I have found using the term ‘story’ in these blogs quite a difficult thing to do. I think it doesn’t have the meaning I am after. I talk about the lives of the people featured in my pages and I’m not sure how to phrase the importance of their actual existence in history. I have taught in Sunday School settings and even talked with adults who would say that the Bible is a big story book, with gruesome bits and fancy, flighty sections. They would, perhaps say that Jesus was a real figure in history, but the old testament is a muddle and is just there as a moral tale. They look at Genesis and regurgitate the theory of evolution as fact in order to prove the medieval ideas of creation as false. These words ‘story’ and ‘tale’ seem to conjure up something that is fictitious.
I think that this dismissal of the Bible can be linked with how our imaginations are nurtured. The problem of figuring out what is real and what is make believe is difficult for small children. Just as their imaginations are starting to grow they begin read, drift off into movies, computer games become attractive and dreams fill their nights. Lying can become an issue because all of a sudden, they can create an alternative story – albeit a little unconvincing to begin with. But as they grow, they begin to understand reality, see the story as just that, a story. At this point, the enemy has a field day. It is a tactic of the enemy to ask what other things can we not see that could just be a nice story or a figment of our imagination?
Angels often portrayed as spirits of people who have died who sit on clouds and play harps. Who would want you to think that? Hmmm, I can think of something that would want you to downplay them too! This is not the truth.
Angels are mighty warriors who are under GOD’s authority. They bring messages straight from the throne room of GOD. They do what He commands. They are not gods, they cannot be compared to GOD, but they were created by Him. One angel fell from this place of doing GOD’s work because he was jealous for power. Satan is a fallen angel, he still has the powers of an angel, BUT he is not GOD and should never be compared to GOD. He is a much lesser being. He cannot create anything. He hates humans because we are created in GOD’s image, a constant reminder that he isn’t. In fact, Satan would rather you not believe that he exists at all.
When I read this section in Exodus 23, it was astounding. I challenge you to read it as a literal account and not just symbolically.
I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place I have prepared … I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. Exodus 23:20,22b
Wow! The King over all, positions His host, His angel, with disobedient and faulty humans to guard and bring them to the place that He wants them to live in. His host do battle with the spiritual realm because He knows the schemes of the enemy that opposes. GOD knows the reality of the spiritual realm and frustrates the plans that evil has.
There are many re-tellings of the times when angels came to do battle against an enemy. One of my favourites is in 2 Kings 6. GOD’s people are surrounded by an enemy army. What would you do if your eyes were opened to see?
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked.
16 ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’
17 And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all round Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17
It is incredible to think of battles that take place in the spiritual realm affecting the natural realm and vice versa. But this passage of scripture evokes just that. The human army would be defeated by the army of GOD in their chariots of fire.
What would you do if you knew that GOD stations His angels around you?
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them. Psalm 34:4-7
We have already been given the victory. GOD is for us. He doesn’t need to be, we don’t add anything to make Him better in any way, but chooses us as His people and treasured possession. GOD is adamant that He will be all that the people in Exodus need. In the very next bit of Exodus 23:25-31, GOD goes on to promise many things for those that are obedient to Him and worship Him, that HE WILL …
… take away disease, give a full life span, send terror ahead to confuse the nations, make enemies turn the backs and run, drive out the enemy from the land He has given, show us that He is the one doing the driving out, establish vast borders, gives into our hands the victory.
I think we can take this as something that still stands for us today. What do you need? GOD is sending His angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and bring you to the place He has prepared. He will be the enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you.