Now we're turning in our Bibles for our reading first of all to Judges chapter 6. I'm sure you're saying to yourself: 'He keeps telling us we've finished this book, and he keeps going back to it every week!'. Well, we have finished our character studies, looking at the individual Judges in the book of Judges - but you remember that the last two Sunday mornings I was ministering to you from two little glimpses into the historical situation that there was both spiritually and morally within Israel at this time of the Judges. What I feel led to do for you today is look at another character in the book of Judges, and that is 'The Angel of Jehovah'. We have seen Him already in a number of the little studies that we have done, but we're going to look at Him specifically not only in Judges but right throughout the Old Testament, and I believe it will be to our blessing and instruction.
Judges chapter 6 and verse 12, and this is the story, of course, of Gideon - Judges 6 and verse 12: "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valor. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites". Verse 21: "Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O LORD God! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face".
Then chapter 13 of Judges, and this is now the account of Samson the Judge. We'll read the first 23 verses: "And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name".
Then if we can go down to verse 13: "And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe. And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honor? And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God".
I don't know whether you've noticed, but in general there has been a revived interest in angels. New Age philosophy has been popularised, particularly on daytime television and through other media, and it is based on this idea that all of us as human creatures have guardian angels. The premise is that these angels can guide us, and they are used by the 'Divine' to answer our prayers and to protect us from day-to-day in our business. There are even things called 'angel cards', which are a bit like tarot cards, and these are used to divine through these angels, it is supposed, guidance from God. Indeed, I read of how on one occasion members were invited to a local diet and fitness club at their Christmas party that was held, incidentally, in a church hall. They had opportunity at this Christmas party to receive 'angel readings' at a special rate for Christmas of 5 pounds for 15 minutes. The person offering the readings was said to run, and I'm quoting: 'Monthly workshops to connect people to their angels'.
I know of one individual who received a letter from what was called 'The Angel Life Guild', informing them that you can get to know eleven of your angels from your angel family tree. They, among other things, are said to protect, bring health, riches, and power. All they had to do was send £22.25 pence, and they would find out who these eleven angels were, and they would receive personal messages from the angels! It is said that these angels have been waiting, from your birth, to get to know you. At the moment of destiny, 'when destiny planted your tree in the angel garden', these angels have been just waiting to wait on you from heaven.
This is New Age philosophy, and of course it fails to recognise that the Bible teaches us that there are such things called fallen angels, demonic spirits, and those angels don't always appear to be bad. Indeed, Paul tells us that we're not to marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light, therefore it's no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works. Demons can portray themselves in a positive light. This is occult in its purest form. I know of a person who gave a false name and a false birth date to this 'Angel Guild', but still his angel seemed to reveal all the secrets to him - but he said: 'What was interesting is that I only used this name to obtain information on angels, but I have also received to the same name and address a very similar offer, but this time using tarot cards. The price is the same, the offer boils down to the same information of having a successful future - one using angels, the other using tarot cards. Coincidence?', he says, 'I think not!'.
This, of course, is occultic divination. The dynamic behind tarot cards is the same dynamic behind this New Age angel-ology, and that is simply: demonic. Even among Christians today, particularly in charismatic circles, there is a great revived interest in angels. Billy Graham, though he is not charismatic of course, in 1975 published a book called: 'Angels, God's Secret Agents', and it was a runaway best-seller. Among hardcover books during 1975 it sold 810,000 copies by the year's end, despite that it was only published in October. The sales reached one million in January of the next year and, according to the publisher Doubleday, it is believed to be the first time a best-seller has hit the one million mark within four months. People are so interested in angels, even Christians.
Let me say that there is a great deal of error that is akin to occultism taught in charismatic circles regarding angels. But perhaps the most disturbing thing for me concerning it, whether it's in the secular New Age realm or in Christendom, is that often a misguided focus on angels takes our attention away from the Lord to His servants.
So I want to direct your attention back to the Lord of angels. Let us ask the first question: what is an angel? We must maintain that the Bible teaches that angels exist. The Hebrew word for 'angel' is the word 'malach', and the Greek word is 'angelos', which we derive our English word 'angel' from. It simply means 'a messenger', an angel is a messenger from God.
