"He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." This verse is a guaranteed promise, and it blesses anyone who is yearning for solutions at home or school, on the job or the road – anywhere!
As a child leaving for school in the morning, my mother would have me look her in the eye and repeat Psalms 91: 11: "He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." That was easy for an elementary school student to memorize and recite. Why did she feel this verse was so important? It was not intended to be a ritual, but a strong reminder of God's ever presence. His angels would always provide me with whatever I needed for my education, my safety and my guidance wherever I was. This verse is a guaranteed promise, and it continues to bless me and others who are still learning and yearning for solutions at home, at school, on the job, on the road—wherever one must be.
I enjoy playing with words, so in thinking about angels, these words came to mind:
Try this exercise yourself or with your family – it's a fun way to generate new views! For instance, what if you made a list of verbs or adjectives after each letter? It might begin like this:
If you research "angel" in the Random House Dictionary, you will find several definitions, including a messenger, especially of God; a guardian spirit; a spiritual being. If you research The Bible, you will find 297 concordance references from Genesis to Revelation. That certainly eliminates any question of angels being only in the New Testament!
Let's go to Genesis 16 where we can read the story of Hagar. She had more than one difficult, or what we might call a "wilderness" experience. Although Sarai, her boss and Abram's wife, gave Hagar to Abram so Abram might have a son, when that took place, Sarai was so angry and jealous that she abused Hagar to the point at which Hagar fled the home into the wilderness. There an angel of the Lord talked to her, directing her to return to Sarai, foretelling her of the son she would have whose name would be Ishmael. Hagar listened and followed the angel's message.
Continuing to Genesis 21, Sarai was upset and concerned about having Ishmael around because she now had her own son, Isaac. Consequently, Hagar, along with her son, was evicted. How would she, a single parent, be able to raise her son? How would they even be able to eat and drink once their meager supply of food was consumed, and what about a roof over the head? There was neither government welfare nor social services available in those days. Dismay, despair, economic disaster and the possible and probable death of her child were all staring Hagar in the face. Then an angel of the Lord talked with her, giving her directions to find water and shelter, along with the promise "I will make him a great nation" (verse 18). These were certainly loving solutions to her concerns.
Do you as a parent ever feel as if you are in a wilderness? Do your children ever feel the same way? Today, a huge variety of support groups is available, as evidenced in the Yellow Pages. Sometimes those agencies are very helpful. Even so, when the need is great, what if there is no one to talk to, no one in whom we can confide? What if there is no satellite connection for our cell phone or texting? What if we can only leave a message? This could well be our modern day "wilderness" experience. The bottom line is: God and his angels are always nearby, giving enlightened, loving solutions. This is not a high tech deal, but the very evidence of God meeting our needs right where we are and in a manner that is absolutely perfect—far beyond our greatest expectations and far better than we ourselves could have planned. Think back to Hagar's story for proof!
Now, let's go meet Moses in Exodus 3. He was sheep sitting when there was a huge distraction—a burning bush. When he started to investigate it, "the angel of the Lord appeared unto him" (verse 2). The history continues and Moses is requested (was there an option?) to go to Egypt and bring the several thousand children of Israel back home. He did not feel at all qualified for that task and had no clue what he would or should say. Yet he was given all the answers and assurances of success prior to the expedition and all through the years of obstacles with Pharaoh. The angels removed every "but" from Moses' objections. What convincing guidance was given to Moses by the angels! We aren't usually confronted with issues as difficult as faced by Moses or Jesus, but often we do face limitations and difficulties at home or office.
Once again, the angels have always been there, answering all the questions, doubts, fears and "buts," while promising success in every endeavor. The angels always make it a "win-win" situation.
Our Bible friend Daniel certainly had his opportunities to hear the angels talking and to see them in action. Daniel was a man with strong leadership skills and a high sense of integrity. His faithfulness to God, evidenced by his daily prayers to God even after king Darius had signed an order commanding all people to pray to him (Daniel 6), got Daniel in trouble with the law. The penalty was no ordinary jail—it was the lions' den, and those big cats were very hungry. But angels were very present in Daniel's experience, before, during, and after the night in the den. He told Darius the following morning: "My God hath sent his angel and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me" (verse 22).
How tempting it might have been for Daniel to choose praying to Darius over the lions' den! What would you do under such a circumstance? Do we truly understand the protection available from our guardian angels? Some people wear little gold pins crafted in an angel design just to remind them that angels are always present. Aren't we all tempted to bow down to things other than God? Our children are being tempted in ways we adults never thought possible. Are we helping them to understand the presence of angels to keep them alert, listening, obedient and safe?
Temptations— to go along with the crowd, to be "top dog", to test the system to see what one can get away with-- are not new. As a teenager and then as a college student, it would have been super easy for me to get snagged into immoral behavior. The angel guideline that always freed me from such temptation was: Would I be embarrassed if my parents walked into this room or saw me in this situation? They were strict and no nonsense about discipline. I would not wish to disgrace them or knowingly disobey any of the Ten Commandments. Individuals taking their stand for what is true and right are always surrounded by angels, even legions of them. In Matthew 4 we read about Jesus being tempted three times in the wilderness. He did not give in to any of the promises of a "good life" and the devil left him, to be replaced by angels. This was part of Jesus' training for his healing ministry. So, for what good works – for which opportunities to glorify God – are we being prepared? Are we listening to the angels by our side?
Several years ago Myrtle Smith, from Ireland, was talking about angels and shared a message which has been extremely helpful to me. When faced with a very touchy human relationship situation, "she just let the angels tell him." That immediately takes away all the personal responsibility connected with the individual and allows that person to get the answer in a way that is easily understood and applicable. What a special thought that parents and children can use! It eliminates nagging, hurt feelings, a poor sense of timing for the discussion and encourages us all, no matter who or where we are, to truly trust God and His ever present messengers to give the most enlightened and loving solutions for every situation.
Now, let's carry on our day with the reassuring message of Psalms 91:11: "He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.