Peter Barnes: Exodus 23:20-33
(12 May 2019)
SERMON NOTES: THE CONQUERING ANGEL (Exodus 23:20-33)
It is common to hear claims that God as Trinity appears suddenly in the New Testament, but there are hints all through the Old Testament.
1. The presence of Christ.
– 23:20-21. What do we make of this? See Ex.3:1-6; 14:19. Most of the angels in the Bible are created beings, just angels. But there is a figure who appears throughout the Old Testament who is a divine figure e.g. Joshua 5:13-6:2.
– Psalm 110:1; Isa.9:6; Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6. ‘My name is in Him’ (Ex,20:21). He protects and He forgives sin, and He has the divine name ‘Yahweh’. The name of God is the character of God, all that God is, so this is a pre-incarnation appearance of the Son of God.
2. God’s warnings.
– 23:23-24. The NIV has ‘worship’ but the idea is more like ‘serve’.
– 23:32-33; idolatry can ensnare us, almost before we realise it. There can be trade alliances and the like e.g. 2 Sam.5:11.
– Exodus 32. God does not demand freedom to worship Him, but that we worship Him, and worship Him alone. Ex.34:12-16.
3. God’s promises.
(a) protection and victory – 23:22-23, 27-28; see Josh.2:11. Remember Gen.12:3. This would not take place in one hit – Ex.23:29-31.
(b) provisions and care – 23:25.
(c) increase in number – 23:26. The Canaanites engaged in temple prostitution, supposedly to make the crops grow, and child sacrifice to please the god Molech especially (Lev.18:21).
The divine angel warns and promises.