Now normally we link these messengers to that great heavenly host, that heavenly order of angels. Indeed, in one chapter, Genesis 32:1, we read that 'Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him' - the messengers of God. Yet in verse 3 of the same chapter we read: 'And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom'. The word is the same that is used for Jacob's messengers, his emissaries. So it can be used for these angelic beings in the host of heaven, these intelligent beings created by God that are employed as ministers of His providence and protectors of His people, but it also can be used of human beings who go with God's, or even another man's message - operating on behalf of another.
So there are supernatural beings called angels, and God has said to us as His children in Psalm 91 verse 11 that: 'He shall give his angels charge over us to keep us in all his ways'. So everyone does not have a guardian angel, or even guardian angels, but only the saints of God have angels to guard them. We see also that it's not just these supernatural beings, but this messenger can be a human. On the other hand there is an Angel that we read of right throughout the whole of the Scriptures, or better 'The Messenger of Jehovah' He is called, and He appears in the Bible to stand in a class all of His own. Not one of this great heavenly host of myriad upon myriad of angels, or not just simply a human messenger, even though He appears as a man at times, but He seems to be different, unique.
So we need to ask the question, not just what is an angel, but who is this Angel of Jehovah? Well, here's how He appears first of all within the Scriptures: He seems always to take the persona of a divine being. What do I mean? Well, He is not angelic in nature, but He seems to be God - for when He is addressed on occasion, you can see it in the portions that we read this morning, He is often called 'Jehovah', 'I AM', 'Elohim', which is the name of the Creator God. We saw in Judges 6 and verse 13 that: 'Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord'. In verse 18, 'Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again', so he brought his offering to Him as if He was the Lord. In verse 21 we read that he gave the offering to the Angel as if He were the Lord, and in verse 22 he realised he had seen the Angel of the Lord face-to-face, and he said: 'Alas, O LORD God!'.
In this particular instance of Gideon giving the offering to God through the Angel, we see that the Angel accepted the offering of worship as the Lord. Now we know that angels are not allowed to do that, they are prohibited. In Revelation 22 we read that John, with an angel, heard the things in the Revelation and saw them and 'fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed him these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God'. Yet Gideon worships and brings obeisance to this Angel. He is not simply one of the great heavenly host, He is accepting worship. So this Angel is not Gabriel, it is not the Archangel Michael, He is not one of the cherubim or the seraphim, He stands distinct on His own actually as a divine being - He accepts the worship of men.
Then secondly, a little bit to contrast that is the fact that He appears to be distinguished from God on occasions. He is Jehovah, and yet He is acting on behalf of another who is called Jehovah - He is the Messenger of Jehovah. John Walvoord, the former president of the Dallas Theological Seminary, lists four arguments to show that the Angel of Jehovah, the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament Scriptures is always a Christophany; that is a pre-incarnate appearance, visibly, of none other than our Lord Jesus Christ before He came to earth, the Lord Jesus appearing in this particular form.
Here are the four reasons. First of all, the second Person of the Trinity is the visible God of the New Testament. John 1 and verse 1 teaches us that 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God'. When God came, He came as a man, but it was the Word, the Word of God, His expression of Himself, that was the way He manifested Himself through the second Person. Hebrews 1:3 tells us that that second Person was 'the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, who upheld all things by the word of his power'. So it's no surprise to us, at least it ought not to be so, that in the Old Testament when God revealed Himself in a visible form through the Angel of Jehovah, we believe it to be the Lord Jesus Himself.
The second reason is that the Angel of Jehovah in the Old Testament no longer appears after the incarnation of the Lord Jesus, after His birth. Now you might say: 'Well, who then is the angel of the Lord in the nativity scene?'. Well, that is Gabriel, the Gospel writers make clear who it is. So after the Lord comes in flesh, the Word takes flesh and dwells among us, the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament capacity is never mentioned again.
