Niccoló Machiavelli famously warned that ‘there is nothing more difficult… more perilous to conduct… than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.’

To be a pioneer is to be a scout who travels up front, opening up new frontiers and encountering both the wonders and the dangers of uncharted territory before anyone else does. The risks are great but so are the potential rewards. Those who follow afterwards reap the benefit of the vanguard’s efforts.  

When it comes to the threshold into our calling, we are all pioneers. There is no one to follow—because no one else has the unique destiny God has prepared for us. As we pass over the threshold, we head into places where we’ve never been before—or, if we have, it was just for a moment. Perhaps we did just get a toe in the door once, before it suddenly slammed in our face, crushing a foot in the process. Naturally, if we’ve experienced brutality or treachery on the threshold, if we’ve been stabbed in the back or repulsed in an unexpected attack, we’ve become very wary of trying again.

In the spirit world, thresholds are guarded by angelic beings. In fact, one of the signature clues within Scripture that an event actually constitutes a threshold moment is the appearance of an angel. It’s a hint that a new era is about to unfold.

Angels and thresholds go together—regardless of whether those thresholds are physical ones or spiritual ones. From the angels at the gates of Eden to the angel who rescued Peter from prison and left him just after the city gates; from the angel who appeared in answer to Daniel’s prayer to the angels who terrified the Roman soldiers at the tomb of Jesus; from the angel who appeared to the parents of Samson to the angel who informed Zachary his desire for a son was answered; from the angel who appeared to Mary to tell her she was invited to become the mother of the Messiah to the angels who rebuked the disciples after the ascension of Jesus—all of them, every one, appears at a physical gateway or at a time when a spiritual transition was about to occur. A divine door was in the process of opening or closing.

But why is it that angels and thresholds go together? Simply because of the danger of the pioneering aspect of the situation. As Machiavelli said, there’s nothing more difficult, more perilous, than to take the lead in an entirely new venture.

Angels are there to protect us from the enemy. They are ready to minister to us, just as they did for Jesus after He’d been tested at the start of His ministry. They’re not going to do the tests for us—that would defeat the purpose of the trial. Yet they are there to fight on our behalf—if we let them.

This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. May the Lord of Angel Armies defend you today.

Thank you to Lorna Skinner of for the background music.