Have you ever been told something so exciting that you couldn’t wait to tell everyone else? It might have been the announcement that a baby was born or that someone got engaged or a myriad of other things that were so exciting that the fact that it happened meant that lives would be changed.
Now imagine that this exciting news was told to you by an army of angels. That’s exactly what happened to a group of lowly shepherds the night of Jesus’ birth. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13-14). Translated in many English versions as host, the group that greeted the shepherds is better translated army. The defenders of heaven. Michael and his legions.
When you step back to think about it, that makes perfect sense. The only Son of the Creator was being born in human form to live a human life with all our human vulnerabilities. The fact that God sent His army shows us that He would not leave Him unprotected. This was no normal birth, and this was no normal baby. He had come for a very important purpose that had to be satisfied. His protection would have been paramount. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12).
The Bible speaks of the angel host in military terms throughout Scripture:
“When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’S army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:13-15).
“The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42).
“Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea,” (Revelation 7:2).
“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).
It’s not really surprising that God would send His army to such an important event. All of heaven was rejoicing in one chorus and all would have been called to witness the beginning of a life that would eventually die to save all believers from sin and death. Jesus came to fight for all of mankind as King and Savior, its only natural that Hs army would be at His side.
The main purpose of God’s Heavenly Host is to provide strength to all believers along with the assurance of God’s protection in a world that is opposed to Him. They fight battles we don’t see and the Lord of Hosts is there to lead them.
The same host that were there to greet the Christ child and to proclaim His birth to the shepherds are the same heavenly army that works good into the lives of people still today under the command of the Most High. At the Father’s bidding, they defend against the devil and all his ways for our benefit.
Trust in the Lord to protect you as he works behind the scenes with His heavenly host to bring peace out of chaos and joy out of anger. He will protect you and keep you all of your days. He will guard your soul in this life and in the life to come. Just as the baby Jesus was precious in the sight of His Father in heaven, so are you. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for the protection you offer us and forgive us for those times we have taken that protection for granted. Help us to trust in you in all things. Amen.