And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” – Joshua 5:14
But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” – Luke 11:28
My first message at a church I previously served was titled, “God’s Mistakes.” There are two mistakes God has made, so I said. The first is that God did not give the responsibility of sharing the Gospel, preaching the Word, leading the church, and building his kingdom to angels.
Angels would have been such a better choice. They do not need a salary, or ever to stop to rest. They don’t have worldly families or pursuits of any kind to distract them. They do the will of God perfectly and unfailingly. They are many in number and mighty in power. Nothing would ever have been done wrongly if angels had been chosen to serve as pastors.
Having made that mistake – calling fallible men and women to serve as pastors and teachers, leaders and servants, ambassadors and witnesses for the cause of his rule and reign – God went ahead and made a second mistake. He didn’t fill the church with angels. Angels would never complain about the length of a sermon, never fail to show up for their assigned or volunteer duty, never conspire to undercut a pastor’s authority, or thwart the leaders’ ideas just because they are expensive. Angels would never miss Sunday worship, or fail to attend Bible Class or Sunday School.
But alas; God has sent sinners to serve the church and filled the church with fallible people as well. Having said all that, however, it is good to realize that we are called to obey God; to hear his word and obey it. It is proper that we do God’s bidding whenever we can and however we are able. It is good that we recognize God’s authority in all of life and seek to be as angelic as possible.
That does not have to do with sporting haloes, always having sweet-faced smiles on our faces, or prancing around in a “Goody-Two-Shoes” sort of way. It has to do with listening for God’s word, following God’s commands, obeying his call, and honoring him with all of our hearts.
Part of what it means to believe God’s word is that we see Jesus perfectly fulfilling all this as a man. Sinless to be sure, but a man. And he is our righteousness, and our perfection. When we live our out identity as brothers and sisters in Christ we are truly most blessed. That’s what it means, in the end, to hear the word of God and keep it.