Friday, April 12, 2013

Angels to the rescue!

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego"
by Simeon Solomon 1863
Image from Wikipedia

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego by Simeon Solomon - 1863
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Hebrews 1:1-14

TO CHEW ON: "But to which of the angels has He ever said: 'Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool'? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" Hebrews 1:13,14

Of all the creatures God has created, angels are among the most fascinating but least understood. Perhaps one reason is that they are elusive, becoming visible on rare occasions, briefly, and to a select few. I can't say I've ever seen an angel.

But the Bible talks often of them, most frequently in their ministering role:
In the Old Testament:
  • An angel encouraged Hagar in the wilderness after she fled from Sarai - Genesis 16:7.
  • Angels helped Lot and his wife flee doomed Sodom - Genesis 19:16.
  • The Angel of the Lord stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac - Genesis 22:11,12.
  • An Angel of the Lord was present when the Israelites set out from Egypt and accompanied them through the wilderness, sometimes going before them, sometimes behind them - Exodus 14:19; Exodus 23:20; Isaiah 63:9.
  • An angel took care of exhausted Elijah after he fled from Jezebel - 1 Kings 19:5.
  • Psalm 91 promises angel protection for those who trust in God - Psalm 91:11. Satan reminded Jesus of this promise when he tempted Him to throw Himself off the temple - Matthew 4:5.
  • An angel walked with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace and shut the mouths of the lions when Daniel was in the den with them - Daniel 3:28; 6:22.

In the New Testament:
  • Angels ministered to Jesus after His temptation - Mark 1:13.
  • Angels were active in several prison breaks. One opened the prison doors for Peter and John shortly after Pentecost  and another helped Peter escape sometime later - Acts 5:19; 12:7.
  • An angel encouraged Paul during the storm on his disastrous voyage to Rome - Acts 27:23.

Wayne Grudem, in his Systematic Theology's discussion of angels, names five ways they serve God's purposes:

1. They show the greatness of God's love and plan for us.
2. They remind us that the unseen world is real.
3. They are examples for us in both their obedience and their worship.
4. They carry out some of God's plans.
5. Angels directly glorify God

- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pp. 402-404. 

I'm so glad God's plan includes these mysterious creatures. Do we have guardian angels? Psalm 91:11 would support that:

 "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."

as would what Jesus said about children and angels in Matthew 18:10:

"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."

But we are never to worship angels or pray to them. For they are creatures like us. I'm looking forward to the time when I will know and appreciate the role that angels have had in my life.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for angels, those beings You have created to accomplish Your will, including ministry to us vulnerable humans. Amen.

MORE: Modern Angel Encounters

Author James Stuart Bell has compiled a book of modern stories of angelic encounters. Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters: Real-Life Stories of Supernatural Events is a an interesting and encouraging read!


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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