Summary: Angels surround you when you’re alive, and they accompany you when you die, carrying you into the very presence of God Himself, so ask God to open your eyes and don’t be afraid.
Several years ago, Philip Bump, a technology writer for The Atlantic, wrote an article about Santa’s Christmas Eve workload. He calculated the number of Christian children in the world and the geographic distribution of those children around the globe. After factoring in all the nuances of time zones, distance between houses, and how many children live in each house, Bump shared his conclusions about Santa's Christmas Eve task:
[Based on CIA estimates] there are just over 526,000,000 Christian kids under the age of 14 in the world, who celebrate Christmas on December 25th. That means Santa has to deliver presents to almost 22 million kids an hour the night before Christmas. That's about 365,000 kids a minute or 6,100 a second.
All in all, Santa has an enormous job to do! He has to serve over half a billion kids in one night as he pulls a huge sleigh with nine reindeer, while he tries to avoid being detected and shot down by the North America Aerospace Defense Command—and don't forget that one of his reindeer has a very shiny nose. (Philip Bump, "Santa's Christmas Eve Workload, Calculated," The Atlantic, 12-14-11; www.PreachingToday.com)
If you thought Christmas was stressful for you, imagine having Santa’s job! But even if you did, you’d have God’s angels ministering to and protecting you. Last week, we saw the angels as “ministering spirits sent out to serve” all who believe in Jesus (Hebrews 1:14).
This week, we’ll see them as protecting spirits sent out to guard all who believe in Jesus. Psalm 34:7 says, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them.” And Psalm 91:11 says, The Lord “will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.
THE ANGELS PROTECTED ELISHA AND HIS SERVANT.
2 Kings 6:8-14 Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice. And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city. (ESV)
Syria, a nation just to the north and east of Israel, is at war with Israel. The king of Syria devises some terrific battle plans, but before he can execute them, the king of Israel has already anticipated those plans and thwarted them.
When this happens more than once or twice, the king of Syria looks at his advisors and says, “O.K., which one of you is spying for Israel.”
They all deny it, but one of them says, “There is a prophet in Israel who knows everything you say. He even knows thing we don’t know – things like those private, intimate things you say to your wife in your bedroom – and he tells Israel’s king all about it.”
So the king of Syria says, “Let’s get him!” and he sends an army to capture Elisha.
2 Kings 6:15-16 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (ESV)
I don’t know about you, but I can see Elisha’s servant doing a double-take. He looks at Elisha, and he goes, “One - two.” Then, he looks out all around the city and he goes, “One - two - three - four - five - six… There are thousands of them out there! I think the old man has finally flipped. How does he get off saying, “There are more with us than with them?”