We tend to reduce reality to what we can see. Whether it's a biblical command to sing praise or to rest on the seventh day or to pray nagging prayers like the widow of the parable, we think we know exhaustively God's reasons for commanding it. But the Bible drops hints of the effects of tongue-obedience that I had never considered. To wit, I am speaking of a possible benefit to angels.
The New Testament has even more to say about angels and their involvement with our human lives than the Old Testament. (So much for any notion that modernity evolved away from such primitive preoccupations as angelic beings.) The OT told us that "those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (2 Kings 6:16). The NT tells us they are "ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation" (Hebrews 1:14).
It is not speculative to say that the angels are curious spectators in the amphitheater of salvation history (1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:12). It was God's intent that "through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 3:10). It is not speculative that angels are even affected somehow by how women dress (1 Corinthians 11:10). This is very cool.
So now we know that these glorious beings are neither omniscient nor unaffected by our deeds through the membrane of created time. And what if they are also not mind readers? And as they ascend and descend the ladder that reaches from heaven to earth, in "the house of God, the gate of heaven" (Genesis 28:10-17), which is now Christ and his kingdom (John 1:51), what if God ordained that they come to know their assignments in part from reading our lips and cocking their ears to our words?
And so Moses and Joshua and Elijah and Daniel call down power and authority with their outspoken words, and those disembodied messengers are at the ready to knock down walls at the blow of a shofar and bring fires on water-doused altars and close lions' mouths. And you and I say out loud in our rooms, "Lord, give my child divine appointments today." And the angels are on their way with Godspeed.
To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.