The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.Psalm 34:7(NASB)
The eyes of the Lord are forever on those that hope in His unfailing love, and God dispatches ministering angels to protect His children who trust in His name. God's holy angels are ministering servants sent forth to render service to those who shall be heirs of salvation. They are a flame of fire that act as a defence against the invisible forces of evil and stand guard against malevolent spirits that seek to do them harm.
Employed in continual worship and joyful service of Lord almighty, these holy angels are often engaged to serve those that bear the image and likeness of the Lord, as well as being employed in the angelic conflict against the powers of darkness that seek to usurp the authority of God and slander His holy name.
But here, in Psalm 34, we read of a very specific angel, "The Angel of the Lord." This is not merely a reference to one of God's many ministering spirits. This is an allusion to the eternal Son of God; The Second Person of the Holy Trinity; The Pre-incarnate Christ Who encamps around those that fear Him and delivers them all.
The Angel of the Lord appears many times in the Old Testament and His unique characteristics identify Him as the Pre-existent Christ Who walked on earth before His incarnation, Who visited men before He was born into the world as the babe of Bethlehem and lived his life as the Man Christ Jesus - the sinless Son of a human mother and eternal Son of the almighty God.
As the pre-incarnate Christ, He was able to claim, "before Abraham was I Am," and He also identified Himself as both the son of David and the root and stem of his father, Jesse. He was able to pray to His heavenly Father that His disciples would behold the glory He had before the world was created... and to let them understand the love He shared with the Father before the world was founded.
Not only do we find the Angel of the Lord exercising responsibilities that can only be ascribed to Deity, but we discover that this angelic Being is also worshipped as God, making Him equal with God - making Him consubstantial and co-eternal, omnipotent, and omniscient. He appeared to Abraham on a number of occasions. He stayed His servant's hand before giving his son Isaac as an offering to the Lord, and Abraham worshipped Him when the Angel of the Lord visited him by the oaks of Mamre.
The Angel of the Lord also met Hagar, as she fled into the wilderness with Ishmael. He visited Jacob in a dream when he was being cheated by Laban and He appeared to the fearful Gideon when he was beating out wheat in the winepress, to protect it from the thieving Midianites.
He announced the birth of Samson to Manoah and his wife, and He appeared to David by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, when the king sinned against the Lord and terrible judgement was poured out on the people because of his sin.
Once again, in Zechariah, we hear about the Angel of the Lord standing among the myrtle trees, announcing judgement on Israel for their apostate ways, before interceding for His people and pleading for God to show mercy upon them, with comforting and comfortable words.
Despite the many appearances of the Angel of the Lord in Old Testament times, He never appears in the New, after the incarnation of Christ, and we who have been born-again into the family of God, have no need for a visitation from the Angel of the Lord... because He was born into the world as Jesus Christ and because we have His Holy Spirit dwelling within, as our ever-present guard and guide.
We also have Christ's promise that He is never far from any of us and will never leave us nor forsake us. We have His assurance that nothing can pluck us out of His hand and nothing can pluck us out of our Father's hand.
The psalmist rejoiced that the Angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him, and we can also rejoice with exceeding great joy that the Spirit of Christ has taken up permanent residence within our heart and is living in us and working through us, "for greater is He that is in you and me than he that is in the world."
Thank You, O Lord my God, for the knowledge that there is nowhere I can go that is beyond the range of Your protection, power, and comfort. Thank You that as a partaker of the sufferings of Christ, I can rejoice in my sufferings with exceeding great joy, knowing that at the revelation of Christ's glory I will know Him as I am known by Him. Thank You for Your goodness, mercy, protection, and grace, which surrounds me every moment of the day, and I pray that You will send Your messengers of comfort to protect me from the evil one – and bring me at last into Your eternal kingdom, for Your praise and glory. This I ask in the name of Jesus, AMEN.
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