Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Angels Watching Amazed and Startled

Ephesians 3:8-10 NASB

8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,

9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;

10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

Devotional based on Ray Stedman's teaching on "Secret Riches".

The Apostle says that his ministry had the effect of demonstrating a unique wisdom. This is to go on now, while the church is being formed. It is a revelation in which these "rulers and authorities" are learning something by observing the church. This is one of the instances in which Scripture clearly states that we are surrounded by an invisible spiritual kingdom made up both of demons and angels. In Ephesians 6 Paul says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (v. 12). But we also learn from other passages that angels are watching us. It is as if we are on stage in a great theater, with the angels gathered around in many rows. Angels are watching and learning.

The revelation of the mystery is essentially the revelation of the love of God—in ways that make the angels amazed and startled as they learn the tremendous secrets of God's love. This is why Peter says in his first letter that our salvation is so tremendous that the angels longed to look into these things.

The word translated manifold here is literally the "many-colored wisdom of God." Why did the apostle choose this poetic adjective? It is because life consists of many colors. We all have blue days. And red hours of anger and passion. And golden moments of glory. And dark, somber valleys through which we must pass. And lush, green pastures into which we are sometimes led. God's love is manifest in all of these hues of life. So when you go through a blue time, it is God's love that you are learning. When you go through a dark and pressured time, the love of God is being manifested there. You may not see it, but God knows how to make it clear. And even the joyful times are manifestations of the many-colored wisdom of God.

And as the angels watch us, they see us learn to trust God, to turn from our fears and to renew ourselves with divine strength, to draw upon God's great and mighty promises in the hour of pressure and danger. As they see this, their praise begins to ring out in amazement and wonder at a God—who is also able to find a way by which He can lavish His love upon the very ones who deserve His wrath. This makes the angels praise God. They glory, as Charles Wesley captured it in that great hymn that I love to sing: "'Tis mystery all, the Immortal died." Imagine that—the Immortal died! You never can completely solve the mystery of God's amazing love, manifested in the many-colored wisdom that leads us into the circumstances of our life. But it is this that edifies the angels and teaches the demons of the nature of the greatness of the God we serve.

How Cool Is That!

Picture by http://www.steppin-out.co.uk/lighting_and_special_effects.html

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