"...I am sending an angel..." Exodus 23:20 (NLT)
After expressing The Ten Commandments to Moses, the Lord provided clarification on the proper use of altars for worship, the fair treatment of slaves, deciding personal injury issues, property issues, social responsibility, as well as specifying the three annual festivals the nation was to recognize and celebrate. (Read Exodus 21-23:19) Ending the dialogue with Israel's leader, the Lord used these five simple words in describing His continued presence for the wandering nation. This 'angel' God sent was actually the pre-incarnate Christ.
Paul refers to the truth of Christ's presence among the Israelites in I Corinthians 10:9. As the nation detoured around Edom by the Red Sea, the Israelites complained against the Lord Who sent venomous snakes to enter the camp and many died. They understood their sin and repented, asking Moses to intercede for them before the Lord. (Read Numbers 21:4-8) Of course, Paul also asserts the eternally pre-existant Christ in Colossians 1:16, as the Creator of all there is.
Numbers 12:5-8 reveals a statement by the pre-incarnate Christ to Aaron and his sister Miriam (in the presence of Moses) after they both had complained about the living conditions. Miriam was struck with a form of leprosy for such insubordination and had to stay outside the camp for seven days.
The angel of God (Jesus - the messenger of the trinity) was to lead, protect, and provide the power to get Israel to the promised land safely. There were exceptions though to the promise of God's presence. The nation's leaders and citizens were to pay close attention to Him, obey His instructions, and not rebel against Him in any way. (verses 20& 21) If they were careful to obey Him and submit to His instructions, God promised to be an enemy to their enemies and oppose any who opposed them. (verse 22) There were other blessings promised to the chosen seed of Abraham for their obedience. God promised them food and water, immunity from disease and infertility, as well as long life! The writer of Psalm 33 echoes these benefits when he wrote: "Blessed is the nation whose God is The Lord." (verse 12)
O that America would experience a great awakening of God's presence and turn to His way for living that we might know the same benefits of His presence in our lives!
In His presence is fullness of joy!