Daily Devotions

February 27

Bible Reading: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12)

One of the startling aspects of angelic protection pointed out to us by the Psalmist is its comprehensiveness. According to the Psalmist, angels are charged to keep us from “dashing our foot against a stone.” In other words, they are to keep us from stumping our toe. Obviously, this is a spiritual toe stumping rather than a physical one. Still, how consoling it is to know that angels are charged by God to be this minutely concerned with our daily care. 

Along with its comprehensiveness, another startling aspect of angelic protection is its constancy. At first glance, one may be taken back by the Psalmist’s promise of angelic protection “in all [our] ways.” Suppose we’re not going in the right way? Are angels charged by God to shield us from sin’s consequences? Can we live with careless abandon, even when living outside of the parameters of God’s Word and will?

It is necessary for us to regress at this point. At the beginning of our devotions on this magnificent Psalm we explained how its promises are limited to those who dwell under the shadow of the Almighty; that is, those who live in constant communion with God. Anyone in fellowship with God will be following God in all of their ways. As a consequence, they will be under the constant care of divinely charged angels.

“Love God and do as you please!” (Augustine)

February 24

Bible Reading: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12)

Notice, it is not a guardian angel, as most Christians fondly imagine, but all of God’s angels that are given “charge over” Christians.

The Bible tells us of an archangel named Michael (Jude 1:9).

  • It speaks of guardian angels called cherubim (Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:18-22; 26:31-33; 36:35; 37:7-9; 1 Kings 6:23-28; Psalm 80:1; 99:1; Isaiah 37;16 1 Kings 8:6-11; Ezekiel 10:1-22; Hebrews 9:5).
  • It speaks of angels called Seraphim who constantly attend the throne of God (Isaiah 6:1-4; Revelation 4:6-11).
  • It speaks of messenger angels like Gabriel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26).
  • And it speaks of ministering angels, those sent to “minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14)

With such various and valuable roles to play in divinity’s dealings with humanity is there any wonder that “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10)? Before being charged with our protection, the angels rejoice at our personal conversions. May we ever be grateful to the One who holds the heavenly host in the palm of His hand for our innumerable and unseen safekeepers.

ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME (Amy Grant)

God only knows the times my life was threatened just today.

A reckless car ran out of gas before it ran my way.

Near misses all around me, accidents unknown,

Though I never see with human eyes the hands that lead me home.

But I know they’re all around me all day and through the night.

When the enemy is closing in, I know sometimes they fight

To keep my feet from falling, I’ll never turn away.

If you’re asking what’s protecting me then you’re gonna hear me say:

 

I got his angels watching over me, every move I make.

Angels watching over me!

I got angels watching over me, every step I take.

Angels watching over me!

February 23

Bible Reading: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:11-12)

Satan quoted these verses when tempting Jesus to hurl Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple (Matthew 4:5-6). Don’t be surprised by Satan’s quoting of the Scripture, as Shakespeare said, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purposes.” Just as Satan’s ministers twist the Scriptures to their own destruction, not to mention to the destruction of others (2 Corinthians 11:15; 2 Peter 3:16), Satan also masterfully misrepresents God’s Word in his sly attempts to manipulate men into doing his bidding rather than God’s.

The devil is forever misapplying the promises of God in hopes of getting people to act presumptuously. If he can get you to misapply God’s Word and to presume upon God on the basis of your misinterpretation, then he’ll attempt to persuade you that God has failed you once your leap from the pinnacle results in you hitting the ground. Lying there hurting from your foolish presumption, the imps of Hell will dance around you while the devil himself brazenly declares that your scripturally unsolicited actions have discredited God’s divinely inspired Word.

Many a deceived soul has been forfeited as a result of falling for the master of deceptions misinterpretations and misapplications of sacred Scripture. Innumerable multitudes have erroneously concluded that God’s Word is neither trustworthy or true, due to their being duped by the devil into leaping off pinnacles from which God’s Word never instructed them to leap. Still, in spite of the fact that they have transgressed the Scripture by tempting God (Matthew 4:7), these Apollyon-played pinnacle leapers dismiss the Scripture they’ve miscued for not producing what it never promised, but what they mistakenly presumed.

“Do not mistake presumption for faith. Faith must have the clear statement of God. Presumption is content to assume things that it supposes God might be or do, but it does so without [a] clear word [from] God concerning it.” (Art B. Neuenschwander)

February 22

Bible Reading: “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” (Psalm 91:9-10)

Many will protest from an earthly perspective that they have known saints whom evil befell or plague afflicted. Yet, the Bible assures us that apparent evil in the life of the saint is actually meant for good. Remember Joseph’s words to his brothers, “But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20). Under the sovereignty of God, the selling of Joseph into slavery by his brothers ultimately led to Joseph becoming prime minister of Egypt. It was as prime minister of Egypt that Joseph was able to save his family from starvation during a seven-year famine.

