“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.”
Psalms‬ ‭91:11-12‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

These were the verses used by the devil during the second temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, soon after He was baptised. Isn’t it strange that so many people shrug off the Bible as irrelevant, but, of the forces behind our universe, One was the author of the Book and the other used it as a reference. But the question remains – were these verses part of a prophetic glimpse of the coming Messiah, or can they apply to us today?

What do you think about angels? They figure frequently in the Bible passages, even being named, liked Michael and Gabriel. And we read in Revelation 12 and other passages about a rebellion in Heaven and as a consequence satan and his angels were evicted. But are angels with us today? Do we have, as many claim, guardian angels? I personally believe that angels exist – the Biblical and other evidence is too strong and clear, in my opinion, for there not to be angels. From verse 9 in this Psalm, we could draw the conclusion that part of the benefit of being a God-dweller is that God will appoint angels to look after us, but when our lives fall apart, as they sometimes do, does that mean we haven’t been living in God’s refuge, under His protection? And if we read verse 16 as part of a Messianic prophecy, does the long life bit apply to Jesus, because He was savagely killed at the age of 33, or thereabouts. So this Psalm perhaps raises more questions than answers. 

However, this Psalm gives me an overwhelming sense of God’s provision. His love and grace, His protection and concern for us, His people, bursts out of the page into my spirit. Yes, we will experience much pain and grief in this life, even when we are close to God, even when we spend much time in His presence. It’s a sinful world and the enemy will do his utmost to cause us hassles. And we can compound our difficulties through making wrong choices at times. But through it all shines this wonderful truth that God is there for us, with His army of angels, waiting to help us in our times of need. Perhaps we won’t really know the full extent of how he has helped us in this life until we reach the life to come. And it is there that we might perhaps meet our “guardian angels”. Any thoughts?

Terrors of the Night

You will not fear the terror of night, 
nor the arrow that flies by day, 
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, 
nor the plague that destroys at midday. 
A thousand may fall at your side, 
ten thousand at your right hand, 
but it will not come near you. 
You will only observe with your eyes 
and see the punishment of the wicked.
‭Psalms‬ ‭91:5-8‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

These words from Psalm 91 have sustained me on several occasions. There was one occasion when the redundancy sword was hanging heavily over the organisation where I worked. The usual double whammy of too many employees and insufficient work to sustain their employment. And my own department and position was particularly vulnerable. But God in His mercy popped verse 7 into my mind, “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” Thankfully, I survived the redundancy exercise, but several colleagues didn’t. God in His mercy reassured me, and His Word sustained me in the run up to the announcement. 

But there are other nuggets in these few verses. Night terrors, for one. Isn’t it strange that when we lie in bed the problems of the previous day, or the day to come, assume proportions far in excess of reality? And instead of praying and touching base with our loving Heavenly Father, we lie in a terror-sweat, building imaginary scenarios in our minds. Or am I the only one who has experienced those sorts of “terrors in the night”?

The verses go on to explore the life experiences that can be so debilitating. Physical violence from weaponry. Illnesses and plagues. Infestations from other forms of life, microscopic or otherwise. These things can induce fears in each one of us. The Covid “plague” is particularly relevant today and I have dear friends who live in fear, adopting a hermit-like existence, just in case they become afflicted by the virus. “What-if” fears can be a blight on our lives in themselves.

Verse 4 of this Psalm is where we need to camp. Under the wings of our loving Heavenly Father. Because it is there that we will find the protection we all need. There are no terrors in His presence, just love and reassurance, kindness and grace.