“Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared… I will fulfill the number of your days… And I will set your border.” “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Exodus 23:20,26,31; Psalm 34:7; 91:11
What great promises of the presence of the angel of the LORD, the preincarnate Christ, and these mysterious beings God assigns to us! For the Israelites, having crossed the Sea into a land rife with enemy inhabitants, the pledge of God’s angel going before them, to guard and guide their steps in taking over the land, was a trumpet call of encouragement. The mighty God would lead the way, His host hemming them in behind and before; He would know where to go, and would fulfill His plans exactly according to His design. With such a conquest promised, how could they not go forth in confident obedience? (Exodus 23:21; Psalm 139:5)
Next to this Exodus passage, I have several notes over the years that remind me today of God’s remarkable, merciful, constant faithfulness. Over a decade ago, I claimed this promise for our children as they navigated next steps, trusting the LORD to guard them and go before them, to make their way to His prepared places of education and work clear. Ten years ago, two beloved family members were nearing their end of life, and I took great comfort believing my God had numbered their days and would fulfill all He intended to before taking them in death. A few years back, we were selling family property and considering a move, and had confidence God was readying a home and delineating our boundaries; He would lead us and establish us. God’s word has always proved true, and Jesus keeps every promise. His angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve for the sake of those who inherit salvation,” and I am a grateful recipient of their ministry through the seasons of life. (Hebrews 1:14)
Taking time and thought to consider these promises, to recount how the Lord has fulfilled them, to recognize His hand, the ministry of His angels through numerous decisions, journeys, combats with enemies of doubt, temptation, heartache, and health challenges over the years, magnifies our God and increases our faith. I love that God’s instructions and promises here begin with “Behold”! We must open our eyes! When we look for Him eagerly, expectantly, joyfully, we will not only see Him, but we will be encouraged by His good word to us and His ministry on our behalf.
Lord of Hosts, I know with Job that You can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. As I anticipate places You are preparing for me, areas of my heart where You want to dig and cleanse and reform, new places of friendship and service and habit, new boundaries of faith and devotion and understanding, help my unbelief. Keep me beholding all You have done, and trusting You for all You will do. Above all, keep me beholding You, glorious and worthy LORD. (Job 42:2; Mark 9:24)