The Psalmist said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word” (Psalm 119:67). Sometimes a sovereign God allows His saints to be physically afflicted for some greater spiritual good, the consequence of which is a grateful heart for the heavenly good reaped from what first appeared to be an earthly evil.

The Apostle Paul assures us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Nothing can happen in the lives of God’s saints that a sovereign God does not allow; and the only thing God will allow in the lives of His saints is what He intends for the saints’ ultimate good. Thus, no evil can actually befall the people of God. Apparent evils viewed from a heavenly perspective are actually ultimate goods.

From an earthly perspective, Christ’s death on the cross appears to be the worst thing that has ever occurred. From a heavenly perspective, however, it was meant for the salvation of the world. Even the seeming worst of evils translate into ultimate goods once seen through the prism of divine providence. As the Apostle Paul audaciously acclaims in Philippians 1:21, even death “is gain” to the Christian.

“There is no circumstance, no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart.” (Alan Redpath) 

February 21

Bible Reading: “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” (Psalm 91:9-10)

A few years ago, I heard a prominent minister share how God had revealed to him during a life-threatening illness that he was both invincible and invulnerable until God was through with him on earth and ready to take him to Heaven. Likewise, I remember a popular evangelist who traveled around the country for years in spite of the fact that he was afflicted with several terminal illnesses. His spiritual speciality was the subject of faith, which he credited for keeping him alive against all medical explanation.

It’s really not great faith, however, that shields us from all “evil.” Instead, it is a great God. True faith claims no merit of its own; yet, it is rewarded whenever God sees it. Contrary to popular opinion, the strength of faith is not found in its amount, but in its object. With just a little faith in the right object—the Lord Jesus Christ—you can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). On the other hand, misplaced faith, regardless of its quantity, is completely powerless and impotent. It won’t move a thing!

It makes no difference if we live in a lean-to or a fortress, it is only by “making the Most High our habitation” that we can protect ourselves from life’s perils and plagues. It is only those who trust God to tabernacle them in this life that are immune from “evil.” A misplaced faith in any other “refuge” will prove to be wholly inadequate in preventing evil from befalling us.

“God’s protection is available to the saint, but only appropriated by those who are willing to empty their hands of the weapons of self-protection. We must lay down the shields forged by ourselves and pick up the shield of faith in their place. For God to be our refuge, we must take God at His Word.”

February 20

Bible Reading: “Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” (Psalm 91:8)

The Gospel is a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). It is the fragrance of life to believers and the fragrance of death to unbelievers (2 Corinthians 2:16). This explains its preciousness to the saint and its repulsiveness to the sinner. The one finds it invigorating and the other intolerable.

Unbeknownst to most people, the cross of Christ is two-sided. Although it speaks of the certainty of salvation for all who are willing to believe, it also speaks of the certainty of condemnation for all who refuse to believe. If God spared not His own Son, but poured out on Him the full measure of His wrath for all of the sins of all time, what hope is there of God sparing those who turn their nose up at the crucified Christ and trample His precious shed blood under their feet (Romans 8:32; Hebrews 10:29)?

The sight of God’s inevitable judgment of the wicked will forever remind the saints that God’s refusal to spare his Son from the cross is the only reason He can mercifully spare us. It will also eternally reverberate in our hearts as proof of God’s justice. How can God ever be accused of injustice for refusing to spare from judgment all who refuse to accept the salvation He has wrought for them through His unspared Son?

While the promise of seeing God’s judgement upon the wicked is an unnerving proposition, it is also a necessary one. Only in view of God’s judgment can we truly appreciate the depths of His mercy. It is God’s refusal to jeopardize His justice by letting one single sin slip by unpunished that shows us just how eternally beholden we are to the Savior who suffered on the cross the full penalty for our every single sin.

“…mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” (James 2:13)

February 17

Bible Reading: “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” (Psalm 91:7)

A thousand and one threats may be so near us as to be at our side, but yet so far away as not to touch us. Whereas an arrow shot at a venture by an aimless, nameless bowman can be guided by God to deliver the fatal blow of divine retribution to a wicked king (see 1 Kings 22:34), a hail of deadly arrows carefully aimed at God’s faithful children can be divinely reflected so as to miss their target and leave their intended unscathed.

