“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” – Hebrews 1:14
The last couple of weeks I’ve written about the mistake of worshiping or praying to the wrong person.* The fact that God is invisible can make it harder for us to talk to Him, ask for His help, and believe we will receive it. The fact that He’s the King of the universe makes it hard to imagine He’d be interested in the needs and problems of a mere mortal, so we look for someone we think is closer to Him (“godlier”) and yet can relate to us – a kind of go-between to “put in a good word for us.” But these human beings, however holy they seem to be or to have been, do not qualify to receive and answer our prayers.
The Bible is clear; people are just people – like us.
Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew her need for a Savior. She was called “blessed,” but Jesus said the way to be “blessed,” was by hearing and obeying His Word. When you consider this, it is a marvelous truth! What God did in the lives of people like Mary and Peter and Paul, He could do in our lives, as well – maybe more!
I hope it’s clear to you that we’re better off not praying to or worshiping our mortal peers, both those living among us today and those who have passed on and are in heaven. But what about supernatural beings? What about angels?
Most Christians are aware that we are forbidden to engage in occult practices. But unlike witches or wizards or genies in a bottle, angels are on God’s side … Right?
First, we need to understand what exactly angels are. When angels appeared in the Bible, usually the first thing they say is, “Fear not.” Apparently, these beings are alarming and intimidating, contrary to the way they’re often depicted as cute, chubby babies with wings or beautiful women in the window of a lingerie shop. (As the kids would say, “Give me a break.”)
Angels are mighty warriors. The book of II Kings tells about the time one angel went into the enemy’s camp and killed 185,00 of Israel’s enemies in a single night! Clearly, angels are powerful and able to help God’s people in distress.
But the Bible teaches that angels are God’s servants that He sends to do His bidding – exactly the reason it would be futile to pray to them. An angel of God will never do anything that isn’t God’s will, so don’t even ask.
Besides, why ask a servant when you can go directly to the top? Jesus taught His followers not only that we could pray directly to God, but that we were to call Him “Father.” The word originally used was “Abba,” or “Daddy.”
Nowhere in Scripture is there any indication that we are to seek angels out. In the biblical accounts, God has either sent an angel with a message or with help in answer to the prayers of men (and women). But the prayers were directed at God, and He answered. As I admonished in my last post, don’t worship the messenger – even if the messenger is impressive and intimidating.
The apostle John was visited by an angel who gave him a panoramic view of the future, which he wrote down as the book of Revelation. At the end of this marvelous message, John wrote:
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things, and when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”-
So, there it is. Angels are our fellow servants. They may be more powerful than we are now, but we the redeemed of God have a more privileged position, like a little child among the household servants. We will someday take our place in heaven with Him in our glorified bodies. (Jesus said we would be “like the angels.”) Paul wrote, someday we will even judge angels. (I Corinthians 6:3) More about that next week.
To me the most endearing photo of John F. Kennedy is the one where he, the President of the United States and leader of the free world, is at work in the Oval Office, while his son, John Kennedy Junior – “John-John” – is playing under his desk. While heads of state, world leaders, diplomats, and other dignitaries had to go through many channels and often wait days or weeks for a meeting with the President, John-John had access to his daddy at any time.
We who follow Jesus are even more privileged than that! Just think, the Creator, who designed everything from the atom to the galaxies, is available to hear our prayers. It might be hard to wrap our minds around the fact that every one of the 8 billion people in the world were created by God and are known by God, but it’s true. He is infinite wisdom, power, and love. And He cares about us! Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re not important enough to talk directly to God, that the One who rules the world doesn’t have time for your problems and concern. He does – He created time.
But just as President Kennedy wasn’t available to all people equally, not everyone is in the privileged position of God’s child. “We are all God’s children” may be true in the sense that we are all His creation. But to be adopted into His family and to have that kind of access to Him in prayer, one must have the special relationship of a son or daughter with a dad.
If you don’t know whether you have that relationship, there is a way to become His son or daughter, to be the child He delights in.
First, acknowledge your sin. How do I know you have sinned? The Bible says, “ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) So, that includes you and me.
Realize that “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) This means spiritual death – being separated from God forever. He is holy, and sin makes us unfit for His kingdom.
(That’s the bad news. Here’s the “good news” – the gospel!) When Jesus Christ willingly died on the cross, a death He didn’t deserve, He was taking the punishment for our sins. If we believe that, and if we put our faith in Him as our Savior, our sins are paid for! Now we are clean and fit for His kingdom, and when we die, we get to spend eternity with Him instead of separated from Him.
To prove the reality of the Resurrection, Jesus rose from the grave on the third day. As incredible as this is, His resurrection is one of the most well documented events in ancient history, verified by many eyewitnesses, who were willing to go to their deaths rather than deny that Jesus is alive!
Believing on Jesus does not make us automatically live a sinless life. We are fallen creatures, and as long as we are in this fallen world, we will not be perfect. But Jesus promised His followers that the Holy Spirit would come to live in us, and with His help, we can say “no” to sin and “yes” to God. Our lives will be transformed. Sometimes this transformation is sudden and startling to those around us. Other times it’s a gradual change. But we will find that when we are serving the living God, we are no longer slaves to our sin. And we have daily access to our heavenly Daddy. No need to go through other channels; all we have to do is say His name.
Prayer: Daddy God, thank You for giving us direct access to Your throne room any time we are willing to come. We have not been willing often enough! Forgive our foolishness, as we come to You now, without anything or anyone coming between us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.