Angels in the Lives of Others

Yael Eckstein  |  September 3, 2021

Statue of an angel holding flowers with greenery behind it.

To humans belong the plans of the heart,
    but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
— Proverbs 16:1

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

Recently, I came across a beautiful teaching that I want to share with you. A great 18th-century Italian rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, wrote that sometimes people become angels in the lives of other people. At first, I was confused by his statement. How can a person become an angel?

Rabbi Luzzatto explained that an angel is a messenger who is sent to earth to carry out a task for God. This is how God intervenes in our lives. Well, sometimes instead of sending an actual angel God uses us. God will direct our actions and speech not for our own sake but for the purpose of changing someone else’s life.

In other words, we become angels in the lives of others, whether we realize it or not.

Angels in the Lives of Others

I thought about this teaching as I began reading Proverbs 16. We make all kinds of plans in our hearts. We calculate and come to decisions about what we are going to do or say. But the one factor that we may not take into consideration is that God has plans as well. And if our plan doesn’t fit with His plan, no matter what we decide, God will have His way. The “proper answer of the tongue” is the effect of our decisions, how they affect the world around us.

Proverbs teaches us that when our decisions about what to do or say don’t come out as we anticipated, we shouldn’t get frustrated. We must have faith that God is in control. And we must be humble enough to realize that the reason that our plans changed may have nothing to do with God’s plan for us. It may be because He’s using us as angels in the lives of others, carrying out a mission in His plan for someone else.

The flipside of this verse is that when our plans do work out as we anticipated, we must still realize that we don’t deserve the credit. For whatever our plans are, it is only God who decides how they will be fulfilled. We must always include a prayer to God that His will be done, and that He will use us as His angels in the lives of others.

Your Turn:

Pray to God today, acknowledging His control over the results of your decisions.