For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.   Psalm 91:11 NASB

Guard  – Human trials and temptations often leave us feeling as if we are all alone in this life.  In our struggles we imagine that no one really knows us under our skin.  We sometimes feel that even a spouse doesn’t penetrate those deep recesses of fear or shame or anxiety.  Perhaps more than any other need in life, we want someone to love us for who we truly are.  God knows this is one of our deepest needs.  So He sends someone to help.

This word (shamar) in all its forms is used more than 400 times in the Old Testament.  Its basic meaning is to watch over with great care.  It is used to describe actions of the night watch over a city and the careful tending of a garden.  Most frequently, the verb describes rigorous adherence and adoration for God’s laws and covenants.  This word carries great power.  It is not just about ritual compliance or perfunctory observance.  It expresses a deep and abiding concern that God’s commandments form the very fabric of life.  The word is expanded to scenes of tending a flock of sheep, watching a gate and even showing respectful consideration for another person and for God Himself.

When God gives His angels charge over us, this is no small matter.  Their charge from God is no less sacred than the admonition to guard the Law.  God’s very character is expressed in His Torah.  Ordered, just and true, it is the foundation of Man’s relationship to Him, and the reason that Christ came to die for us.  This is very important.  The fact that angels exercise divinely ordered care over us only demonstrates how uniquely valuable every one of us is.  Think about it.  God actually enlists spiritual beings to watch over you and me.  They are there as the soldiers of the night, protecting us.  They are there in moments of trial, directing us.  They tend to us like professional gardeners.  They guide us like shepherds.  Today, at this very moment, someone is watching over you – and God told him to do it!  How does that make you feel?

Topical Index: guard, shamar, angels, Psalm 91:11

  • Robin Jeep February 24, 2012 at 7:04 am

    It makes me feel eternally grateful. Now, to keep that awareness.

  • carl roberts February 24, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Are we also aware of His abiding Presence? For He (Himself) has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,”- ~ “I” (even I) am with you always. ~ He (Himself) is the ever Present ONE.
    I have to smile when I read the story of the prophet Jonah. G-d gave him an assignment (go) and Jonah decided to run from G-d. Do you see the humor here?
    O sinner man,- “where you goin’ to run to?” No G-d in Chicago? Atlanta? the house next door? up on the roof? down in the cellar? lol!- NO, no, and no. In the desert regions? – Where did Yeshua love to go to pray? His favorite place was the wilderness! No Jonah, -not even in the midst of the belly of the whale, spending the night on a foam blubber mattress. He is always “with us” and oh, dear friends- He is (Hallelujah!) always “for us.” “If” G-d be for us is (much) better translated “since” G-d be for us, because He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all- how shall He not with Him- also freely give us all things? (Romans 8.32)
    We who are His, we who have been bought with a price, we who are p-owned by the Shepherd, the Redeemed ones, the purchases ones, the called out assembly of blood-washed believers are the body and the bride of the Master and Commander of the known and the unknown universes. And friends- He is the LORD of the macro (I see the stars too!) and the micro (every hair on your head and mine are numbered). LORD (Master and Commander) of yesterday, today and tomorrow- LORD of time and eternity. All authority (all) has been given unto Him. His IS the Name, (not will be..-IS) which is (now) above every name that is named- “both” in Heaven and in earth. And we (you and I) now serve (avad) the LORD Christ.
    YHVH works (twenty-four seven) in “both” the seen world (take a look around) and in the unseen. We (only) see the tip of the iceberg for ninety percent (or more!) is hidden from sight. Yes, I do not know what a day may bring forth- but I do know “Who” brings forth the day! For He is the Day Maker and He is my Day-Runner. He will never put more on us (heat and pressure anyone?) that we are able to bear but (always) will with each testing- provide (the LORD our Provider!) a way of escape.. G-d always gives us what we need-and when we need it. His grace is (always, Hallelujah!) “sufficient.” Oh and isn’t His grace (the goodness of G-d) not only sufficient, but we find (daily) – it is also “abundant”. And to this degree, the songwriter was absolutely “spot on” to say “amazing”.

  • Rodney February 24, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Another word related to shamar is the word for “thorn” – shamiyr. I am indebted to Jeff A Benner (Ancient Hebrew Research Centre) for the following:

    The Aaronic Blessing
    By Jeff A. Benner
    Most are familiar with the beginning of the Aaronic blessing; “May the LORD bless you and keep you” (Numbers 6:24). We often read or say these words without really knowing what they mean. The words “bless” and “keep” are abstract words which we are familiar with in English. But, the ancient Hebrews were concrete thinkers who related all things to concrete ideas.

    The Hebrew word for “bless” is “barak” which literally means “to kneel”. A berakah is a “blessing” but more literally, the bringing of a gift to another on a bended “knee”. When we bless God or others, we are in essence, bringing a gift on bended “knee”. A true king is one who serves his people, one who will humble himself and come to his people on a bended knee.

    The Hebrew word for “keep” is “shamar” which literally means “to guard”. A related word is “shamiyr” which means “thorn”. When the shepherd was out in the wilderness with his flock, he would construct a corral of thorn bushes to protect the sheep from predators, a guarding over of the sheep.

    With this more Hebraic concept of Hebrew words we can now read the beginning of the Aaronic blessing as, “Yahweh will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection”. The remaining portions of the Aaronic blessing can also be examined for its original Hebraic meaning revealing the following:

    “Yahweh will kneel before you presenting gifts and will guard you with a hedge of protection, Yahweh will illuminate the wholeness of his being toward you bringing order and he will beautify you, Yahweh will lift up his wholeness of being and look upon you and he will set in place all you need to be whole and complete.”

  • carl roberts February 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Rodney..- May I share this post in it’s entirety?

    -I’ve always heard about “praying a hedge of protection, ” but this excellent exposition and explanation brings the meaning of this far more into focus.

    • Rodney February 24, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      Shabbat Shalom, Carl. I don’t think there would be a problem with you sharing this post, but I cannot claim originality for it – it comes from Jeff Benner at Ancient Hebrew Research Centre (click on that link and it will take you to his site). He has an excellent video there giving a much fuller analysis of this blessing which I’m sure you’ll find helpful.

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