Devotional Week 17 Tuesday
Today’s Texts and Thoughts of Encouragement
“Casting the whole of your care, all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all, on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”
1 Peter 5: 7
“What can be more to me than this: that God pities me; that God careth for me; and that to me, a wanderer from His presence and love, He hath sent forth His Son ‘to bring me nigh to Him?’ Nigh to Him! Shelter, protection, peace, joy, blessedness; all, and more than all that words can utter, is summed up in this. The bright realm of Heaven, that overwhelmed me with its awful majesty, melts and dissolves in dews of mercy upon my thirsting and fainting nature.”
Orville Dewey, D.D.
Today’s Study Texts:
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, who revere and worship Him with awe, and each of them He delivers.”
Psalm 34: 7
“Lest I Forget” – Part 10
“Show Me The Angels in Robes Arrayed
As They Guarded Thee”
“Let us think of the host of angels, how they stand by and serve God’s will.”
How would I have reacted if I was among the women at Jesus’ tomb and witnessed the presence of two angels where Jesus had been laid?
Do I ever think about the presence of an angel sent by God to guard and comfort me in my life?
“The presence of the angels who watch over us and minister to God comes together with someone who prays, so that the angels may be united with (us) in what (we) ask in prayer.”
“Are not the angels all ministering servants sent out in the service for God for the assistance of those who are to inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1: 14, Amplified Bible).
“Show Me the Angels in Robes Arrayed as They Guarded Thee”
As many of you have noticed, our daily devotionals are filled with uplifting quotes and inspirational thoughts left by Christians down through the ages. How thankful I am for the literary wealth we can draw on which infuses us with a love for our Father in heaven and His Son Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. What an untold blessing to be able to read the words of those who in years past have found their Father’s unfailing love to be a beacon of light which has shown in times of darkness.
However, there are times when I am working on a particular devotional and much to my surprise, in Christian as well as secular literature, very little appears to be written about a specific topic.
You may be able to imagine my complete surprise to find that very little has been noted in volumes of Christian quotations and poetry about “angels.” And yet, from Genesis to Revelation, the Scripture doesn’t just allude to the idea of “ministering beings” but in fact, relates story after story of heavenly intervention by angels, sent to earth at the behest of our Father to aid His precious children here on earth.
Lest we forget, I thought it might encourage our hearts today.
Our hearts today to remind ourselves of some of the incidents when the Bible tells us angels participated in events on earth. As the Psalmist writes, “The Lord hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the Lord, ye His angels, who excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye His hosts; ye ministers of His, that do His pleasure” (Psalm 103: 19-21, Amplified Bible). This text holds a great place in my heart for when my sister and I were old enough to go to school, my dad would gather his family – mother, Sher and me – in our living room and he would offer prayer before we left the house. Without fail, he would pray: “Dear Lord, please place Your angels ‘that excel in strength’ around our girls today.” I can still hear, decades later, in my mind, his loving voice asking for God’s protection over his family. I wondered for many years where the phrase “angels that excel in strength” came from, and then one day, when I was reading the Psalms – there were my dad’s words coming straight out of God’s Word.
There are so many times God sent “heavenly ministers,” as angels are often referred to, with special messages for His children on earth.
The prophet Daniel wrote about a night vision in which he saw a stream of fire coming from God’s throne and, “a thousand thousands ministered unto Him” (Daniel 7: 10, K.J.V.). We might wonder why seeing all those angels meant so much to Daniel. But if we go back one chapter to Daniel 6, we will find the story that has transfixed children and adults about Daniel in the lion’s den. When after a night of potentially becoming “lion food,” King Darius came to check on the man of God whom he admired so greatly, Daniel responded with these inspiring words, “O king, live forever. My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me” (Daniel 6: 21, 22, K.J.V.). Praise God – Daniel had an empowered retinue of heavenly angels who made certain he was not hurt by evil men or hungry lions.
We could also reflect back on a story we studied in depth last year about the “host” of angels sent to the city of Dothan to protect Elisha from the army of Syria. And there’s the story of angels coming to the rescue of Lot – even going so far as to take Lot’s hand to drag him out of the wicked city of Sodom before the destruction of the evil which abounded in defiance of God.
Then there’s one of my favorite stories found in Acts 12: “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternion’s of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him…the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison; and (the angel) smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, ‘arise up quickly.’ And (Peter’s) chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, ‘Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals.’ And so he did. And he saith unto (Peter), ‘Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.’ And (Peter) went out, and followed the (angel); and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord; and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forth with the angel departed from him” (Acts 12: 1-10, K.J.V.). If anything should lift your heart today, it is the fact that God, at a moment’s notice, can help you by releasing the “chains” of some problem that is binding your life right now; He can provide you with a message right from His throne as He did with Daniel for His hosts are at work, ministering, as the writer of Hebrews tells us, “to those who are to inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1: 14, Amplified Bible). I want to point out that you and I are the very ones who have inherited salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And this brings us to the resurrection story where I believe the angels in heaven, who had to watch the unthinkable happen to the Son of God, must have, with great rejoicing, responded to their heavenly Father’s call to aid Jesus in His battle with evil.
Just think what it would have been like to watch the perfect Son of God lie prostate on the earth in the Garden of Gethsemane. And then Dr. Luke tells us that, “there appeared to (Jesus) an angel from heaven strengthening Him in Spirit” (Luke 22: 43, Amplified Bible). In my mind I picture that angel cradling the head of Jesus and whispering to Him, “Your Father sent me for He loves You and He is with You and always will be.” I want to just say that my faith in my heavenly Father is simple enough to believe that still today, God’s messengers, in response to God’s directive, will answer our prayers of need and give us strength to bear the challenges we face.
But it wasn’t just to give strength for trial that angels were sent to minister to Jesus. When the dear women came to the tomb, only to find that Jesus was not there, God, in His infinite kindness and love asked His “ministering angels” to go to that empty tomb with the message that would lift the hearts of God’s children throughout all the ages, “He is risen. Do not seek the living among the dead.”
But there is another “earthly intervention” by an angel which stirs my heart for the disciple Matthew reports that an angel came from heaven and “rolled the boulder back and sat upon it” (Matthew 28: 2, K.J.V.). The next time your way appears blocked because of a boulder or a burden, don’t forget that an angel of the Lord can come like lightning and roll away your problem…your heartache…and your challenge. Whatever it is that has blocked your way right now.
While I’ve never seen a heavenly being in white robed brilliance as God’s daughters did at Jesus’ tomb, I wish I could have been there on Resurrection morning to witness the arrival of the angel and to watch as he dealt with that pesky stone; and to hear the angel who was sent on a special mission with a special message for us on earth today “He is risen/” Thank God for His heavenly ministers who touch our lives even today.
“Everlasting God, You have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals. Mercifully grant that, as Your holy angels always serve and worship You in heaven, so by Your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.” AMEN.
Book of Common Prayer
“Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth.”
“Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled the boulder back.”
Matthew 28: 2
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, His majesty and splendor, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory…Then the King will say: “Come, you blessed of My Father, you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation, inherit, receive as your own, the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Matthew 25: 31, 34
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus