Today is the fourth and final week of our series called “Supernatural”. In week one we acknowledged the fact that even though we live in a physical world, there is also a very real and incredibly important and powerful spiritual world, where a spiritual battle is taking place. We learned that we don’t battle against other people, or against flesh and blood, but against the powers and the principalities of the spiritual world.
In week 2 we looked at the reality of the Holy Spirit of God. We talked about who He is and what His role is in the life of every believer. Last week we looked at the reality of demonic forces, how they work, and their mission, as our spiritual enemy, to steal, kill, and destroy. Today, we are going to shift our attention to spiritual beings, known as angels.
It is not uncommon to get our beliefs about angels from television shows or movies. For example, how many of you used to watch the show, “Touched by An Angel”? A heart-warming show that caused a lot of people to think that all angels are actually women with British accents.
There was “Angels in The Outfield”. What did we learn about angels in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings. The problem with some of these depictions of angels and that they skew our perspective. For instance, if you ever received a Valentine card with a little naked, bald-headed baby angel named Cupid playing a harp on a cloud, that is not a fair representation of angels. That is not what angels are like.
Some people believe that when a loved one dies, they go to Heaven and become your guardian angel. While that sounds nice, there is no scriptural support for that idea.
What we do know, according to scripture, is that Angels are God’s SERVANTS. Angels are supernatural, spiritual beings that were created by and for our Heavenly Father. They do the work of God, and what’s amazing is, that these spiritual beings are so fierce that they can kill thousands of people at one time; and yet, they’re so gentle that they can protect a tiny child.
Now, what’s interesting is, angels are quite likely all around us at this very moment. They are a part of the invisible, supernatural, spiritual world that surrounds us right now. But what’s even harder for my finite mind to grasp is the fact that there are times when angels may actually show up looking like human beings. While that may sound a little far out, we see examples of this in back-to-back chapters of the Bible.
In Genesis 18, Abraham was just out hanging out by a tree. These three guys show up, and little does Abraham know, but these three guys were all angels sent from Heaven. Abraham thought they were just regular guys. He told his wife, Sarah, they were having company for dinner that night, so fire up the oven and make some of that delicious homemade bread everyone likes so well. He didn’t even realize that there were angels standing right there in front of him.
The very next chapter, something similar happened to Abraham’s nephew, Lot.
Lot was in a place called Sodom. One day two guys. Lot thought they were just people with no place to stay, and so he invited them to be his guests. Little did he know that right there in front of him were two angels sent from God.
Who knows? Perhaps you have had some interactions with angels yourself somewhere along the way. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)
Let’s talk about angels. What should we know about these spiritual beings that were created by God and for God? “Who are Angels?”
Angels are WORSHIPPERS.
There are numerous biblical example where we find angels worshipping God. In fact, in Hebrews 1:6, when God presented His honored Son to the world, He said…“When God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him.’” – Hebrews 1:6 (NIV) What do the angels do? They worship God. They worship Jesus.
“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” – Revelation 5:11-12 (NIV) Angels are worshippers.
Angels are WARRIORS.
Angels are fierce warriors, battling on behalf of God. We have looked at Daniel 10 a few times already in this series. When Daniel prayed and the angel showed up 21 days later and said, “I’ve been trying to get here, but I’ve been doing battle against the prince of Persia.”
You might recall that Michael the archangel who came to take over the battle and free the angelic messenger that was on his way to see Daniel. First Chronicles 21 shows a time when David looked up and saw a mighty angel, suspended between heaven and earth, with his sword drawn over Jerusalem. God said, “I want to have compassion on them.” He said to the angel, “Put away your sword, and the angel obeyed God.”
Angels are warriors. We see an incredible example of this in 2 Kings 19:35. “That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!” – 2 Kings 19:35 (NIV)
This warring angel put to death 185,000 men. Angels are warriors of God. “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.” – Revelation 12:7 (NIV)
Angels are MESSENGERS.
Over and over again in scripture, angels are showing up with a message from God for God’s people. The created beings predate the post office, UPS, and Amazon Prime. There is a great example of this in the Old Testament in the book of Judges, when Gideon was afraid. He was scared to death of the Midianites. He was so afraid that he was hiding from them. That is when an angel came to him…“The angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.’” – Judges 6:12 (NIV) What happened? An angel of God showed up with a message for Gideon.
There is an interesting dialogue between Gideon and this angel of the Lord. But it all began when the angel showed up with a message sent directly from God. Sometimes I wish an angel would show up and give me a message. Laurie on the other hand, not so much. I hate to think what she would do if an angel would show up at the house some morning. I suspect we will get a new access point to the house because she will tear a wall down getting out of there. 😊
Luke 1:30-31 shows one of the most famous messages of an angel. An angel showed up to a teenage virgin, by the name of Mary. He gave her this message. “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.” – Luke 1:30-31 (NIV)
The angel of the Lord appeared with the greatest news ever. “The virgin will be with child. His name will be Jesus, and he will be the Savior of the world.” Angels are worshippers. Angels are warriors. And angels are messengers. So, we looked at the question, Who are angels? What exactly do angels do?
Angels give us DIRECTION.
For example, we just looked at the story of a teenage girl who found out that she would be pregnant by the Holy Spirit. It is the story of Mary the mother of Jesus. Mary had a fiancé whose name was Joseph. You can only imagine what is going on in Joseph’s mind when Mary says, “I am going to be a mommy.”
Joseph knows he wasn’t there. He had nothing to do with it. His mind had to be racing. Mary goes on to throw Joseph as real curve ball when she said, “and guess what, Joseph? It’s from the Holy Spirit.” Sure thing, Mary. Whatever you say.
Joseph was having no part of it. Neither would you and neither would I. It didn’t make sense. How could it? Nobody had ever heard of anything like this. So, Joseph was going to do what any other guy would do in his position. He intended to break things off with Mary. But Joseph was a good guy. He didn’t want to shame or humiliate Mary, so he decided to keep everything on the down low.
That is when God sent one of His Heavenly messengers in a dream to give Joseph directions. We see that part of the story in Matthew 1:20. “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 1:20 (NIV)
An angel of God appeared and gave Joseph specific direction.
There’s another great example of this in the Old Testament. It is found in Numbers 22:21. It is a very funny and yet very powerful story. “Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.” – Numbers 22:21-22 (NIV)
So, this guy Balaam saddled up his donkey and he is riding out with some Moabite officials. But God was very angry with Balaam, so God sent an angel to stop him. Verse 23 says…“When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road and into a field.” – Numbers 22:23 (NIV)
Let’s break this story down. I have brought along some visual aids to help us. So, here we have Balaam riding on his faithful little friend, the donkey. (DONKEY PIC) This little guy is cute. He is doing his job. He just wants to get along.
The donkey sees this fierce angel standing in the road, blocking the way, and the donkey says, “I don’t want any of that.” (ANGEL PIC) So little donkey veers off the road to avoid the angel. Balaam was not happy about that, so he got off his donkey and he began beating poor little donkey. “Bad donkey, bad donkey, bad donkey.” Then Balaam got on the donkey, going again.
The angel showed up and blocked the way a second time. “When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.” – Number 22:25 (NIV) The poor donkey is taking a beating…literally. Things are not going well for donkey. Balaam is madder than a hornet and he gets off the donkey and he is beating him again. “Bad donkey, bad donkey.” He gets back on the donkey.
Donkey starts moving forward until he sees this fierce angel standing in the road again. So, the donkey wants no part of it, and he just lays down, right there in the road. Balaam’s madder than fire now. He gets off and just starts beating this poor, cute, little innocent donkey with his staff.
Evidently, God felt sorry for the little donkey. And this is where the story gets interesting. He opened up the donkey’s mouth and let the donkey speak for himself. “Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” – Numbers 22:28 (NIV)
Believe it or not, the donkey sounded quite a bit like Eddie Murphy. 😊 You really should read your Bible. This is all in there (except the Eddie Murphy part). Donkey is saying, “Balaam, I thought we were friends. Haven’t I been your faithful little donkey for all these years? Lighten up, bro. Give a donkey a break. I am just here to help.”
