Friday, January 2, 2009

Living like I've seen Angels

"Now when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt..." (Matthew 2:19)

We have here recorded the third visit Joseph received from an angel. He was visited by an angel before the birth of Christ to announce His coming and His name. He was visited after the birth of Christ to warn Joseph to escape to Egypt. And now here in this text he is visited yet again that he might be instructed to return to Israel and eventually to Galilee. What an incredible thing to have been so frequently the host of these heavenly heralds!

Visits from angels were rare. To the mother of Sampson an angel appeared twice, but the Scriptures say "the Angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and his wife". And it would seem for them that twice was enough, for Manoah exclaimed "We shall surely die, because we have seen God!" (Judges 13:22). Elijah was visited twice. "And the angel of the Lord came back the second time..." (I Kings 19:7). Elijah was later instructed by the voice of an angel, but we know not if an angel actually "appeared".

But Joseph actually saw an angel at least 3 times in his life. I wonder how one lives who has visibly seen a glimpse of the spiritual kingdom all around us? I wonder what kind of perspective one has who has looked behind the veil of our material world and caught sight God's eternal realities which are otherwise dimmed by the shadows of our own unbelief. It is interesting to me that we read no more of Joseph. My own suspicion is that the world could not bear with him much longer after this. He lived in the world, but did not belong to this world.

What about me? Do I require a visit from heaven to make me live a less worldly life? Are not these testimonies from Scripture sufficient to satisfy my soul and set my mind on the things above? We walk by faith and not by sight. But alas, far too often my life appears to operate on far too low a plain. And I have no excuse. I have received far better than any angel appearance, for I have a Christ who dwells in me by His spirit, a Savior who has promised to never leave or forsake me, a God to Whom I have access always in prayer, and the Word which is a most visible testimony of God's work and which I have daily in my possession.

Oh my soul, obey the Word of God and you will live like you have seen an angel! Stay near to God in prayer and you will have even better than any seraphic visitation could supply. Look unto Christ and you will have more help than even the highest heavenly host could provide. Joseph was a mere carpenter from Bethlehem...but I bet he lived like a child of the king! His hand held a hammer, but heaven held his heart. Live like him, and you too will live like you have seen angels!

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