The children of Israel provoked the angel of the Lord to anger, or offended him by their actions over and over again on the journey to the Promised Land. As a result, they wandered for forty long, unnecessary years. Even after they took possession of the land, they continued to offend God with their actions, and as a result, they were repeatedly harassed, defeated, and taken captive by their enemies.
It is important to learn what offends the angels God has assigned to protect our lives and to direct us in the paths of the Lord for our lives. There are five things that we can discover that will bring offense to the angels watching over us:
1. Negative words or wrong speaking will offend the angels.
Your negative words or wrong speaking can offend your angel. Psalm 103:20 says: Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.
The angels of the Lord are commissioned to listen to and be obedient to the voice of His Word. The Word of God moves the angels into action. First Peter 1:12 tells us that angels desire to look into the truth of the gospel and what it means.
They crave knowledge about the preaching of the gospel and desire an understanding of God’s Word about the blood of Jesus and its power to redeem mankind. We learn in Hebrews 2:2 that “the word spoken through angels proved steadfast.” God’s Word tells us that the Law of God was given on Mount Sinai with ten thousand angels
present (Deut. 33:2). The Word of God moves angels into action. I believe that in the same way, man’s disobedience to the Word of God will offend the angels and cause them to withhold their protection.
2. Unbelief will offend the angels.
Let me give you another example from God’s Word of how the angel of the Lord can bring judgment upon you. In Luke 1:8–20, Zacharias the priest was about to administer prayers upon the golden altar. As he walked into the holy of holies before the altar, he saw an angel standing at the right side of the altar. (See Luke 1:5–23.) Tradition says that if the priest saw an angel of the Lord on the right side of the altar, it meant that God had come down. It was a very serious moment, and the priest could be struck dead by the presence of God.
Zacharias was filled with fear. No one else was permitted to come in, so he knew it was not another priest. The angel said to him, “You are going to have a son. He is going to be named John. He is going to go before the Lord and
is going to come in the spirit of Elijah.” (See Luke 1:13–17.)
Now, that is very detailed information. Zacharias should have praised God and said, “Thank You for coming. We have
been praying for a family.” But does he say that? No, he says, “How shall I know that? Give me a sign.” (See verse 18.)
The angel of the Lord was offended, and he said, “You will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words” (v. 20). Unbelief can offend an angel of God.
How different is the story of Mary in Luke 1:26–38! An angel appeared to Mary and said, “And behold, you will
conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son
of the Highest” (vv. 31–32). Once again, an angel appears to tell Mary she will have a boy named Jesus, and he tells her His destiny and purpose. Now, if anyone should have doubted, Mary should have doubted. She was just a young girl, possibly fourteen or fifteen, and not even married. She should be the one to say, “Look, maybe You have the wrong house. I’m not even married.”
Instead, she said to the angel, “Let it be to me according to your word” (v. 38). That is faith. She was honored as a woman of great faith because she believed what the angel told her.
It is clear that unbelief can offend the angel of God. That is the whole story of the children of Israel. If you will read Exodus and Numbers, you will see that the nation of Israel offended the angel of the Lord over and over again.
Zacharias, a priest of God, should have believed the angel’s words and not doubted. Yet he doubted. But Mary, a young virgin girl, heard a message that seemed impossible, but she believed.
God does not honor unbelief. For God to honor our unbelief would be totally contrary to the law of faith, for the Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God]” (Heb. 11:6). The Bible says that it was the unbelief of the people of Nazareth that prevented Jesus from being able to do mighty works in that city—His hometown (Matt. 13:58). In Matthew 17:20, the disciples were unable to cast evil spirits out of a little boy, and Jesus gave only one reason—because of their unbelief. He said, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (v. 21). That could mean this kind of evil spirit or this kind of unbelief—the only way you could get rid of your unbelief was by prayer and fasting. God does not honor unbelief.
Unbelief can literally stop the blessings of God. Unbelief can offend the angel of God. Unbelief can hinder healing; unbelief can stop the blessings of God in general. We must be careful what we say and how we say it.
3. Sin will offend your angel.
In John 5:1–15 we find the story of the lame man who had been lying at the pool of Bethesda for thirty-eight years, waiting to be the first in the water when the angel came and stirred the waters. When Jesus saw him lying there, He immediately told him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk” (v. 8). The man was immediately healed. Jesus then said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” (v. 14). A person can be forgiven and set free of a sin, but if they go back into sin, it will open the door for that particular sin to come back upon them.
When we speak of sin, we think of adultery, fornication, lying, murder, stealing, and so forth. But remember that offending with your words—complaining, criticizing, and speaking negative things of the Spirit of God—is also a sin, and you will be judged accordingly.
We can bind the presence of God, bind the protection from the angel of God, by the very things that we say or do. Sin will offend the angel of God.
4. Not giving God the glory can offend the angel of the Lord.
This story is told in Acts 12:1–2, 20–25, of King Herod, who killed James, a wonderful apostle of Christ. When he saw how pleased the Jews were by this act, he imprisoned Peter and planned to kill him also. However, due to the protection of his own angel, Peter escaped from prison.
Shortly after this, King Herod appeared before all the people dressed in regal garments and sitting upon a throne. Josephus describes Herod as dressed in a garment covered with silver from his neck down. When the sun hit the silver of his garment, it glowed, and the people began to shout, saying, “[It’s] the voice of a god and not of a man!” (v. 22). Herod did nothing to stop the shouts of the people, and the Bible says, “Then immediatelyan angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died” (v. 23). Understand what this is saying: Herod wasn’t killed because he killed James or because he arrested Peter. He was struck
down by the Lord because “he did not give glory to God.” In Antiquities of the Jews, book 19, chapter 8, section 2, Josephus expands on this story by giving more details about what happened to Herod, saying that he fell into the deepest of sorrows, a severe pain arose in his bowels, and he died after the eighth day.
An angel of the Lord smote Herod. I believe the angel that released Peter from prison was likely the same angel that brought judgment to Herod. Not giving God the glory can bring offense to the angel of God.
5. Disobedience to the Word can offend your angel.
In Numbers 22 we find the story of Balaam. He was a seer and a great prophet who had great power. He could prophesy things that were going to come to pass. Messengers of Moab came to Balaam, and they said, “Look, we’ll pay any amount of money you want to stand on the mountain and curse these people.” Two times God admonished Balaam not to go with the men and do as they asked. The third time they asked, Balaam went with them. As he was riding on his donkey, an angel appeared in front of the donkey. The Lord opened the donkey’s eyes to see the angel, and in fear the donkey stepped aside and, in doing so, crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. In anger, Balaam began beating the donkey.
The angel began to speak through the donkey’s mouth to Balaam—almost like a ventriloquist would speak through his
puppet. Now, if a donkey began talking to me and rebuking me, I’d jump off that donkey, go home, call Barnum and Bailey circus, and say, “Look I’ve got a talking donkey. I mean, the dude talks!” Who is going to start fussing with a donkey? But Balaam got off the donkey and started fussing and arguing with the donkey.
Finally, the angel of the Lord heard and severely rebuked Balaam, saying, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me. The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live” (vv. 32–33).
The angel of the Lord stood there in front of the donkey to resist the blessing of Balaam, to resist the prophecies of Balaam, because he had a very perverse way. There was something about him that just was not right.
Perry Stone is the best-selling author of numerous books, including Purging Your House, Pruning Your Family Tree and his book, Angels on Assignment, from which this article is adapted.