VIDEO The Purpose of Angels

And one [angel] cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah 6:3

Early in the history of Christianity, “catechesis” became the norm for instructing new believers in the faith. Catechisms were written in question-and-answer formats—teachers would ask a question and converts would repeat the memorized answer. The most famous catechism used for children and young believers was written between 1646 and 1647, the Westminster Shorter Catechism. The first question has become famous: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

Man’s purpose, along with all creation—including the angels—is to glorify God. Isaiah saw angels glorifying God in his vision (Isaiah 6:1-3), and John saw angels doing the same in his vision of heaven (Revelation 5:11-12). John reckoned the number of angels he saw as “ten thousand times ten thousand” or one hundred million. It was probably not meant to be an exact number, but it was John’s way of saying “too many to count”—the number of angels praising God in heaven.

Mankind and angels have the same eternal purpose: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Let earth and heaven combine, angels and men agree, to praise in songs divine the incarnate Deity. Charles Wesley


Holy, Holy, Holy! – Isaiah 6:1-8 – Skip Heitzig

Not Rushing Prayer

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Alice Kaholusuna recounts a story of how the Hawaiian people would sit outside their temples for a lengthy amount of time preparing themselves before entering in. Even after entering, they would creep to the altar to offer their prayers. Afterward, they would sit outside again for a long time to “breathe life” into their prayers. When missionaries came to the island, the Hawaiians sometimes considered their prayers odd. The missionaries would stand up, utter a few sentences, call them “prayer,” say amen, and be done with it. The Hawaiians described these prayers as “without breath.”

Alice’s story speaks of how God’s people may not always take the opportunity to “be still, and know” (Psalm 46:10). Make no mistake—God hears our prayers, whether they’re quick or slow. But often the pace of our lives mimics the pace of our hearts, and we need to allow ample time for God to speak into not only our lives but the lives of those around us. How many life-giving moments have we missed by rushing, saying amen, and being done with it?

We’re often impatient with everything from slow people to the slow lane in traffic. Yet, I believe God in His kindness says, “Be still. Breathe in and out. Go slow, and remember that I am God, your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” To do so is to know that God is God. To do so is to trust. To do so is to live.

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

Recall a time when you slowed down and listened to God in your prayer time. How did that feel? What actions can you put into place to still yourself in God’s presence and know Him?

Father, thank You for being my ever-present help in good times and bad. Give me the grace to be still and know that You’re God.

Read Praying with Confidence at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0712.

The Wisdom of Waiting on God

Psalm 130

During hard times, it’s easy to wonder why the Lord is taking so long to bring relief. Like the psalmist, we cry to God “out of the depths” for help (Psalm 130:1), but as time drags on, we may be tempted to take matters into our own hands. Believers, however, are not to operate as the world does, determining a course of action based on human reasoning or the example of others. Instead, our guidance is to come from God, and our hope is to be in His Word (Psalm 130:5-6).

It’s important that we cooperate with Him so the time spent waiting will prove productive and beneficial. God can use such “holding patterns” to reveal sinful behaviors or thinking and to develop new heart attitudes. Waiting can also provide an opportunity to deepen our trust and dependence on Him. And when we follow God’s timetable, He gives us the grace to endure difficult situations with confidence and peace. It’s a blessing to know we’re where God wants us and He’s promised to take care of us.

If you’re in God’s waiting room, remember that He is your hope—and in His time He will move you forward.

The Reverend God

“He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” (Psalm 111:9)

It is most interesting that the adjective “reverend” is used only this once in the entire King James Bible. And there it applies to God, not to any man!

However, the Hebrew word so translated in this verse (yârê’) occurs therein frequently, usually being translated (some 30 times) as “terrible.” The first time it is applied to God was by Moses. “Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible” (Deuteronomy 7:21). Note also Moses’ testimony in Deuteronomy 10:17: “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.”

For those who would deny or oppose Him, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). But God is also uniquely a God of love. He is a merciful and forgiving God; He is “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10) and of many other wonderful attributes.

“He looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth” (God is thus omnipresent). “He fashioneth their hearts alike” (He is omnipotent). “He considereth all their works” (He is omniscient) (Psalm 33:14-15).

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). If a person truly believes the first verse of the Bible, he should be able to believe all other verses in the Bible, no matter what men or devils can say to the contrary. Our God, who has also become our Redeemer and Savior, is “eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God” (1 Timothy 1:17).

He is indeed a God of many attributes. HMM

The Blessing of the Unoffended

Luke 7:18-35

JOHN the Baptist, a rugged, outdoor ascetic, found prison life depressing and sent to know whether Jesus really was the Messiah. Great men may know moods of doubt and despondency. Our Lord simply declared that His works proved His mission, then paid John fine tribute. Here, He declared, was no comfortable, fashionable court preacher but a real prophet, and that no greater man had arisen. Yet the humblest believer in the age of grace is greater, in point of privilege, than John who lived under law. The difference is in position, not a matter of moral worth.

