Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place, which I have prepared. – Exodus 23:20
Israel had escaped the evil clutches of Pharaoh and the bondage of slavery and now resided in the Sinai desert under the leadership of Moses. God spoke to Moses and led the people through his servant, who relayed God’s messages to the people. One of those messages was that God would send an Angel before them to serve as their protector and guide. The NKJV capitalizes Angel to signify to us, the readers, that this Angel is none other than the pre-incarnate Jesus. It was Jesus, who went before Israel to protect them and guide them.
Look at the last half of the verse above. It reads that the Angel would bring God’s people into Canaan, as He had prepared. The Angel served in two ways to Israel to protect them (keep them in the way) and to guide them to Canaan (bring them into the place God prepared). Just as Jesus led the ancient Hebrews toward their Promised Land, He still serves believers, His chosen people, in these ways. Jesus protects us from Satan to keep [us] in the way while leading us into the place, which [He has] prepared, the New Jerusalem.
If we are diligent in studying God’s Word, we will soon learn that God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the unchanging God of the heavens. He cared enough for His inheritance from among men to protect, provide, and lead them toward their promised homeland in this life. He also cares enough to do the same for ALL believers as they sojourn toward their promised homeland in the sky.
If God had not led Israel in times past, they never would have made to Canaan on their own. They continually tested and tempted God with their complaining and accusations. They chided Moses and ten times demanded to return to the temporary luxuries and provisions of Egypt (the world’s ways) when things would go awry in the desert. So they ended up wandering for 40 years until that generation above 20 years old died off. They never entered into the rest of the LORD. Their lives should serve as an example and stern warning to us, and all people everywhere, that God’s way is the only way. God even warned Israel to heed the instructions of Jesus (the Angel) or suffer the consequences of their choices.
If we don’t heed the Word and instructions of Jesus in this life, we will not be afforded His provision, protection, and guidance into our promised homeland – New Jerusalem. Jesus told us that there is no other way to God the Father except through Him because He IS THE WAY. We can only come after Jesus by denying ourselves, picking up our crosses, and FOLLOWING Him. Jesus will keep [us] in the way and bring [us] into the place, which [He has] prepared.
Father, You gave Jesus to us, the believers and Your family, to be our guide and protector. It is through His blood that we overcome the enemy and tear down strongholds. He is the only Way that leads to You. There is no other. You are the Lamp unto my feet and the Light unto my path. Through the illumination of Your Word to my heart and spirit, I am able to traverse through this life’s treachery and deceit and still make it through to New Jerusalem, where I will spend eternity with You! Help me to lead others to the narrow Gate that leads to the narrow Way that leads to eternal life – Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.