May 21, 2023 – To the Rescue
Have you ever heard of an angel protecting someone in an accident? Do angels actually intervene in life’s circumstances? God’s Word speaks of these majestic and powerful spiritual beings, sent by God to protect and rescue.
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. 6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. 11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
Do you have a story of a “mysterious stranger” who helped, rescued, or protected you or someone you know?
We learn a great deal about angels from this story about Peter in prison.
1) The activity of angels, to protect and rescue, is often borne out of what in verse 5?
2) People are no match for angels. How do we know that from verses 6 and 10? Recall in Isaiah 37 when the Assyrian army was marching through the Promised Land, devouring everything in its path, and was at Jerusalem’s doorstep. God sent one angel to take care of the situation. Why are people no match for angels?
3) What happened to the two chains restraining Peter? How about the locked gate? From that, we learn angelic rescue may involve restraints and obstacles just dropping away. Will it always be as obvious as it was to Peter? What might that look like, where you might not even know?
4) Peter didn’t know that what was happening was angelic activity. What does he think is going on in verse 9? We learn, that we don’t always know when it is angelic activity.
5) We don’t always know if something is angelic activity or not. When it is, who sends them in verse 7? Why is this important?
Who is the one angel that went out on his own, and enticed several other angels to follow his lead? What did that mean for humanity? What did that mean for the fallen angels?
There is a common misconception about angels. We don’t become angels. Angels are a separate creation. We will be glorified one day in the new heavens and new earth, but we don’t become angels. Why do you think people have this misconception?
For every angelic rescue or deliverance, there are millions of other times when no angel showed up. What do you do with that? It makes some people question what God is doing, or does he even care. What do you know about how God cares for you?
Even knowing all this… it’s still hard when the angels don’t stop something bad. If you believe God loves you and has the power, if you believe he can and sometimes does send his angels, why didn’t he _____________? How would you fill in the blank?
At some point, this becomes a trust issue. Do you trust God will use his power appropriately? Do you trust God to send his angels at the right time?
If you’re struggling with that, God calls you back to Jesus. When you are struggling to figure out why God didn’t send his angels to protect you, spend some time thinking about how God did not send his angels to protect Jesus either, from the brutality of the cross. He could have. Remember, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus said he could call down twelve legions of angels to intervene? Why didn’t God intervene? Why doesn’t God always intervene by sending his guardian angels into your life?
There will come a day when that will no longer be the case. On the Last Day, the Lord will come, with his angels in full force, for our final rescue and deliverance. What hope does that give you for today?