I have written about Guardian Angels before but an event just this week has prompted me to consider again the part that angels often play in our lives, especially those of God’s children.
Angels have become quite popular in recent years. We have shoulder pins, figurines, books, e-mail stories, and T.V. series. We have also heard of contemporary events that can be explained only by the intervention of angels. The Scriptures have a great deal to say about angels, too, that I find most wonder-full.
In the beginning, God “made the heavens, the heaven of heavens, and all angels; the earth and everything on it, the seas and everything in them.” Nehemiah goes on to say that God keeps them all alive, and that heaven’s angels worship Him. (Neh. 9:6)
According to the record in Job, the angels report their activities to God, which I think we could assume is a regular occurrence. Angels are messengers whom God sends on His errands. Some notable examples are when the angel Gabriel was sent to tell Zacharias that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a son whom they would name John. Six months later, Gabriel appeared to Mary to inform her that she had been chosen to bear the Son of the Highest who would be named Jesus. When Jesus was born, the angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to shepherds in the fields, giving them the “good news of great joy” that their long awaited Messiah had been born. That angel was joined by a great host of angels praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest…”
It was an angel who was sent to warn Joseph and instruct him to take Mary and the baby to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. Then it was an angel who was sent to let him know when Herod was dead and it was safe to return to Galilee. During Jesus’ agonizing prayer in Gethsemane, “there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him.” (Luke 22:43)
Angels had a wonderful part to play in the Resurrection of Jesus, too. One rolled away the stone from the cave in which he was buried, and gave the weeping women the glorious news that Jesus, Who had been crucified and buried, was now alive, and he commissioned them to go and tell the disciples.
At God’s discretion, angels were sent to deliver faithful servants like Daniel from the den of lions, and Peter from the prison in which he lay chained. Did you remember that Peter wasn’t the only one released from prison in this way? We are told in Acts 5:18-20 that all the apostles were arrested and put in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. Not only that, he sent them back to stand and preach the Gospel in the temple courts!
It was an angel who directed Philip to Gaza; confirmed to Cornelius that his prayers were answered; and assured Paul that no life would be lost in the shipwreck on the way to Rome.
There are a couple of very specific promises concerning angels and their ministry to us that bless me greatly:
(1) “The angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him, and delivers them. O, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusts in Him.”
(2) “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty …..For He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands so that you do not strike your foot against a stone.” Isn’t that reassuring? (Psalm 34:7-9; 91:11-12)\\
May I tell you about my two “personal” angels? J When I came to know the Lord at the age of 8, the first verse I learned in the new little Bible which the Pastor gave me, was Psalm 23:6. Actually, it was the first testimony I tremblingly gave in a Sunday night Church meeting. “Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” For me, Goodness and Mercy are the two angels which have followed me all through these eighty-plus years. I was thrilled when I found the perfect description in a poem written by Martha Snell Nicholson, entitled “My Body Guard:”
He has given His angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways,
And Goodness and Mercy shall follow me as guardians, all my days.
Though the road be fraught with peril and plague, I shall never tread it alone.
They will bear me up in their gentle hands lest I dash my foot on a stone.
They will tenderly guide my steps, and check my feet when I go astray.
I need not fear the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day.
Though the mountains be moved to the midst of the sea, they will set me up on a rock,
Yea, Goodness and Mercy will safely keep this last, least lamb of His flock.
They will bear me on eagles’ wings at last to a City wide and fair,
And Goodness and Mercy will dwell with me in the light of His Presence there.
Then there are the ‘people-angels’ – the Good Samaritans – who are sent along to help just when the need is great, like the half-dozen motorists who stopped last night to help David when the vehicle he was driving suddenly caught fire under the hood. Two of them used their fire extinguishers to put out the fire; a third one disconnected the battery to forestall a possible explosion, and a fourth one drove David home. It was amazing that they all should arrive on scene almost immediately. God bless them all!
“May God, the giver of HOPE,
fill you with continual JOY and PEACE because you trust in Him-
so that you may have abundant HOPE
through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
(Romans 15:13 Weymouth)
In Agape, Eulene