Theophany: The Angel of the Lord...So What?!?

  • Tuesday, August 9, 2011

  • -Sunday Recap-

    We have arrived at the end of our summer study together on the various appearances of the “Angel of the Lord” throughout scripture. Each appearance, each ‘theophany’, has been given to us for a reason. (All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; [2Tim. 3:16]). What are we to do with these appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ? What is the ‘take-away’? In short, “so what?”

    As we remember the people and places at which each theophany occurred, we are reminded of aspects of the very nature of God…

    For Hagar, He is… The God who sees

    …God saw Hagar [Gen 16], fleeing from Sarah after being thrown out of the house. The angel of God calls to her, comforts her, and promises that she will give birth to a son whom she will name “Ishamel” which means “God hears”… Grace for the ordinary

    For Sarah, He is… The God who delivers

    …God heard Sarah laugh [Gen 18] as the angel of the Lord promised Abraham that the two of them would, in their old age, bear a son. This son would be the son of an incredible promise… Sustaining Faith in the Promise

    For Ishmael, He is… The God who hears

    …God hears the baby crying [Gen 21] and rescues the infant Ishamel keeping the promise that he would father a great nation…

    For Isaac, He is… The God who provides

    …Abraham is asked of God to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a test of faith [Gen 22]. God spares Isaac by providing a substitute

    For Jacob, He is… The God who wrestles

    …Jacob wrestles with ‘a man’ throughout the night [Gen 32] and Jacob does prevail, but his walk is never the same… Losing to Win

    For Moses, He is… The God who waits

    …God appears in the burning bush [Ex 3], giving Moses a task to do, but only after Moses was in his forties and through much denial from Moses!... Not a need for greater self-image but a call for a greater God-image

    For Israel, He is… The God who abides

    …For years in the wilderness, God led His people as a “pillar of cloud by day… and a pillar of fire by night…” [Ex 13]. His people are… Never Alone

    For Balaam, He is… The God who blesses

    …The angel of the LORD stands in the way of Balaam [Num 22], unseen by him, but seen by his donkey, to prevent Balaam from cursing God’s people… Blessed and Never Cursed
    For Joshua, He is… The God who fights

    …God is with Joshua and the people of Israel as God fights battles on their behalf, such as at Jericho. The angel of the LORD reminds Joshua and the people of God’s deliverance and protection [Judges 2]

    For Gideon, He is… The God who enables

    …Gideon is to lead God’s people, but in a manner that relies upon God. The army is whittled down to 300 men in a series of interactions between Gideon and God… Power in Obedience

    So What? Why do we have these accounts? Let the writer of Hebrews remind us…

    And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [Heb 11:32-Heb 12:1]

    So What? The ultimate theophany, the ultimate meeting between Christ and His creation is Christ in us… the hope of glory!


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