“The angel said, ‘Do not be afraid.’”
How the angels must watch the first day when that light reaches a new spot on this earth that God so loves – and the great wall of darkness is pushed back one tiny bit – and oh, the joy of being allowed to go with His message that first day. How can His people hold back from that joy while one corner remains unvisited by the Dayspring! (March 1895)
Scripture: Exodus 14:19; Judges 2:1; Luke 1:11; 1:28; Matthew 1:20
- What is the message of the angel in each of the above passages?
- How does each contribute to the preparation of the coming Messiah?
Meditation on Scripture
Of all the symbols of Christmas, angels are among the most appealing! Bejeweled, beribboned, bannered – the very word “angel” conjures images of heavenly beings with shimmering glittering wings, gauzy flowing robes of jewel-toned colors edged in gold; messages heralded with instrument and song. So compelling is our vision of angels that it is easy to overlook their very real, very significant role in history.
Specific accounts of angelic involvement in preparing men and women for God’s redemptive plan – as well as expediting that plan – are recorded hundreds of years before Christ’s birth! An “angel of the Lord” traveled before the Israelite army as they made their exodus out of Egypt; he served as a barricade between the armies of Egypt and Israel by night. Later in Canaan, under Joshua’s leadership, the angel rebuked the wayward Children of Israel, bringing them to the point of repentance as he reminded them of God’s covenant promise and protection.
As the long-awaited Plan drew nigh, angels prepared the hearts of the leading characters for their role in the unfolding drama. An angel prepared Zechariah that his aged wife Elizabeth would bear a son to “make ready a people” for the Lord.” The angel Gabriel prepared a young Mary that she would give birth to Jesus, “Son of the Most High.” An angel reassured a frightened Joseph that his betrothed was indeed a virgin, impregnated by Divine intention and supernatural means.
However miraculous, however spectacular the angels’ preparatory role in this great on-going drama spanning centuries never did they act as independents, taking it upon themselves to meddle in the affairs of fickle, faithless and fearful mankind. Always they acted as agents of the Divine and Holy God, carrying out His orders to implement the details of God’s grand purposes.
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