Today’s Bible Journaling comes from Exodus 23:20-23, “See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. Pay close attention to him, and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion. But if you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you. For my angel will go before you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittities, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, so you may live there. And I will destroy them completely.” (NLT) The Israelites were heading for the Promised Land and God gave them instruction and a promise. If they were obedient and not rebellious, He would guide and protect them, even fight their battles against the many enemies they were to encounter.
I’ve had my nephew on my mind a lot, and my heart is so full to know that God protected him from himself despite his wrong choices. For some reason as I was searching for verses to journal today with this thought in mind, I found this passage in Exodus. It was God directed, I am sure. As I read this passage, what came up almost immediately is that obedience to God brings blessings, and one of those blessings is protection. Now, I know my nephew is far from God as evidenced by the situation he is in right now, but God, in his mercy and love for my nephew, chose to protect him. I am convinced God sent an angel to do battle against the enemy, Satan, who comes to “kill, steal, and destroy.” (John 10:10) I’m sure the Devil whispered into his ear at the very beginning of this battle that, “everybody’s doing it, and it will be fun! It will make you feel better.” The Bible says that Satan is the “father of lies.” (John 8:44 NASB)
Obedience to God’s Word and instruction brings blessings. When we listen and are attentive to His direction, He brings us peace of heart, and whether the pathway goes through a rough patch where it seems like nothing is going right or it is smooth sailing, in the end, God’s plans always are for our good, and the peace He brings is more of a blessing than we can ever imagine.
If you look at the Israelites and their wandering in the desert to the Promised Land, they were a rebellious, contentious, complaining lot. Eventually, God had more than He could take…they tried Him to the very end of His patience (which is extremely long) and eventually He had to do the only thing He could, and that was to banish a whole generation of people from entering the Land He had promised them. Because of their disobedience they lost out on a great promise and blessing.
Be assured that with disobedience comes consequences. Yes, God loves us. Yes, He is patient. (The King James Version says “longsuffering.”) But like any good Father, when His children misbehave, He must give discipline. Hopefully, we learn from our sin and mistakes, and walk in obedience from that point on.
When we walk with Him in obedience, we receive His blessings. In situations where it seems like the enemy of our souls is pulling out all the stops and beating us up, God sends His angels to fight for us. When our lives are in danger, God sends His angels to form a hedge of protection around us. When we need healing, ministering angels are sent to help us. These are blessings that, a lot of times, we are not aware of, and yet God, in His love, chooses to bless us. Take time today to lift your voice in praise to the Father and bless His name.