Tony's Reflection 17 


My guardian angels have been working overtime lately.

As you know, I like cycling. When lockdown was in full force, it was wonderful to use my exercise time cycling. The roads were almost deserted. The trouble was, I got used to cycling with the road to myself. It's been a shock to the system to share it with cars again. I have had a couple of narrow misses, lately – cars whizzing by so close, they have been within inches of knocking me off my bike. It's times like this, I thank God for angels watching over me.

Do you ever think about angels?

I am not thinking here of the angels on Christmas cards, or traditional Christian art. Those podgy, overgrown babies could hardly protect anyone from anything. Not like the angels who protected 19th-century missionary John Paton from almost certain death. Here’s the story:

"When John and his wife were working in the New Hebrides, hostile locals surrounded his mission headquarters one night, intent on burning out the Patons and killing them. John and his wife prayed all during that terror filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers unaccountably leave. They thanked God for delivering them.

A year later, the local chief was converted. Remembering that dreadful night, John asked what had kept the chief and his men from burning down the house and killing him and his wife.

The chief said he had seen many men standing guard by the house. Hundreds of big men, in shining garments and with drawn swords in their hands. Only then did John realise that God had sent his angels to protect them. The chief agreed there could be no other explanation."

The Bible sees angels as immensely powerful supernatural beings. They are often sent to protect God's people. They also bring special messages from God. According to Billy Graham’s book, where I got the story of John Paton, there are 300 references to angels in the Bible!

We are looking at just one such reference, from Psalm 91, today:
"For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." (verses 11-12)
It's not just that you have these amazingly mighty, powerful supernatural beings watching out for you. God has given them your name, told them where you live and put them under strict orders to look after you. As the Psalm says, "He will command his angels concerning you…"

Everywhere you go, they are guarding you, keeping you from harm. Strong heavenly soldiers, swords drawn, ready to protect you from the forces of evil. They are watching over you "in all your ways”.

It’s not just that they are watching over us, when we are obeying God and going down the right path. Even when we stray from the path God has for us, they are still watching and protecting. They guard us in "all" our ways. God is so kind to you, he commands his angels to look after you, not just when you deserve it, but even when you are straying!

They are not just watching to protect you from major disaster, either. They are there to protect you, even from trivial mishaps. "They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."

There you are, minding your own business, walking along. You haven't seen the stone in front of you. Your angel has, though and he lifts you up so you walk over it. Just ponder that image in your mind's eye for a moment. Here is this mighty, powerful heavenly being, watching where you are about to put your feet and gently and tenderly giving you a little lift up into the air, so you miss the stone.

What a beautiful piece of poetry. It shows us that God is concerned to protect you in the little details of life … even those which are so small, you we miss them yourself.

We have seen so often in this Psalm that God protects us when we run to him in the secret place.

Here, though, the picture is of God protecting you as you go out from the secret place. The angels are guarding you "in all your ways". As you go out walking, they are watching. In your house, they are there. In all of the humdrum routines of your day-to-day life, they stand guard. Watching. Protecting.

Why not pause and say thank you to God, for commanding his angels to protect you?

You are precious to God. His care extends wherever you go.

[1] Story from Angels God’s Secret Agents by Billy Graham, 1977 Hodder & Stoughton
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signed Tony