Then thirdly, Walvoord says that both the Angel of Jehovah and Christ are sent by the Father. That's what we find in the second Person of the Trinity: the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, and this Angel is the Messenger of Jehovah come from the Father. Then fourthly he tells us that the Angel of Jehovah could not be either Father or Spirit, for the Bible teaches us that they are invisible to man, but this One has been seen by mankind. This One is, to sum it all up, the Divine Messenger with the divine message, who is divine in Himself, for He is none other than the pre-existent Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul said in Romans 15: 'Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and comfort we have hope'. We were thinking even this morning around the Lord's Table, Hebrews 13 verse 8 - the Lord Jesus Christ is what? The same yesterday, and today, and forever. Therefore, whatever we learn from the Angel of Jehovah in the Old Testament Scriptures, we can still apply to our Lord Jesus Christ who is with us today by His Spirit. This has been a tremendous encouragement to me, and so I want us to look this morning in the time that remains at what was His ministry, the Angel of Jehovah - and therefore, what is His ministry to us today as the Lord Jesus Christ?
He is bringing messages from God, what are the messages that He brought from God? To whom does He bring them? In what circumstances? How can we apply these things to our lives today? Well, someone has said, in conjecture of course, that they believe that angels move from one end of the earth to the other, a bit like our thoughts move from one thing to another. You can go from here to New York, if you've been there, in your thoughts in an instant. Well, I don't know whether that's true or not, but I want your thoughts to take flight for a few moments. I want you to come with me and visit the scenes that the Old Testament gives us of this One, the Angel of Jehovah, His message and those to whom He brings it.
Come with me first of all to the barren wilderness, to a fountain by the way of Shur. By that fountain there is an outcast, a woman who is with child. She is on her way from Canaan back home to the land of Egypt, her name is Hagar. We read in Genesis 16:10 that 'the angel of the LORD said unto Hagar, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude'. Now this is a great time of distress in Hagar's life. Abraham's wife had given Hagar, her handmaid, to Abraham to bear a child because she was barren in her own womb. Immediately it was known that she was with child, she became jealous and vindictive, and cast Hagar out of the home. But whilst Hagar is cast off of men and women, even men and women of God, the Angel of Jehovah comes to her in her predicament and promises Hagar to multiply her seeds through Ishmael in his descendants.
Then in verse 13 we read that she acknowledges this angel as 'El-Rohi', that is 'the God who sees'. Now Proverbs chapter 15 verse 3 tells us that 'The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding evil and good'. Only the Lord is omniscient, all-knowing and all-seeing. Now later on in the book of Genesis, chapter 21, we find that the Angel appears a second time to Hagar for she is cast out once again. This is the final time, and she is cast out with her child now born, Ishmael, into the wilderness. She had a little canteen of water and it has now run out, and now the Angel of the Lord comes and speaks, and tells her that the Lord has heard her cry. Incidentally the name 'Ishmael' means 'God hears'. Here is the Angel of the Lord coming to the help of one who is destitute - does He not do the same today?
Philippians tells us He does: 'My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Be anxious for nothing; but by all things in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests made known to God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus'. Am I speaking to one who is destitute, one who is an outcast? Maybe even an outcast to the people of God - isn't it wonderful that our Lord Jesus Christ still comes to outcasts as He did as the Angel of Jehovah, as He did to the man of Galilee who touched the lepers, and as He is doing in grace to men and women all around us. He is the one whose ministry is to help the outcasts, to help the destitute.
Travel with me again, this time up Mount Moriah. Some believe that this is the place where the temple was built, and subsequently the very place where our Lord Jesus was crucified for our sins. But I want you to see there, Abraham - and in Genesis 22 God told Abraham to take his son, his only son, up that Mount, and to build an altar and to there slay him unto the Lord. Genesis 22 and verse 10: 'And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me'. We read further: 'And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen'.
