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Tag Archives: archangels

High to Low

If you enjoy watching sporting events, it doesn’t take much for emotions to fluctuate between highs and lows.  Certain games are considered instant classics, known as back and forth affairs with momentum constantly changing.  Last Sunday’s National Football League playoff game between the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles is a perfect example, leaving most fans on the edge of their seats until the final play.  In the final minute, both teams seemed destined to advance to the next round.  A 43 yard field goal was the difference, at least until a late whistle nullified the game winning kick.  Minutes later the kick that counted was partially blocked, hit the left upright, then the cross bar before bouncing backward in the field of play.  In one of the strangest finishes ever, this game was the epitome of high to low.

Then it happened when Saul turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to the hill [Gibeah], behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came on him mightily, and he prophesied [under divine guidance] among them, 1 Samuel 10:9-10.

Prior to the creation of the earth, an archangel known as Lucifer was one of the highest ranking spiritual entities in heaven.  An Old Testament prophet highlights the beauty of this angel of song in Ezekiel 28.  The best way to encapsulate Lucifer’s appearance is imagine the most magnificent pipe organ in the world, able to hit any note with perfection.  Combine this talent with the most gorgeous gems in the universe, majestic wings and beauty beyond belief.  These qualities formed this amazing angelic being.  Yet, as God the Father revealed his plan for creation, mankind would be elevated to a higher status than angels.  This didn’t sit too well with Lucifer, mulling the details over with other angels.  The seeds of rebellion were sown during these discussions.  Thus, when the Lord asked for Lucifer’s support, Satan refused, kicked out of heaven in an instant, sent from the high as an archangel to a lowly demon on earth.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” James 4:6.

As a parent, the birth of our three children were some of the greatest days of my life.  In the days that followed, there were many firsts: crawling, talking and walking.  While raising children can be exhausting, the rewards and satisfaction was worth all the hard work, sweat and tears.  Yet, as children grow up, life can become a long emotional roller coaster going from high to low, low to high and back down again.  If you live for the moment, these waves of emotion will wear you out.  Perhaps, this may explain why Jesus wants his followers to live by faith, not by sight.  Sure, even strong believers wrestle with doubt, especially when the lows outnumber the highs.  Nonetheless, failures bring individuals closer to God via humility.  Meanwhile, the cocky are brought down to earth as God opposes the proud.  Thus, as you wait for the next ride, lean on God’s grace when you fall so you can appreciate the journey back up.

by Jay Mankus

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An Angel and The Shepherd

There are some amazing true stories in the Bible, especially those who encountered Jesus like a date with destiny.  However, I stumbled across a new one this morning, intriguing yet mysterious.  According to Genesis 48:15-16, Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, shares a story of 2 people who protected him.  On his deathbed, Israel briefly mentions a shepherd and angel, possibly one and the same.

Israel refers to God as his shepherd, safely leading, protecting and providing for him like the promise within Psalm 23:1-4.  In fact, one may go out on a limb, claiming that David’s words may have been part of oral tradition, a reminder of God’s provisions of his forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Either way, Israel clearly recognizes God’s providence over his life, delivering his family from starvation during the 7 year famine when his son Joseph becomes governor of Egypt.

The second character is more difficult to understand due to the lack of information in this passage.  An English teacher will look at the capital A in Genesis 48:16, suggesting that this angel is likely God.  However, theologians might conclude Moses wanted to include God’s head angel, possibly the archangel Gabriel or Michael.  Although it would be nice to know who Israel means, one thing is clear.  This angel saved him from Esau’s anger, being wronged by his Uncle Laban and guided Israel throughout his life like a guardian angel.  Thus, whether you or young or old, don’t forget about the God who serves as both an angel and shepherd.

by Jay Mankus

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