God uses angels as instruments of blessing and judgment in the lives of unbelievers, but their primary ministry is to believers. While some people believe that every Christian has a guardian angel, there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that we are limited to receiving assistance from only one angel. Specifically, there are four ways that angels minister to us.
1. Angels sustain and encourage us (1 Kings 19: 5-7).
This is true especially in the realm of our physical needs and especially in times of stress.
If God has given angels the ability to afflict people physically and even cause death, it should be no surprise God also uses angels to sustain us, encourage us, and provide for us.
After forty days of fasting and relentless attacks by Satan in the desert, the angels came and ministered to Jesus (Matthew 4:11). We should not be surprised that angels will do the same for us, as well.
In 1 Kings 19, we see a great illustration of angel’s ability to sustain and encourage us. Elijah had just had the greatest victory of his life on Mt. Carmel over the prophets of Baal and, at God’s command, had killed those prophets who were responsible for the idolatry which was spreading like cancer throughout the land.
But Queen Jezebel had been humiliated because she had been the instigator of Baal worship in Israel and sent a message to Elijah that she planned to kill him
Elijah was exhausted after the emotionally and spiritually draining experience on Mt. Carmel, and he feared Jezebel. His fear led him to run 120 miles (1 Kings 19:4).
God knew that what his servant needed most was not Bible study or prayer time, but rest and food. And God used angels to provide them (1 Kings 19:5-7).
Not only did the angel provide food for Elijah, but God used the angel to provide encouragement to the discouraged prophet. The fact that God would send an angel was evidence that God was not through with him. God encourages us in the same way today.
2. Angels can reveal God’s will to us (Romans 8:14).
The Bible is God’s complete and final revelation. Every truth about God you need to know is revealed in His Word. God is not revealing any new truths or doctrines to anyone today. Jude 3 tells us that the faith has been once for all delivered to the saints.
Nevertheless, how does God reveal His specific will for our lives: our vocation, our choice of a mate, the church we should attend, and a dozen other choices? He uses His Spirit, but God also sometimes uses angels to reveal His will to us. One writer notes that:
- In Matthew 1:20-21 it was an angel that told Joseph to take Mary as his wife and Jesus as his own son.
- The women who came to the empty tomb were guided by an angel.
- An angel directed Phillip to go south to the road between Jerusalem and Gaza in Acts 8:26.
- In Acts 27 we have the account of Paul’s near-death experience on a ship. All the passengers thought they were about to die, but Paul encouraged them by saying that an angel had appeared to him and told him that he and the passengers would be spared.
Although it is not the norm, I believe God sometimes uses angels to reveal His plan for our lives.
We are not to call upon angels to appear, but we should not be surprised if God chooses to communicate to us through an angel. And we need to test any angelic revelation by its consistency with the immutable word of God.
3. Angels protect us from physical and spiritual harm (Psalm 91:11-13).
One of the primary duties of angels is to protect us. Sometimes that protection involves the deliverance from physical danger (Psalm 91:11-13).
Did you know that one of Satan’s strategies for your life is to take your life prematurely? That is why Jesus said in John 8:44 that Satan is a murderer.
If you are not yet a Christian, he wants to take your life before you have an opportunity to be saved. If you are a Christian, he wants to prematurely extinguish your witness for Christ.
Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that every Christian is involved in a death struggle, not against other people or circumstances, but against the unseen demonic forces of wickedness. Every day we feel the touch of demonic activity in our lives through depression, sickness, discouragement, and temptation.
And the Bible teaches that God uses His heavenly army of angels to intervene on our behalf.
Though invisible, the world of angels is real. We are surrounded by angelic forces that encourage us, sustain us, and minister to us in life and in death.