Messengers of God
Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Psalm 103:20
Think of the number of English surnames that derive from an occupation: Baker, Mason, Butcher, Carpenter, Miller, Smith, and more. The same is true of the name given to spiritual beings created by God. In both Hebrew and Greek, they are called messengers. In English we call them angels, which is the Greek word for messenger (angelos) rendered in English (angel).
So—spiritual angels are divine messengers from God in heaven to us here on earth. Interestingly, the description Paul gave to a messenger (Epaphroditus) from the church in Philippi while he was in prison suggests the role of God’s angels to us: “your messenger . . . the one who ministered to my need” (Philippians 2:25). That is certainly consistent with the description of angels in Hebrews 1:14: “ministering spirits.” The big idea of angels is this: We have needs; God cares about our needs; God sends His angels to minister to us in ways which we are often unaware.
We should remain thankful and aware of yet another dimension of God’s care for us via His ministering messengers we call angels.
[Angels’] function is to execute the plan of divine providence, even in earthly things. Thomas Aquinas
How Psalms 103:20 doesn’t work FOR you but works IN you
Are you carrying wounds around with you wherever you go? Maybe someone said or did something hurtful to you yesterday, and you can’t seem to get it out of your mind. Or perhaps the offense occurred many years ago, and it’s still affecting you today. Despite your attempts to bury the pain, it keeps rising to the surface.
God doesn’t want us to live under a cloud of emotional pain. In today’s passage, He provides the way out if we’re willing to take it.
Recognize our own sin (v. 30). Although the other person’s guilt seems much greater, we can’t hide behind the label of “victim.” Wrongdoers will be held answerable to God for their actions, but we are accountable for our response. That’s why we’re warned not to grieve the Holy Spirit.
Let go of sinful responses (v. 31). The only way to move forward is to drop all bitterness, anger, and malice toward our offender. Each time we rehearse the wrong, relive the pain, and feel resentment rise up within us, we’re responding in a sinful manner instead of walking in obedience to the Spirit. To be healed of our hurts, we must put away such things.
Forgive (v. 32). As people forgiven of every sin we’ve ever committed, we have no right to hang on to others’ offenses.
Each time we submit to the Spirit, He moves us forward in forgiveness. If the pain is deep, the progress may be slow. Nevertheless, continue obeying God in an attitude of forgiveness. You’ll discover that as you let go of the offense, the hurt you’ve been carrying will be lifted as well.
“And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.” (Exodus 21:5-6)
This unique ordinance of the Mosaic law is significant as being the first one given after the Ten Commandments. It (and the following ordinances) centers first on the most humble members of society (that is, the slave—recognizing the universal existence of slavery at the time and ameliorating its practice), then on other people, then on property—thus establishing God’s priorities.
Here also, right at the beginning of the dispensation of law, we are given a picture in miniature of the coming Servant of the Lord, who would come someday to bear the penalty of the law for us, saving us by His grace.
The servant pictured here, with full right to be set free in the sabbatical year, chooses rather to do the will of his master forever, listening to his voice only—this commitment symbolized and sealed by the opening in his ear. Just so, the coming Savior would say: “Mine ears hast thou opened. . . . Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:6-8). The fulfillment of this prophecy is described in Hebrews 10:5-10. There, the opening of the ear of the servant is interpreted as the preparation of His human body “to do thy will, O God. . . . By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:7, 10). Out of love for the Father and for those who would share the Father’s house with Him, He offered His body to accomplish the saving will of God. HMM
He was most anxious that they should be united in eager zeal for the spread of the gospel, and present a bold front to their persecutors. Men call the courage of the saints obstinacy, and reckon them to be hardened heretics; but such boldness is to believers a token of divine favour.
Philippians 1:29, 30
It would cheer the Philippian saints to remember that they suffered in good company, and were comrades with the apostle himself. Glad enough may we be to be ridiculed for Jesus sake, since we are thereby made partakers with the noble army of martyrs.
Philippians 2:1, 2
How urgently he pleads! How he multiplies expressions! Love among Christians is so precious that he begs for it as if for his life. Be it ours never to fan the flames of party-feeling, but always to increase the holy affection of our Christian brethren.
Jesus is the divine example of love and self-denial, and as we hope to be saved by him we must diligently copy him. He is now exalted to the highest glory as the reward of his voluntary humiliation, and by the same means must his disciples rise to honour. We must stoop to conquer. He who is willing to be nothing shall be possessor of all things.
Philippians 2:12, 13
We work out what the Lord works in. The grace of God is not a reason for idleness, but for diligence. As both will and work are given us of God, let us will with firm resolution and work with dauntless perseverance; for so shall we fulfil the good pleasure of the Lord.
Philippians 2:14, 15
We cannot be blameless if we murmur and dispute, for such things naturally lead to sin. Our lights cannot shine if instead of trimming them we occupy ourselves with blowing out the lamps of others.
We do not wish to rob faithful ministers of the result of their labours, and yet we shall do so unless we join heartily with our brethren in spreading the gospel, and do our best to live in holiness and Christian love.
A woman named Lydia, of the city of Thyatira… whose heart the Lord opened. (Acts 16:14)
It is a beautiful New Testament story that tells us of Lydia of Philippi, a career woman in her own right, long before there were laws and proclamations to set women free.
A seller of purple, Lydia traveled to the market of her day, and undoubtedly she had found freedom and satisfaction in that era when women were not counted at all.
But Lydia heard the Apostle Paul tell of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the Lord opened her heart. In Christ she found an eternal answer, which career and position had never been able to give.
Now, about conditions today. Our society has set women free to be just as bad as the men—and just as miserable. We have set them free to swear and curse and to set their own morals. Politically, women are now free to vote just as blindly as the men do. But I hope women today will find what Lydia found: that their careers will lack the word “eternal” until they find their answer in the eternal Christ, our Lord Jesus!
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1Thess. 5:24
What will He do? He will sanctify us wholly. See the previous verse. He will carry on the work of purification till we are perfect in every part. He will preserve our whole spirit, and soul, and body, blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He will not allow us to fall from grace, nor come under the dominion of sin. What great favors are these! Well may we adore the giver of such unspeakable gifts.
Who will do this? The Lord who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, out of death in sin into eternal life in Christ Jesus. Only He can do this: such perfection and preservation can only come from the God of all grace.
Why will He do it? Because He is “faithful” — faithful to His own promise which is pledged to save the believer; faithful to His Son, whose reward it is that His people shall be presented to Him faultless; faithful to the work which He has commenced in us by our effectual calling. It is not their own faithfulness, but the Lord’s own faithfulness, on which the saints rely.
Come, my soul, here is a grand feast to begin a dull month with. There may be fogs without, but there should be sunshine within.