us on our journeys despite how we treat him. Vanessa Bell Armstrong put our thoughts and feelings about God traveling with us in her song:

Walk With Me:

Walk with me Lord; walk with me
Walk with me Lord; walk with me
Ooh, while I'm on this tedious journey
I want Jesus to walk with me
Oh, hold my hand Lord; please hold my hand
Oh, hold my hand Lord; hold, hold my hand
While I'm on this tedious journey
I want Jesus to walk with me
I want You to hold me in my troubles
Hold me when the storm of life is raging
Hold me; let me know everything's all right
I'd like to say it one more time
I want You to hold me in my troubles
Hold me when the storm of life is raging
Hold me; let me know everything's all right

 

God promises to send his angel out in the lead and for him to remain out front. The angel provided 24/7 security. The angel is "to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." (Exodus 23:20b) This speaks to us. God has never ceased to go with us and to guard and protect us. It's a message that is timely and extremely relevant.

 

Third, God says "I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you." (Exodus 23:22). In other words, God promises to stand in the place of us to oppose our enemies. We can have enemies that only the Lord knows about. That's the beauty of this. You see, the Bible teaches that we fight against principalities of the power of the air, against princes of Satan, and the spirits of evil. Only God knows about these enemies. I surely hope none of us has an enemy let alone enemies. But only God knows our enemies since our enemies can be flesh and blood and others that we don't know.

 

Thank God for promising to be our enemy against our enemies since we don't have the power to oppose our enemies. We are not strong; we don't want to wrestle with anyone; we don't want to argue with anyone; we don't want to go toe to toe or eye to eye with anyone; we don't want any trouble or stress in our lives with people and things; we just want to get along with all people and powers that exist. Thank God for promising to be our enemy against our enemies.

 

One caveat to receive this blessing we must be obedient and listen to the angel.

"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." (Exodus 23:21-22)

 

Also, God says, "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." (Exodus 23:25b)

Be careful in reacting to this promise from God. Don't take it too literally. God has his own way of doing his work. You may not understand how God does his work. Also, don't forget that this promise is again based on our conduct and behavior. We may not see much of this blessing because there is no one receiving this wonderful blessing because there is no one who is listening and obeying as God demands. But do know this is God's promise. It's still a promise for today.

 

After hearing God's promises to bless his people as they travel to Canaan Land, I am so pleased to share with you today that God is the same toward us. He has promised to go with us; to walk with us in circumstances of life. You are included. You too can have him to walk with you in times you need him in your life. You may need him right now. He will go with you. You may be going through some situation right now that you really need God to be with you, to hold your hand. God promises to do it. Are you filled with anxieties as the Jews were at the foot of Mt. Sinai? Are you burdened down with fearful thoughts about the future? God has promised to go with you. Now, in our day and times God doesn't send an angel out front of us when we go through situations or travel. God's son, Jesus now accompanies us. He promises to go with us all the way and at all times and situations.

 

This message is relevant to us today. We are in the process of changing. We are seeking a new shepherd with a new vision; a shepherd that loves God and loves God's people; a shepherd that will honest and devoted; a shepherd that do God's will above everything. You may be filled with anxieties about this change. But I want you to know that what God told his people at the foot of Mt. Sinai he means it today. His son, Jesus, will go ahead of us; he will guard us; he will take up our cause for us in times of trouble; he will give us contentment and a peace that transcends all understanding. Throw off unnecessary worry; trust God's promises; walk with him; put matters that are too big for you into God's hands. He will do his part; you must do your part; your part is to listen to him; your part is to obey him; your part is to keep moving forward. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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