Now, what’s really crazy is the fact that Balaam just starts talking back to the donkey! “Balaam answered the donkey, ‘You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.’” – Numbers 22:29 (NIV)
Ballam is saying the donkey made a fool our of him, but there he is talking to the donkey. And the donkey is talking back. The donkey said… “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” – Numbers 22:30 (NIV)
Balaam had admitted this had not been donkey’s standard practice. “Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, ‘Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.’” – Number 22:31-33 (NIV)
Ballam intended to go one direction, but an angel came to re-direct him. When you are facing roadblock after roadblock, maybe you pay attention, It may be that the Lord is attempting to redirect your path. The next time you are so focused on trying to get someplace, or do something, or make something happen, and you seem to keep hitting multiple roadblocks, you might want to stop and remember the story of Ballam and his donkey. Who after this experience, lived happily ever after. PIC – Donkey and Shrek (not easy finding a picture of Balaam) 😊 Not only will angels give you direction…
Angels protect us from DANGER.
Sometimes people ask, “Do I have a guardian angel?” There is no evidence to say that everyone has a guardian angel, but there is no doubt, angels do protect us from danger. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” – Psalm 91:11-12
There is another great example of angels protecting people in the New Testament. Peter was locked up in prison. He wanted to be out preaching about Jesus, but he was chained up in a lonely prison cell. Herod could have pronounced judgment on Peter and executed him at any moment. Instead, this what happened according to Acts 12. “Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. ‘Quick, get up!’ he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.” – Acts 12:7 (NIV)
Imagine being locked up in prison in the middle of the night when an angel shows up to set you free. He had to think it was a dream, didn’t he? Suddenly, Peter was free! “Then the angel said to him, ‘Put on your clothes and sandals.’ And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision.” – Acts 12:8-9 (NIV)
Following the events of his escape from prison, this is how Peter summed things up. “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” – Acts 12:11 (NIV)
I have heard people who say, “I know that there was an angel watching over me”. I don’t have any first-hand stories like that. But I do believe that there are angels all around us and they may be protecting us and those that we love in ways we cannot see.
Angels MINISTER TO US in our time of need.
“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” – Hebrews 1:14 (NIV) Angels are ministering to us in our time of need. That is actually what happened to Jesus when He was tempted in the wilderness.
We read it last week.
Jesus was tempted three different times by Satan. After a forty-day fast, Jesus was physically exhausted. He was tired and hungry. The enemy shows up and tempts Him in three different ways, and Jesus faithfully fought him off with the Word of God. Jesus was physically spent, spiritually exhausted, recovering from a very intense spiritual battle, and this is what happened at the end of this very dramatic experience… “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” – Matthew 4:11 (NIV) Angels came and ministered to Jesus. They attended to His needs. They took care of Him. Angels are ministering spirits. They can minister to you.
Another very powerful example is when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was just a few hours before His horrible, agonizing death on the cross. He knew what was coming, so He prayed out to God. “God, if there is any other way, any way at all, may this cup of suffering be removed from Me.”
Things were so intense, and He was in so much agony, knowing what was ahead, that his sweat actually became drops of blood. “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” – Luke 22:43 (NIV)
Angels are ministering spirits and they can come and minister to you. An angel of the Lord may show up to provide you with strength, or to protect you, or to guide you. Angels are a very real part of the supernatural world we have been talking about.
We live in a physical world, but there is an equally real and perhaps even more important, spiritual world where the forces of darkness are doing battle against the forces of light, where the kingdom of God is at war with the enemy of your soul.
Remember, our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and the powers of this dark world. We have weapons that are not of this world. They are spiritual weapons. They’re the helmet of salvation and, and the breastplate of righteousness, and the shield of faith, and the belt of truth, and the shoes that are prepared with the Gospel of peace. And we have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
The great news is we don’t fight and engage, trying to gain victory on our own. We are not alone in the battle. The Spirit of God enables and empowers us for the battle. We fight from a position of strength. Jesus has already won the victory. We fight from victory, and not for victory.
If you are a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, remember this…“…The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” – 1 John 4:4b (NLT)
Greater He that is in ME, than He that is in THE WORLD.
Call on God. Depend on Him. He will sustain you and bring victory in Jesus’ Name.