Tuesday, December 2, 2008

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Angels on Assignment

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13:2).

Hebrews says that we are to exercise the gift of hospitality, especially toward strangers, and that in so doing, there are people who have actually had angels in their homes without knowing it.  Scripture is full of stories like this or other instances of angelic visitations.  Do we believe in angels?  Do we believe that they are around us?  Do we know what they are about and what they are to do?

Several years ago now, there was a lot of interest in angels in the popular media.  There was a regular weekly television show called "Touched by and Angel" in which angels would come and visit people and try to help them with something they were struggling with, simply to let them know that God saw their situation and loved them enough to send some help in the form of an angel.  Whether the theology was always accurate or not is not the point, people craved this kind of thing.  And then there were a whole bunch of angels who came to the rescue of an ailing baseball team, the California Angels, and there were angels in the outfield, helping the team play better ball but also helping two small orphan boys to find the love and family they desired.  There has also been a lot of interest in the popular media regarding the angels on the fallen side too, but that is a whole other discussion.

Lots of people can tell personal stories or things that they have heard from others close to them about possible appearances of angels.  I have one of my own.  I was scheduled for a CT scan because I was having some bouts with fainting many years ago.  I went to the hospital in Winnipeg and while I waited, a young girl struck up a conversation in the waiting room.  She said that even though she had done this before, she was afraid.  I talked with her some more and calmed her fears and she said that she appreciated being able to talk with someone who cared.  I asked her what her name was.  She said it was "Grace," and when I asked for a last name, she said, "just Grace, Amazing Grace."  Shortly after that, she was called in for her scan.  I went in next, but when I went into the scanning room, through the only door in or out (because I checked), she was nowhere to be seen.  Was this an angel?  Maybe.  I think so.  "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13:2).

I don't think that we think about God's angels near enough.  I'm not suggesting that we focus on them.  That would be wrong.  God alone is Lord and the angels themselves would never accept anything that even remotely looks like worship.  They exist and were created for only one thing and that is to accomplish the will of God and to worship him.  Does that not sound at all vaguely familiar?  Is that not what we too were created to do?  Different from them, however, we have a choice and he has put us in charge of the world, so that they marvel, "what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet" (Psalm 8:4-6, see Hebrews 2:6-8).  This exalted position of man was only fully fulfilled in Jesus, but was the position of all mankind nevertheless! 

We are it is true, in one sense, a little lower than the angels, but in another way, we are over them.  This is today's challenge.  Not only can we possibly entertain angels, whether knowingly or unknowingly, we can and should send them out on assignment!  Did you ever realize that they were simply waiting for you, yes you and me, to issue the command!  Hebrews says clearly:

"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).

Now, before we go off telling our angels all the things that we want them to do, we must recognize that there is only one Lord and Master that they respond to.  They will not listen to you and me alone.  Psalm 103:20-21 says:

"Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.  Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will."

When we talk about "our" angels, they are first and foremost his angels and his servants.  However, when we command them according to his word which is also his will, they will go forth and serve us on his behalf.  That is what they were created to do!

Are my angels on assignment or are they on unemployment?  Am I speaking the promises of God as found in his word that I want to see accomplished in my life and in the lives of others so that these things can actually be accomplished?  Are my angels busy or wondering when or if I will get around to anything in the word of God?  Do we pray to angels or focus on them?  No, of course not.  We pray only to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but when we pray and ask in accordance with his word, which most definitely will be praying in accordance with his will, he sends forth his angels, our angels, to accomplish his word and his will and to serve those of us who will inherit salvation. 

Lord, in my life today and according to your word, send forth your mighty ones to do your bidding and accomplish your word and you will on my behalf and that of my brothers and sisters!  Let my angels be on assignment!

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