How to Shock Angels


Do you know that angels can be shocked and appalled?

What’s so jarring to them?? What traumatizes the seraphim?? When they see God’s children seeking to slake their thirst with the rancid waters of this world instead of Christ.

Be appalled, O heavens [angels], at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water. JE 2.12-13

It staggers the angels when I take more joy in reading a novel than God’s Word. When I crave man’s approval more than Christ’s. When I think any person or thing can fulfill me.? When I live for empty success and hollow possessions.

Why is it so jolting to the angels when they see us looking to the creation for satisfaction?? Because they dwell in God’s glory day and night. Continually standing in awe, drinking from the fountain of living waters.? Continually delighting. They know there’s nothing more rapturous than Jesus.

So when they see God’s children turn from the fountain of delights to slurp from muddy puddles, they’re appalled.? Shocked. Utterly desolate.

This hints at the Treasure Jesus is. He is beauty itself. He exudes life, pleasure and joy. He’s the fountain of soul-reviving, life-giving, thirst-quenching waters.? Someday we’ll gaze full on the face the seraphim must shield their faces from.? Then we’ll understand why the angels are so devastated to see us seeking pleasure in the gutters of the world.

C.S. Lewis says it well:

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

In his lavish grace, God has loaded the world with pleasures and delights.? He gives us all things richly to enjoy.? But compared to Jesus, the Treasure of treasures, all this world’s pleasures are mud pies.? Let’s not appall the angels.? Let’s run hard after Christ. Let’s drink deep from the Fountain of Living Waters.

Photo by Norma Desmond


  • Matthew says:

    How often do I settle for “drink, sex, and ambition” when total satisfaction is offered? Why? In our culture of instant gratification, my only answer is that the promises offered in the gospel often seem too distant, too remote to me. So instead of “waiting on the Lord,” I rush to temporal things. And not necessarily bad things…

    But then again, none of it will ever satisfy.

    I say the angels have it made. They never have to question God’s existence or motives.

    Yet Jesus said “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.”

    So we’re back to hope in what’s to come, I guess!

  • Boaly says:

    Brilliant post, thanks

  • Julie says:

    You’ve made a powerful connection with those verses! Reminds me of what I just read from Tim Chester this morning, quoting from Marcus Honeysett:
    “If I had to sum up in a couple of words what I have learned so far since we chatted about fasting, it would be that fasting is a lesson in ?intensifying longing or desire?. Living in a culture of instant gratification means we know next to nothing about longing for anything at all, and therefore have a paucity of experience when it comes to longing for God. When a feast comes our way we therefore accept it as our normal expectation rather than with special delight. And our expectation for anything more is dulled. We cease to long because we feel full all the time, even if the reality is that we are full with things that are not delightful but mediocre or even toxic.

    I think one of the devil?s most cunning strategies in the West is to give people everything they think they need, thereby making us think that there is nothing better to have and no reason to desire God. Which is the heart of the way Jesus was tempted: have all the kingdoms of the earth, and let them substitute for Yahweh. Fasting takes away the kingdom of the earth and retrains our spiritual desires towards God rather than his providential gifts.”

  • Megan Liz says:

    Wow. That was…mind-blowing. Satan hardly ever deceives us with things that look horrible, though… I think usually we don’t recognize our “mud pies” for what they are. We really need the blinders taken from our eyes–I know I do! It’s so easy to have one great religious experience and then gradually fall back to mundane life and relax in ignoring God. Maybe we need to be horrified more often!

  • Ron Reffett says:

    Hey Mark,
    Great post, very convicting! We are far too easily pleased. I have been listening to John Piper’s message on future grace, Piper says that we must “fight fire with fire.” The fire that the enemy shoots at us is the various lusts and things that we think will satisfy us outside of our relationship with God. We have to fight back with the fire that God is all satisfying and see Him as greater than lust or sex or anything that puts itself in competition for God and His glory in our lives. It’s going to be a struggle as long as we are here in this world, but it is so great to know that God is faithful and won’t abandon us to do this on our own. May He be glorified in our satisfaction of Him in our lives!
    Thank you for a convicting and encouraging post Mark.
    Ron Reffett

  • Hey Matthew,

    “the promises offered in the gospel often seem too distant, too remote to me” – this is always our big challenge isn’t it? Hasn’t changed much from the garden….thanks for commenting!

    Thanks Boaly!


    Your comments remind me of the quote I heard someone say, “More people fail the test of prosperity than the test of poverty.” I appreciate your comment: “We cease to long because we feel full all the time, even if the reality is that we are full with things that are not delightful but mediocre or even toxic.” Thanks for this thoughtful response!

    Hi Megan,

    Right! We’d never fall for Satan’s ploys if they looked distasteful to us – sin always has a pleasure for a season, and as one puritan said (I think it was Thomas Brooks) Satan shows the bait and hides the hook. We truly do need God to remove our blinders.

    Hi Ron,

    John Piper’s the best when it comes to this subject – I’m sure that my feeble thoughts are just echoes of things I’ve read by him. That is so true – that we must fight back with the fire that God is all satisfying. Takes faith in God’s word. And thanks for the reminder that God doesn’t expect us to do this on our own, but is faithful and mighty. Thanks Ron!

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