Our Lord declared (Matt. 11:12) that the kingdom suffered violence, and the violent took it by force—comparing those who were pressing into the kingdom to soldiers storming a fortress. Verily, the things of God are not for loafers: we must be violently resolute if we are to press into the deeper things; we must be diligent to make our calling and election sure. Then He said John was the Elijah prophesied in Malachi 4:5-6. Meanwhile, the Pharisees were like spoiled children who could not be suited with any kind of preaching, the fasting of John or the feasting of Jesus. But wisdom is vindicated by her children—in the lives of her disciples, in that wise children receive truth in any garb, and in the sense that wisdom is proven by what she does, the results she produces.

A neglected verse in this account (Matt. 11:1-19; Luke 7:18-35) is verse 6 in Matthew and verse 23 in Luke: “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me.” John the Baptist had become offended in the Lord. Jesus was not doing things the way John had expected. He had prophesied a Messiah of flame and fire, and Jesus was merely going about doing good. How wide are the applications of this truth!

Believers often are tempted to pout regarding the Lord like those of Malachi’s day who said: “It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?” So men pray and do not receive, and, like Martha, when our Lord delayed His coming, they grow rebellious. Others are offended at hard doctrine like those in John 6:30ff., or because of persecution as in Matthew 13:21.

Mistaught Christians are grieved today because Christianity is not conquering the world but things are growing worse. But our Lord said it would be so. He is working His wonders still, as He did in John’s day, and is carrying out His plans just as He intended. We have misunderstood His method and mission and message. He will come one day as conquering King, but now the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the poor have the gospel preached to them. He would have us not to be offended (John 16:1), and if we love His law we shall not be offended (Ps. 119:165). Our Lord is carrying out His program on schedule time. Let us learn the beatitude of the unoffended.

The Original Quitters

They forgot what He had done, the wonderful works He had shown them.—Psalm 78:11

The psalm before us today begins by commanding us to listen: “My people, hear my instruction; listen to what I say” (Ps 78:1). You have only to read a few verses of this psalm to see that the psalmist, Asaph, is recalling the disobedience that characterized the Jews during their forty years’ wandering in the wilderness. Then a strange verse appears: “The Ephraimite archers turned back on the day of battle” (v. 9).

These Ephraimites were equipped with all they needed for warfare, but on the day of battle—that is, the first day of the fray—they “turned back.” Although well armed, in the moment of testing they were overcome by fear. Doubtless they paraded well and looked fine as they marched out to battle, but when they came face to face with the enemy, the only weapon they used was a cloud of dust as they retreated en masse—and in a hurry.

A preacher I once heard referred to the Ephraimites in this verse as “the original quitters.” What an indictment. The Ephraimites live on, you know; they are to be found in the rank and file of many a modern-day congregation. They look fine in church on Sunday mornings with a hymn book and a Bible in their hands, but let the hot rays of temptation beat upon them—and they run. They surrender to temptation because they have never learned how to surrender to God. When we surrender to God, then we need not surrender to anything else.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me clarify to myself whether I am surrendered or not. For I see that if I do not fall at Your feet, then I fall at the feet of things and circumstances. Show me at whose feet I am lying. For Your own name’s sake. Amen.

Further Study

Dn 1:1-21; Rm 6:13; Eph 6:13

How did Daniel resist the temptation to compromise?

What are the results of resisting temptation?

The Army’s Birthright

1 John 1:7

The Salvation Army was born not in cloister, nor in a drawing-room, but on a spiritual battlefield, at the penitent-form. And it has been nourished for spiritual conquests not upon speculative doctrines and fine spun verbal distinctions, but upon those great doctrines which can be wrought into, and worked out in, soul-satisfying experience.

One of the Army’s central doctrines and most valued and precious experience is that of heart-holiness. The bridge the Army throws across the impassable gulf which separates the sinner from the Savior, who pardons that He may purify, who saves that He may sanctify, rests upon these two abutments: the forgiveness of sins through simple, penitent, obedient faith in a crucified Redeemer, and the purifying of the heart and empowering of the soul through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Remove either of these abutments and the bridge falls. Preserve them in strength and a world of lost sinners can be confidently invited to come and be gloriously saved.

It is this holiness—the doctrine, the experience—that we Salvationists must maintain, else we shall betray our trust. We shall lose our birthright; we shall cease to be a spiritual power in the earth; our glory will depart. The souls with whom we are entrusted will grope in darkness and go elsewhere for soul nourishment and guidance. And while we may still have titles and ranks to bestow upon our children, we shall have no heritage of spiritual power, of burning love, of holy triumph to bequeath to them.

Our Lord still baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire. He has given us a standard. He has given us a doctrine, and He waits to give us an experience that shall incarnate both standard and doctrine in heavenly and all-conquering life.

A Chinese man got full salvation and his neighbors said: “There is no difference between him and the Book.” That should be said of you and me.

Samuel Logan Brengle, The Privilege of All Believers