Now we see clearly that Abraham addressed this Angel as 'the Lord'. In verse 11, verse 14, verse 15 He is called 'Jehovahjireh', 'The LORD my provider'. Here we see Him providing a substitute for the salvation of Isaac, and praise God the Angel of Jehovah still provides a substitute - He has provided Himself a Lamb - but what is this to us today? It is provision for the desperate. The Angel of Jehovah not only brings help for the destitute, but provision for the desperate. He provided a lamb for Abraham, He provided a Lamb for us in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Romans 8 tells us that if He has offered up Himself, 'He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?'. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever - He's still providing for the desperate, isn't that wonderful?
Now come with me again, this time to Egypt, and hear the cry of the Israelites under the lash of their Egyptian oppressors. Then move from Egypt, and come with me to the backside of the Midianite desert, and see there Moses - out of the palace now for many years - shepherding his father-in-law's flock. He reaches the Mount of God, the Bible says, Horeb; and there he spies a strange phenomenon, so much so that he stops to look at it. In Exodus 3 we read these words: 'The angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God'.
The Angel of the Lord appeared unto Moses, why? For the purpose of delivering the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Hallelujah, the Angel of the Lord in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ still is delivering people from bondage! Those that are without Christ, without hope, and those still who are in Christ but have become bound with some sin, some temptation. Praise God, He is the same today as He ever has been! As He said in John 8:36: 'If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed'.
Come with me again to the wilderness, this time to see the children of Israel wandering they know not where. This time a little girl, if you can imagine this, looks out the front door of her tent and says: 'Mummy, Daddy, there it is, the pillar of fire', she says at night, 'the pillar of cloud', she says by day. Do you ever wonder what that pillar of cloud and fire was? Exodus 13:21 tells us: 'The LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night'. 'The LORD', it says, 'went before them', yet in Exodus 14:19 it says, 'The angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them'. This was the Angel of Jehovah, and what's He doing? He's giving direction to the disorientated. They don't know where they're going, they're wandering in sin.
Paul gives us the clue to this, he says in 1 Corinthians 10: 'And they all drank the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ'. Are you looking for direction this morning? I don't know where you're going in life or in the Christian pilgrimage - do you know what you need to do? What Hebrews tells us: 'Seeing we are compassed with such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith'. That's all the Israelites did, they looked unto Jesus - that's where we get guidance! O pilgrim bound for the heavenly land, never lose sight of Jesus!
Help for the destitute, provision for the desperate, deliverance from bondage, direction for the disorientated. Now come with me to an oak in Ophrah, under which sits this Angel. This is the Angel who will go to speak to Gideon, and call him a mighty man of valour as he threshes wheat behind the winepress, hiding from the Midianites. In Judges 6 He comes to him as Jehovah-Shalom, the Angel comes to Gideon as Jehovah-Shalom and pronounces a blessing upon him. What's He doing? He's bringing peace to the disturbed! Just like the Lord Jesus did, where it's recorded in Matthew 11, when He said: 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'. Isn't He wonderful? He's still giving peace to the disturbed. What are you disturbed about today? You need the Lord Jesus, the One who was the Angel of Jehovah, the One who is Jesus of Nazareth, and the One who is now the Lord of Glory, exalted and given a high place above every other place.
Come with me once again to Babylon, it's the famed city of the hundred brass gates. Its walls are as broad at the top as the streets are wide round about it, and there are three young men that are cast into a fiery furnace because they refuse to bow to Nebuchadnezzar's image. We read in Daniel chapter 3: 'Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God'. Then Daniel 3 and verse 25 says: 'He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God'. God has sent His Angel, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!
That was preservation from danger. What danger are you in today? Health, loss of wealth? My friend, go to the palace again and see the gate open, and Darius the King run under the cover of night, making his way to the den of execution. Watch as he stands and quietly shouts down: 'O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt'. Praise God, the Lord Jesus is still shutting the mouths of lions, preserving His people from danger.
Follow with me again as we chase the bedraggled prophet of God and after a day's journey in the desert he falls under a juniper tree, he curses his life, and then he falls asleep through exhaustion brought on by his depression. Then this Angel appears, and we read in 1 Kings 19: 'as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee'. Has the journey become too great for you? You know what I'm talking about. Well, here's the One who lifts the depressed. I love Psalm 3 verse 3: 'Thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head'. 'Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved'.
