Even mainstream culture has a cyclical fascination with angels and angelic beings. Growing up we watched Touched by An Angel as a family. Nicholas Cage had that strange movie about being an angel wearing a trench coat. People buy angel figurines and necklaces for each other as symbols of affection and protection. There is talk of guardian angels even among those who would not call themselves religious.
It is no wonder that angelic beings make us wonder. The reality that an unseen realm exists right alongside our material universe has staying power. Even in our age of materialism when what is real is that which can be measured, prodded, dissected, and recorded, people are loathe to let go of the idea that angels walk and move and serve among us.
While there is much to say about the less visible though no less real realms, my heart has been thinking about what makes the angels wonder.
The Scriptures flat out tell us that, just as we are intrigued and wonder about angels, they are intrigued and wonder at us. Well, to be more specific, they peer from their lofty perches in the unseen realm and wonder at the salvation God has purchased for us.
We, who were intended to be the crown of God’s incredible creation, had quite a tumbling fall. Angels are not unaware of such ignoble falls. After all, the lead angel of light was swept out of the heavens for desiring more power and more prominence than the God under whose authority he was to serve (see Luke 10:18). They know all too well the corruptibility of God’s creation.
They wonder not at our disobedience, but at the incredible condescension of God who stooped to save us, who died that he might once again delight in us.
The Apostle Peter, writing to a beleaguered and bruised, suffering people, sought to remind his tired flock of the incredible wealth they had received in the gospel. He employed the wonder of the angels to that end.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look (1 Peter 1:10–12, emphasis mine).
The angels stand in awe and wonder at the salvation God has secured for us. While we wonder about angels, angels wonder at our purchased place in the kingdom of God.
As a group of ladies and I have been studying the book of Acts, the angels that keep popping into the story for a brief act of helping obedience have stood out to me. They seem to be a funny flock, those angels. They remind me of Navy Seals, prepared and trained to the nth degree. Ready to step in for their crucial service of obedience to help a bungling group of human believers who are seeking to clumsily advance God’s rule and reign on this earth. They pop in, do their role, and peace out as quickly as they came. No agents, no publicity stunts, just unadulterated obedience and service to God.
Angels don’t need agents.
They don’t crave publicity.
They operate in obedience,
Do His bidding in simplicity.
In compassionate condescension,
They buoy beleaguered belief,
Propping up pallor believers,
Bringing resurrection relief.
Sitting on the Savior’s tomb,
Wondering at what He’d done,
Ushering astonished disciples
When the gospel had begun.
Angels follows order exactly,
With God-empowered precision,
Yet they wonder at salvation,
At God’s unthinkable decision.
We know aspects of Adonai
They’ll never understand.
As recipients of redemption,
In God’s great grace we stand.
We were made lower than angels,
Yet, for our souls, Christ came.
As His resurrection lifts us up,
A wonderful salvation we claim.
We stand in a place of redemption that causes angels to wonder. Perhaps we would do well to join them in their wonder at all God has done on our behalf.