A week away from Christmas. True Story.
I’d just picked up some extra gifts for my family and was heading south on the International drive towards route 46. She, in her blue Honda, was coming north and had stopped at the light, waiting to make a left. Whether she was distracted, or miscalculated how long it would take to cut across the highway, I don’t know, but I knew what was coming the moment she turned her vehicle into incoming traffic and placed it right in my path.
I jammed on my brakes, but my car simply skidded into the inevitable. She also saw it coming too because she immediately tried to swerve her car, but there was nowhere to go. It was too late. Within seconds, our cars violently slammed into each other at full speed.
A loud earsplitting crash. Air bags explode. Without thinking, I threw my hands across my face for fear of broken glass. Sharp pain shot up my knee. An icy-cold liquid ran down my right leg from a source unknown. Then silence, followed by a foul smelling smoke which was slowly filling up my vehicle. I distinctly remember the sequence of thoughts that ran through my mind. “Whoa. I’m not dead.” “Lord you’re still with me.” “O God, please let her still be alive.” “Smoke. SMOKE!! Get out of the car cos I’m NOT burning to death today!”
While my car was still rolling to a stop, I jumped out fearing the engine might explode from the leaking gasoline that had spilled on my right leg (It wasn’t gasoline; just the cold drink I had in my cup holder). I checked on the girl as she also stumbled out of her vehicle. Other than a small bloody scrape on her hand, and seriously shaky nerves, she seemed okay. Still in shock from what we just experienced, we both quietly sat down on the sidewalk staring at our damaged vehicles. Almost at the same time, we thought and said it together, “wow. This could seriously have been worse.”
That thought would stick like glue in my mind all day.
It did so because in previous weeks, I’d had a very strong impression from the Holy Spirit that I needed to be in constant prayer and fasting for my safety and for the Lord’s protection over my life. All of which I did.
Later that afternoon, my wife (knowing about my prayer unction and the implication of what happened earlier that day) sent me this encouraging message from Psalm 91. (Next to it is the photo of my vehicle minutes after impact).
I’ve read and heard that passage in Psalm 91 plenty of times, but its message really stuck this afternoon. That God would “command His angels concerning me” kept playing over and over and over in my mind. I didn’t see any angels on the scene of the accident, but as I reflected on what could have been, it didn’t escape me that this morning, my Father in heaven had commanded His angels concerning me, to guard me, and to bear me up.
So I spent the next few days diving into Psalm 91 to explore exactly how it is one receives angelic protective services (or as I’ve now tagged their agency, the “A.P.S”). The first unmistakable truth I ran into is this; we don’t seek angels for help in time of need, rather, we seek to make God our dwelling place, then HE, assigns/commands His angels concerning us. It’s the first thing the Psalmist starts with in verse 1-2, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
It’s in response to having sought God as a SHELTER (a warm safe location), a REFUGE and SHADOW (a place of protection from harm), and a FORTRESS (a fortified impenetrable location) that we receive angelic protective services from heaven. This means that when you make the Most High God your dwelling place, He delivers, rescues, and saves you from what’s known as “the fowler’s snare” (a scheme that is secretly but strategically set up by someone who opposes you to entrap you). Being delivered from it means that every and anyone in your life who secretly works to stifle your progress is not only known by God, but will have to pass through God before they can do any harm to you.
Making God your dwelling place also means that when all hell breaks loose, as verse 5-8 would indicate, God will stand by you every step of the way through it. This might sometimes mean God delivers you THROUGH the fire, rather than FROM the fire. It means that you might sometimes find yourself in very uncomfortable situations that scare you, but God Himself will be with you in it so you don’t suffer loss.
Of course, making God your dwelling place all culminates in verse 11 where He instructs His angels concerning you.
If you’ve ever wondered where the notion of guardian angels comes from, this is it. (While it’s comforting to imagine that we each get one guardian angel to watch over us, a more accurate Biblically reading suggests a different sequence in which angels are assigned to your detail). It starts, not with us seeking angels or calling on them for help, rather, it starts with us FIRST finding shelter in the shadow of the Most High and making Him our refuge and fortress. HE, then instructs and commands His angels to war on our behalf.
See how that works?
Note in verse 13 the mention of the “lion, cobra, the great lion and the serpent.” These are all wild beast, wild animals, that can cause great harm. They’re also a picture of demonic opposition (Revelation 9:17-18). So here’s what the psalmist is saying. When Satan and his demons turn their attention to you in the unseen spiritual realm, with the full intention of doing you harm; because you have made God your dwelling place; in those moments, God will command His angels to fight on your behalf in that unseen spiritual realm so that the evil intended for you will not harm you or even come near your tent.
One pastor stated it this way, “Though your enemies may surround you, GOD SURROUNDS YOUR ENEMIES.” Deuteronomy 28:7 expands on that when it says, “The LORD will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven!” WHY? Because you have made God your refuge and fortress! Therefore, He fights for you in the unseen realm. Pretty sweet, right? (being that you can’t see what happens in the unseen realm and all).
This Psalm has more meaning to me today than it ever has. It’s not only a beautiful picture of God’s care for me, but I’ve experienced it played out in my life. O, what a mighty God I serve.
What about you?
We’re barely a week into 2015. The Lord certainly knows the good plans He has in store for you this year, but you should also be aware that the enemy of your soul isn’t idle. He will work hard to stifle, even harm you, to keep you from living out God’s intended destiny for your life this year.
You need not fear, panic, or be dismayed. The Lord Himself watches over you and does not slumber (meaning: He’s no slacker). When you make Him your dwelling place, as in, you go to Him daily to worship, adore, and rest, He will not only watch over your going and coming, but He will send His angels to war on your behalf in realms unseen so that any and every weapon formed against you will NOT prosper!
Make this year the year where you continually dwell in the shelter of the Most High God, and the year where you finally embrace His invite to a personal relationship with Him through His son Jesus Christ.