God still makes a difference between Egypt—the world—and the “Land of Goshen” within it—the church (Exodus 8:22; 9:26). While this Christ-rejecting world will certainly suffer the final plagues of God’s wrath (Revelation 15:1), the Christian, who has received Christ and is therefore not appointed to wrath, will not be touched by them (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

It is always Sennacherib’s army—the enemy of God’s people—that is blasted by the blight of God’s destroying angel (2 Kings 19:35-36). Meanwhile, Jerusalem—the people of God—sleep on in restful repose while being divinely delivered from the amassed forces arrayed against them. Inside Jerusalem it is a peaceful night, but outside the city’s safe refuge it is a night of stark terror.

Would you come into the ark of God’s safety today, or will you remain outside under the darkening sky and gathering clouds of the approaching end time tempest? If you refuse God’s offer of grace, there is no escape from His judgment, but if you receive the gracious gift of salvation afforded you in Christ, then, there is no reason to fear any weapon that is forged against you (Isaiah 54:17).

“Our God His chosen people saves

Amongst the dead, amidst the graves.”

February 16

Bible Reading: “Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” (Psalm 91:6)

The Psalmist portrays pestilence as walking in darkness. Truly, it is shrouded in mystery, both in its cause and in its cure. Like an enemy stabbing in the dark or an unknown assassin who may strike anywhere at any moment, pestilence enters you know not where or how and may be contracted anywhere at anytime. How can anxiety be escaped in a disease-infected place where one may inhale with any given breath the fatal virus?

Along with the dark danger of pestilence, there are also the dangers of noonday. Many perils of life are fearfully straightforward, not lurking invisibly like the infectious disease.  There is the horror of wars approaching drumbeat, the darkening sky of the gathering tempest, the initial tremor of an earthquake, and the parched land and failing crops proceeding famine. All of these are causes of great anxiety that afford our foeman fear the opportunity to seize our hearts.

According to the Psalmist, it is only those brave souls who seek shelter in God who can rise above fear. Anxiety can lay no hold on them, not even in plague-stricken places. They remain calm in the stormy tempest. They know inner peace, even when outwardly surrounded by bloody war. They remain unshakable when the earth trembles and spiritually well-nourished in a famine-stricken land. Neither terrors by night nor horrors by day can scare them, since their security is in their Savior’s sheltering arms, not the sterility of their environment nor the clear skies of an uncloudy day.

He, His shadowy plumes outspread,

With His wing shall fence thy head;

And His truth around thee wield,

Strong as targe or bossy shield!

Naught shall strike thee with dismay,

Fear by night, nor shaft by day.

February 15

Bible Reading: “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day.” (Psalm 91:5)

Although the night should be a time of sleep and quiet, it is for many a time of fear and horrors. Instead of being assured of the presence of guardian angels, many are anxious at the prospect of demonic visitations. Thus, the time of rest and rejuvenation is turned into a time of apprehension and anxiety. Rather than looking forward to the season of repose, many dread the night as a time of frightening apparitions.

For every real danger in our lives, there is a thousand imaginary ones that haunt us. These conjured-up specters are prolific thieves who steal not only the night’s needed repose, but also one’s daily peace of mind. According to the Psalmist, the fear of nightly terrors and daily dangers—real or imagined—evaporate in the face of a real faith in God. This is not to say that those who trust in God will never struggle with daily dreads or nightly nervousness, it is only to say that they shall not succumb to them.

Safely cradled in the hollow of the Father’s hand, the child of God need not fear any hail of daily arrows or howling of nightly hoards. No peril can touch us without passing through the Father’s fingers, and the Scripture assures us that any peril that does is meant for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28). “Why,” then, as a famous hymn queries, “should I feel discouraged [and] why should the shadows come…when Jesus is my portion…and I know He watches over me?”

“Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.” (Anonymous)

February 14

Bible Reading: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4)

God’s truth provides the believer with double armor. It is a “shield” and a “buckler”; that is, body armor. Deflected by the shield of truth, every fiery dart of doubt, which the enemy hurls at us, falls harmlessly to the ground. No weapon forged against us by our adversary can cut through the buckler of God’s truth to inflict us with a mortal wound.

In the New Testament, Paul describes “faith” as the “shield” and “righteousness” as the “breastplate” of the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-17). How about truth? It, according to the great apostle, is the belt that keeps all of our armor intact. Without it, all of our protection fails and we are left vulnerable to “powers and principalities…the rulers of the darkness of this world…[and] spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Jesus taught us in His High Priestly prayer that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). Truth is what God says. To be protected by the truth one must be a pupil and practitioner of the Word of God. Otherwise, we are most susceptible to the lies of the father of lies and to the deviousness of the subtile serpent (John 8:44; Genesis 3:1).

“In today’s world, I fear that far more people shield themselves from the truth than shield themselves with it. Don’t you be one of them.”