Sunday, June 27, 2010
Hand of God, Branson, Mo
The Bible contains numerous accounts of how God and His angels interact with humankind. Many of these interactions involve the protection of people that are not even aware of it. Angels of the Lord are sometimes seen and many times not seen. There’s a story in Numbers 22 about a sorcerer that is traveling on his donkey to meet a ruler that wants to curse Israel before they conquer his land. An angel of the Lord with his sword drawn stood in his path three times and was seen by the donkey which turned off the path only to be beaten by his rider who could not see the angel. Then the Lord opened the sorcerer’s eyes and he finally saw the imposing angel who delivered God’s message to him. It just may be for the best that we're not wired to normally see these spiritual beings. There’s a reason that in almost all confrontations between human beings and these spiritual beings, the angel says, “fear not”. Their presence apparently scares the living daylights out of us mere mortals!
There’s another account in 2 Kings 6 regarding how the prophet Elisha continually told the king of Israel about the logistical tactics of the king of Aman. This enraged the Amanean king so much that he sent an army with horses and chariots to surround the city where Elisha resided. When Elisha’s servant rushed to Elisha and sounded the alarm, Elisha quieted him by observing that they had a larger army on their side for protection. Then Elisha prayed to the Lord to open the servant’s eyes and he saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Then as the army attacked, Elisha prayed for the Lord to smite them with blindness. Their blindness was only removed after they were captured and then released to their king so that they would stop raiding Israel’s territory.
Some time later in 2 Kings 7, the king of Aman again raised a large army and laid siege to the Israeli city of Samaria where the king of Israel and Elisha were residing. The people were being starved out. Then the Lord caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they thought the king of Israel had hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack them. So they fled in the night and ran for their lives. Then the people went out to their camp and plundered it of all their food and livestock.
The Israelites settled into their promised land to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. But they did not follow God’s command to destroy all of the pagan influences and gods that could lead them away from God. Until that time, God had protected them by leading them out of slavery in Egypt and into battle to displace the indigenous peoples of the land. He sent an angel to guard and guide them (Exodus 23:20). Both the northern and southern tribes were invaded twice as a warning not to turn their backs on God. Finally, God withdrew his protection and turned his back on Israel and the Assyrian Empire conquered the north and Samaria (2 Kings 17) and later the evil Babylonian Empire to the south captured the remainder and Jerusalem (2 Kings 25). The nation had rejected its original purpose to honor God and be a light to the world.
Revelation tells us that there will be a detailed accounting of each of our lives at the final judgment. Who knows exactly what all might be revealed to us at that time? Quite possibly we may finally have our eyes opened to numerous instances where angels of the Lord had protected us from all manner of calamities that never happened. Have you read of all the accounts of those people who did not show up for work in the twin towers on September 11? Was it simply fate or were they being protected from harm for some reason? Was the actual attack a punishment as some say, or perhaps did God simply respond in kind from this nation turning our backs on Him? Many scoff at even the question, but we should reverently search our hearts and souls to try to find the answer if it was perhaps a first warning.