We have a God who encourages us. He is One who “knows how we are formed,” and “remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14 NIV). Therefore He has compassion on us. He makes His compassion known by giving us encouragement. It comes in a variety of ways. A timely word, a needed financial help, a long awaited answer to prayer are all ways through which God encourages. His encouragement is also very real when we reel under temptation.
There is no doubt that we need encouragement from God to overcome temptation. One way to be encouraged is to see what happens when we resist the devil. The Bible does not speak much about this. Yet there are two lovely little sketches that reveals to us the ministry of angels in this regard.
The first reference is found in Matthew 4:11. Here it says, “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” The second reference is found in Luke 22:43. It says, “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”
In these two sketches we find the ministry of angels when we are tempted. In the first instance Jesus had destroyed all the temptations of the devil by quoting appropriate Scriptures. Thus He was victorious over temptation. And the devil left him. Then the angels came.
What a comforting thought. We often miss this point. Let this encourage us to fight more bravely in our battles. When we feel like giving in and giving up; let us think of the ministry of angels who come to us when we emerge victorious.
In the second instance we find Jesus in the midst of the battle. This was the greatest moment of all. Here the great decision was made–For us! Jesus decides not to bypass the cup of suffering. He bows to His Father’s will. All the agony He went through during that brief period of time is beyond our understanding altogether. The author of the Book of Hebrews tries to capture the intensity of Jesus’ agony (Ref. Hebrews 5:7–9). Luke further says that the anguish of Jesus was so great and the intensity of His prayer was such that His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. The agony was in making the final move towards the Cross.
In the midst of such agony we find an angel appearing to Jesus and strengthening Him!
Let us not lose sight of angels when we are caught in the midst of bloody struggles during temptation. They will come to strengthen us for God remembers that we are dust. He will show us compassion.
The knowledge that God sends angels to strengthen us is so comforting. They do come even when we are ready to give up our work for God because of discouragement. The best example of this is found in 1 Kings 19:1—9; where we find Elijah praying that he might die. This was because of discouragement.
But God did not leave him to die. In fact Elijah was taken directly to heaven without seeing death! But before that, while he had fallen asleep because of his tiredness and discouragement, God had sent an angel. And the angel touched him, woke him up and gave him food and drink. The angel did this for Elijah even a second time.
Such is the love and compassion that God shows His servants when they become discouraged. Perhaps you are struggling today because of discouragement. Maybe you are thinking of giving up. Wait. Angels are on their way. They will touch you and give you His strength!