Come with me again to the prophet standing, in his own mind, before the Angel, this Angel. There is Joshua the High Priest in filthy garments, and Satan is at his right hand - Zechariah chapter 3 - and he is accusing Joshua of sin and iniquity and failure. We read in Zechariah 3 verse 1 that the prophet saw: 'Joshua standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him', and in verse 4, 'And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment'. This Angel was able to give cleansing for depravity. Isn't it wonderful? Because this Angel is the One who said: 'Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God'. This is the One who had not the nature of angels, but as a Messenger of God above the angels, Hebrews said, 'Took not on him the nature of angels, but took upon him the seed of Abraham'. Who is this One? Hebrews 2:9: 'We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man'. That's why He can cleanse us from depravity, because this blessed Messenger of the covenant took flesh and blood and died on the cross to purge away all our sins. Have you known that?
Then, if I could leave with you two facts. He's the help for the destitute, provision for the desperate, deliverance from bondage, direction for the disorientated. He is peace to the disturbed, preservation from danger. He lifts up the depressed, He cleansed the depraved - but He's also the defence for the threatened. Psalm 34 verse 7 tells us: 'The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them'. Listen: if you've got the Angel of the Lord, the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, He encamps round about you. In fact, on one occasion He slew 185,000 Assyrians in defence of His own people in one night! He surrounds them, 'He pitches His tent' it literally means, He encamps about them, He forms a circle on all sides! This is the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ - a defence for the threatened.
What are you threatened by? I can't even start, it could be one of 100 million things, but praise God: there is One who can protect you. Spurgeon in his 'Faith's Cheque-book', the daily readings, says: 'We cannot see the angels, but it is enough that they can see us. There is one great Angel of the Covenant, whom not having seen we love, and His eye is always upon us both day and night. He has a host of holy ones under Him, and He causes these to be watchers over His saints and to guard them from all ill. If devils do us mischief, shining ones do us service. Note that the LORD of angels does not come and go and pay us transient visits, but He and His armies encamp around us. The headquarters of the army of salvation is where those live whose trust is in the living God. This camp surrounds the faithful so that they cannot be attacked from any quarter unless the adversary can break through the entrenchments of the LORD of angels. We have a fixed protection, a permanent watch. Sentineled by the messengers of God, we shall not be surprised by sudden assaults nor swallowed up by overwhelming forces. Deliverance is promised in this verse - deliverance by the great Captain of our salvation, and that deliverance we shall obtain again and again until our warfare is accomplished and we exchange the field of conflict for the home of rest'. 'He encampeth' around those that fear Him!
Not only does he bring defence for the threatened, but sympathy for the distressed. This is a lovely verse, Isaiah 63:9: 'In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them' - the Angel of His presence being the Angel of the LORD, touched with the feelings of their infirmity. How tender are these words: He loved them, He redeemed them, He pitied them, and He carried them - and He actually entered into the suffering of His own people.
Isn't it wonderful that the Lord Jesus has not changed? He still helps the destitute, He still provides for the desperate, He still delivers those in bondage, He still directs those who are disorientated, He still brings peace to the disturbed, He still preserves us from danger, He still lifts up the depressed, cleanses the depraved, defends the threatened, and sympathises with the distressed. 'For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need'.
What is your need? What is your need? The Angel of Jehovah who met their need is the Lord Jesus Christ who meets our need - the same yesterday, today, and forever.
'Oh, glorious face of beauty,
Oh gentle touch of care;
If here it is so blessed,
What will it be up there?'.
O Father, we pray that we would see His face, that we would hear His voice, that we would feel His touch - that One who was Your Messenger, the Angel of Jehovah, the One who is Your Son, the Word of God who came in human flesh, the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, the One who said to Manoah: 'Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is wonderful?'. Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace - may we know Your touch, whatever our need. Amen.
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This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the nineteenth recording in his 'Men For The Hour' series, entitled "The Angel Of Jehovah" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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