The Angel On Your Shoulder

Which angel on your shoulder are you listening too and obeying? In today’s sermon we take a look at the guardian angel that we should beware of and obey!

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In cartoons, and in some live shows, when a character has a serious decision to make, they are often shown having “shoulder angels”.  Typically there is a good angel and there is a bad angel.  Today I ask, which angel on your shoulder do you listen too?  Are you listening to the good angel on your shoulder or are you listening to the bad angel on your shoulder?  Which angel is your guide?  Which angel is your guardian angel?  I want to focus on the guardian angel that we should beware of and obey.  My key verse will come from out of Paul’s first letter to the people of Corinth.

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV

Our Guardian Angel first revealed to Israel

A couple of Sunday ago, I preached – Oh, Give Thanks to the Lord – and we read responsibly Exodus 23:14-22.  There were some scriptures that we read within that reading that I said I would have to preach about.  I am so excited to get around to preaching about those scriptures in my sermon today.

Paul, in our opening, mentions a Rock that the children of Israel had drank from in the days of Moses.  For us to understand who Paul was speaking about, we will have to go back to Exodus 23.  Specifically, I want us to take a look at this scripture:

20 “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.

Exodus 23:20 NKJV

Moses is speaking, but these are the words of the Lord.  God says to Israel, “I am sending an Angel before you to ‘keep you in the way'”.  Pay close attention to what is being said here.  You see, the Lord had been guiding Israel with by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night upon their exodus of Egypt (Ex. 13:21).  The Lord now says that He is sending to Israel a guardian angel but not just a common guardian angel.

Let us notice that the “A” in the New King James Version of this scripture has been capitalized.  There is a reason for the capitalization of that “A” in angel.  We are told in the next scripture that this Angel being sent before Israel has the Lord’s name in H

21 Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him.

Exodus 23:21 NKJV

This Angel is a different kind, right?  This Angel has the Lord’s name in Him.  This angel, in other words, has been given the Lord’s authority; He is supposed to keep them in the Lord’s way.  Again, pay very close attention to these scriptures.  This angel knows the way to the place that the Lord has prepared for the children of Israel in Moses’ day.  However, the children of Israel were not to provoke the Angel but obey this Angel! Why? The Angel had the power to not pardon the transgressions (sins) of the people.

I tell you that the characteristics of this Angel should sound very familiar to us.  This Angel sounds a whole lot like Jesus.  Remember, John said to us (John 1:1), that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  Then John also said (John 1:14) that the Word became flesh

Jesus said to the disciples (John 14:2-3), “I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself.”  The Promised Land, for the children of Israel, was a prepared place to which they were ultimately delivered.  The prepared and promised place for us, the genuine believers, is a heaven where sin will not be allowed.  Jesus is going to ultimately deliver us to that place just like the children of Israel was delivered to their Promised Land.

Let’s go a step further.  Jesus came into the world to teach the way of the Lord.  Who better to teach the way of the Lord than God in the flesh?  I want you to understand that the Angel that was spoken of in Exodus sounds like Jesus Christ because that Angel is Jesus Christ.  There are some that don’t believe the gospel appears in the Old Testament, but the book of Isaiah would defeat such arguments.  There are many people that like to argue that Jesus is not seen in the Old Testament but this scripture in Exodus begs to differ.

God was sending them what may call the “pre-incarnate Christ” to teach and keep them in the way of the Law.  The children of Israel was going to have the Lord as their guardian angel just as we have the Lord as our guardian angel today!  This much Paul actually writes in his first letter to the people of Corinth.

Paul says:

all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ

1 Corinthians 10:2-4 NKJV

Not just any common angel

Even back then, to make this clear, Jesus was serving in a role of being a guardian angel; He was watching, guiding, and keeping the children of Israel.  Jesus is still serving in a role of being our guardian angel.  Jesus sits on the right hand of the Lord watching, guiding, and keeping us day by day!  However, what I want to make very clear is that Jesus is not a common angel by any means.

The writer Hebrews wrote of the Son that the Lord sent in the time of his or her days.  The writer wrote that He (the Son) had the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person (Heb. 1:3).  The writer then writes that the Son (Jesus) had become so much better than the angels by inheritance

But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:

“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

Hebrews 1:6 NKJV

I present these scriptures to you today to illustrate the Angel that is our guardian is not a common angel.  I do not say this to belittle the angels because they are certainly fine beings in their own right as well.  Truly, they are magnificent and wonderfully made.  However, the common angels would sing praises to their Lord!  The angels are inferior

Scripture tells us (Luke 2:13-14) that when Christ (God in the flesh) was born that suddenly there were angels praising God saying, “Glory to God in the highest!”  You see, we have the Lord as our guardian angel!  We should beware of our guardian angel – which is to say we should always be on the lookout and ready to hear Him.  We should also be obedient

One of the main issues that we face today is that we stay too busy ignoring our guardian angel.  Our guardian angel could be telling us what not to do and we will ignore him to listen to that other angel on our shoulder.  Like the cartoons, there’s another angel on our shoulder but this angel is truly inferior to our guardian angel.  You see, this angel is the fallen angel – the devil.  The devil knows scripture, will paraphrase scripture and do his best to guide you but not in the direction you should want to go. The onus is on us not to heed advice from the fallen guardian angel.

An example through Israel

The Lord was Israel’s guardian angel yet they still managed to go in the wrong direction.  The reason being that some chose not to be obedient to the voice of the Angel.  Let’s look some more at what Paul tells us they did.

Paul initially tells us that they fell into lust and ended up lusting after evil things.

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.

1 Corinthians 10:6 NKJV

Again, you guardian Angel (the Lord) will not have you lusting after evil things.  Your guardian angel wants to keep you, the true worshiper and believer, in the way of the Lord.  On the other hand, the fallen angel will tell you there’s nothing wrong with who and what you worship.

And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”

1 Corinthians 10:7 NKJV

The fallen guardian angel will say that there is nothing wrong with being idolaters.  Remember, just after the Israelites came out of Egypt, they ate and drank – got carried away – and ended up making a golden calf to worship.  They jumped up and danced around that golden calf in idolatry (Exodus 32).

Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;

1 Corinthians 10:8-9 NKJV

This, again, illustrates to us that Christ was certainly present at that time. 

10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

1 Corinthians 10:10 NKJ

We should certainly not complain – we should be obedient.  It is when we are disobedient where the trespass is not pardoned.  Disobedience, no genuine faith in the Lord, is the one sin that is not forgiven; it is the sin that will go punish at the time of eternity.

11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV

What happened to those in the day of Moses, those who were disobedient, serves as an example to all of us.  We must learn from the example.  Again I ask, which angel on your shoulder do you listen too?

Let’s not fall

We should ensure that we are taking head to the right angel on our shoulder – the one that is guiding us towards heaven (the Lord).  We should ignore that fallen angel that simply wants to deceive and consume.  Paul says in our key that we should not be overtaken by temptation.  Let us not be overtaken by the fallen angel’s attempts – remember he tempted Jesus and that Jesus overcame the tempting.  Let us also not fall into the lusts of our own desires.

God will not allow you to fall because the Lord is faithful!  Therefore we must be faithful to Him and to His way.  If we stay in His way, and if we continue to beware of Him, He will continue to make a way for us.  Again, I say to you today, take heed to the example of Israel and be sure that you keep your guardian angel near and that you listen and be obedient to Him only.

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About Pastor Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II

Rev. Leo H. McCrary II was licensed to preach August 12, 2012, and ordained April 28, 2013. Currently pastors at Christian Unity in Douglasville, GA and online through New Found Faith.

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