Why the fascination with angels? Why does the appearance of an angel create such interest? A life‐changing teaching from the Bible does not have the same popular appeal as the sighting of an angel.
During the May 22, 2011 tornado here in Joplin, over 160 people were killed in a storm that destroyed 7,000 homes, 400 businesses, and 18,000 cars. The newspaper gave the account of a young girl, along with her cousin and grandmother, sitting in a car on the Home Depot parking lot as the tornado went through. When the rescue workers arrived on the scene, the girl was pinned in the vehicle by a piece of steel that had gone through her shoulder and her thigh, and then into the seat. After unsuccessfully trying to free her with a cutter, they used a reciprocating saw to finally get her out of the car. (If you're unfamiliar with the tool, the vibration is tremendous.) When asked how she endured the ordeal the girl answered, “Oh, the angels kept me company.”
From looking at the damage, the death toll should have been much, much higher than 160 plus people. So the word we heard all over town was something like: “It's only because of God that we're alive.” God helped people and undoubtedly used angels in the process (see Psalm 91:11 and Hebrews 1:14). But the few accounts of visible angels drew a lot more attention from the public, than the numerous other accounts of God's invisible help. Given similar miracles, why are we more impressed with the miracle involving something we can see—like an angel?
The simple answer is: “When we need help, we look for it with our physical senses.” And a visible angel is much more believable than an invisible God—even though God has sent the angel.
Taking this illustration even further, we would rather be helped by humans than by angels. If we are being held hostage by a bad guy, we would prefer a S.W.A.T. team over a host of angels. When Elisha's servant woke up to a great army from Syria surrounding the city, he was terrified. I doubt he would have been comforted if Elisha had told him a host of angels would defend them. The servant would have preferred to have seen an even greater army from Israel surrounding the Syrian army. But the servant had something much better to put his confidence in; he just didn't know it until he could see it. When Elisha prayed for the servant to have the ability to see beyond the natural, the servant saw a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire. And the invisible God, upon Elisha's request, blinded the Syrian army. No man could have done what God did for Elisha and his servant that day. (See 2 Kings 6.)
We want to live by sight (and by all of our other physical senses). We do not want to live by faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (see Hebrews 11:1). But we prefer to base our hope on what a government or an economic system says rather than on what God says. We prefer the evidence of man's promises rather than the evidence of God's Word. And as long as we live like this, we will never, ever be able to get out from under the law. Where do you stand?
You can use this simple test to determine your position: Who do you think of first when you get sick—your doctor or God? Who do you think of first when your car starts acting up—your mechanic or God? If you are like most of us, having your doctor or your mechanic on the scene would be far more reassuring than having a God you can't even see.
But for you to ever get out from under the law and live instead under grace, God has to be your very first thought in “any” situation.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills [around Jerusalem, to sacred Mount Zion and Mount Moriah]—From whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1–2 Amp Bible)
The work we do requires that we include God in every thought, word, and deed—even with the nuts and bolts of everyday life. Nothing… absolutely nothing is off limits.
I purchased, over twelve years ago, a very high quality laser printer. It served me faithfully until a couple of years ago, when it started jamming paper, sounding more like a shredder than a printer. The very first thought on my mind was: “Time to get another printer.” I began to look for deals online, and never considered trying to have it repaired because it was so old. Sherrel was in my office one day as the printer was grinding out some copies. As I advised her of the necessary expenditure, the very first thought on her mind was: “We will pray for it.” The “we” was all her because I… let's just say I didn't want to contaminate her prayer with my opinions.
You've probably already figured out the rest of the story. Yes, the printer stopped making grinding noises and has worked perfectly ever since.
The work we do always has God as the first responder—always. And when you include God in your every thought, word, and deed He will naturally be the first responder to each and every situation.
Are you with me? If this is still strange to you, consider Jesus' words:
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7 ESV)
Jesus is telling them that they will be better off with the Holy Spirit than they are with Him in physical form, here on this earth. If you are a born‐again believer, did you know you are better off than the men and women who walked with Jesus? You are better off, because they may have had Jesus “with” them but they did not have the Holy Spirit “in” them until after Jesus' ascension into Heaven (see Acts 1). Let me illustrate:
If you are sitting alone in a room and Jesus walks in, are you closer to God at that moment than you were before He walked in? The answer is, “No.” You may feel closer to God by seeing Jesus. But in reality, God was already living on the inside of you as Holy Spirit before He ever walked into the room as Jesus.
Your physical senses will not allow you to deny Jesus in the flesh, but your senses will allow you to deny the presence of Holy Spirit.
God is actually closer to you this very moment than He was to John the Baptist. John did not have God living on the inside of him the way you do. John was filled with the Holy Spirit (see Luke 1:15) but he did not have the same relationship possible with God that you have—even if you are least in the kingdom of heaven.
Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matthew 11:11 NIV)
God is actually closer to me, also, at this very moment than He was to John the Baptist. Of course this thought seems as ridiculous to me as it did to you. But it's true according to the Word.
So why don't we act like it? Why don't we have—if not greater— at least the same kind of results in our lives as John the Baptist?
We do not know the kind of relationship possible with God because we limit Him to what we can experience with our human nature. But He is much bigger than our human nature. We have to get past man's way of thinking to experience what He has in store for us.
Are you ready to never do anything… anything—in thought, word, or deed—without Him?
Have a good day,