Pr. P. J. Daniel
God’s people are under divine protection and care. God not only commands his angels to guard over us, but He himself goes with us. Because of this confidence the Psalmist declares: Even though I walk through the valley of shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me. This very verse emphasizes the continuous protection of our Lord over His sheep – His people.
It is the Jewish conception that God has assigned certain angels to guard his people. The Bible also supports this view. There are so many references and incidents of the Bible as well as the live testimonies of God’s people declaring this fact. Psalms Ninety one corroborates this view. “There shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwellings. He shall give His angels, to charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear in their hands lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Psalms 91:10-12. From these very verses it is clear that angels are assigned to guard God’s people and there are atleast two angels in charge of each child of God. The Book of Daniel reveals that the mighty archangel Michael is appointed as the guardian angel of the Nation of Israel 12: 1. The Bible also says that there is an angel assigned for each child of God in heaven, who beholds the face of God. (Matthew 18: 10)
A guardian angel is an angel assigned to protect and guide a particular person or group. Judaism vehemently upholds this view and it can be found often in the scripture. In Rabbinic literature, the Rabbis expressed the notion that there are indeed guardian angels appointed by Yahweh to watch over his people. The guardian angel concept is clearly present in the Old Testament. The Old Testament conceived of God’s angels as his ministers who carried out His command, and who were given special commissions to protect His people. In Genesis chapters 1 and 19 angels not only act as the executor of God’s wrath against Sodom and Gomorrah, they also delivered Lot and his family from the destruction of the fire of God. God says to Moses “My angels shall go before you” Exodus 32: 34. It is clear from this statement that angels were the protecting forces all through the wilderness journey of Israelites. Book of Daniel also gives evident ideas of appointing angels to certain provinces and even Michael as the guardian angel of His people. Psalmist reiterates this fact in Psalms 91: 11; 33:8; 34:5. Job was protected by God and even Satan testified that God had fenced Job, his house-hold and even his properties. It is clear that God protects his own people by his guardian angles.
In the New Testament, the concept of guardian angel may be noted with greater precision. It is clear in the event of Gethsemane, where the angels succored Christ in the garden. The Angel who delivered Apostle Peter from the prison is considered a guardian angel. Hebrews 1:14 puts the doctrine in its clearest light: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?”
There are so many life experiences of God’s children whom God had protected in the past from various hazards. It is a true story heard from a God’s servant that four sisters who were serving the Lord in the remote area of Bihar, where they faced much opposition from the anti-social elements. Once, some wicked men coveted to abuse these sisters in the night. These sisters were not aware of this conspiracy. As usual they spent their time in prayer late that night. This evil gang was hiding in the darkness waiting for an appropriate time to attack them. As they were waiting there, they noticed that some dazzling and glittering young men with shining swords marching around the dwelling of these poor sisters. These violent men waited till dawn and could not find a time to enter the house of these sisters. Later, in the day time these wicked men enquired about these young men who had guarded them. These sisters were unaware of these guards, yet they recognized that the young men were the guardian angels, who protected them from the terribly evil experience. It is indeed our privilege that the Lord protects us from all evils.
It is heard that the angels will protect even our cultivation. There was a well known God’s servant lived in Kerala, known as Punjamannil Mammen Upadesi, who had cultivated plantain and banana crop around his property. One evening, as he was planning to go for a gospel meeting, he noticed that some of his bananas were ripe and ready for harvest. Fearing that it might be stolen by thieves in his absence, he prayed aloud and entrusted these banana plants to the protection of angels. When he returned at night, to his surprise he noticed that some of those bananas were stolen. He shouted aloud: “Gabriel, Michel, Ariel, Rafael where are my bananas? Bring them back right now.” As he was shouting, the thief, still hiding in the dark, heard this! He thought that some strong men were called upon by the Upadesi (God’s servant), frightened, the thief soon brought back the stolen bananas. Although this sounds an amusing incident, we can certainly believe that God is in control of our property too.
We see numerous incidents in the scripture about the divine protection of God’s people. During the period of Judges, when Deborah the prophetess ruled Israel, Sisera - the Captain of Canaan seized the Israelites. Under the Leadership of Barak and Deborah the army of Israelites marched against them. But the Lord sent His mighty angels to fight against Sisera and his allies (Judge 5:20). Thus the Canaanites were defeated.
During the reign of Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, Moabites, Ammonites and Meyonites came against him. He declared a nationwide fasting. All the small and great humbled themselves in fasting and prayer. The Lord sent ambushes against the enemies and defeated them (2 Chronicles 20:22). These “ambushes” are none other than the angels of God.
An angel went before the people of Israel throughout their journey in the wilderness. Prophet Elijah was sustained under the juniper tree in the desert, when he was in utter discouragement and fear of Jezebel. Prophet Daniel was kept and protected in the Lion’s den without any harm; the three Hebrew young men were preserved in the fiery furnace alive by the fourth one. Apostle Peter was delivered from the prison cell by an angel. Apostle John was preserved and sustained in the isle of Patmos only by divine protection. Psalm 91 is a solemn security song of the children of God. We are safe and secure under the shadow of the Almighty God.