We are in the middle of considering Satan’s second temptation of Jesus. Last Monday, we looked at one of Satan’s tactics in the temptation: twisting Scripture. The tactic we examine today is his deception concerning the work of angels.
Satan knew well that to jump off the temple would be grievous sin on Jesus’ part. Jesus could jump off the temple (purposefully taking an extreme risk), said the devil, and the angels would bear Him up. The reality is that God would be sending His angels to help one who has transgressed His will; the angels would be acting contrary to the will of God, by helping one who has deliberately sinned against God.
But, according to Scripture, angels are sent to do God’s will. They are God’s messengers – this is the root idea of the word “angel” in both the Hebrew and Greek. As God’s messengers, God sent them (Ex. 33:2). These spiritual beings obeyed God’s commandments (Ps. 103:20).
The conclusion is that God would not send His angels to do that which He revealed He was not pleased to do. The angels only do what God is pleased to have them do. This is not to say that the angels could not or would not catch Jesus, if God so willed that. After all, when His captors came to take Him away in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to Peter (paraphrased): “put away your sword; do you not know that I could call down angels to defend me? But I will not, for then the Scriptures would not be fulfilled.” Nonetheless, to catch one who willingly plunges himself into danger is not the Father’s will, and therefore not the will of the angels whom He sends. Satan cleverly assigns to the angels in Psalm 91 a task which they would not do, thus adding to the deception of the temptation.
There is a word here, by way of application, about taking risks. We must evaluate our lives in this regard. Do we, in the sports we play, or the jobs we hold, place ourselves in dangerous positions? The Christian may never willfully expose himself to danger simply for the “thrill” of it. This is the thrill which is cultivated in our culture by video games, movies, and music. Instead, may it be, speaking reverently, our thrill, our delight, to follow God’s commandments in this area of life as well.