Daily Devotion – September 13, 2021 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Psalm 34:1-8
34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
34:2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
34:5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.
34:6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD, and was saved from every trouble.
34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.

Here is a psalm from a person who has been in big trouble and has been saved from it by the Lord. And look for a moment at how the writer sees God at work protecting those who fear and love God: an angel camps outside the believer’s house. Camps out there. Delivers the beset believer from his or her foes or whatever produces that fear.

I know people who believe there are angels everywhere. I have secretly pooh-poohed this tendency of theirs to find angels hanging around and responsible for all good things, like finding a great parking space or making trucks swerve to avoid hitting ducklings. I have often had great difficulty thinking the wheels of God’s universe are so finely tuned as to protect people and creatures from truck-squishings or long walks through a parking lot.

But these angel-see-ers/attributers are not all wrong. They are up to something good. They are living in gratitude for the abundance God provides. They may label God’s abundance differently from the way I’d label it, but they are completely right to be grateful for the richness in their own lives and the lives of God’s creatures.

And in these times in history, during which we might be more inclined to see the darker side of things and spend more time in fear, we might do well to emulate the angel-see-ers and attribute generous abundance to the Author of all abundance, God, our Creator. After all, the psalmist says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.” I too want to believe in that!

Gracious God, thank you for loving us. Thank you for the angels you have sent throughout history, to preserve and protect your beloved human children. Help us to appreciate your generosity in whatever way makes sense for us, and never to belittle the faithful beliefs of others.    Amen.