Saturday, 16 October 2021

Under His wings

We cannot expect His comfort and protection unless we come out of our self-reliance and humble ourselves before Him and tell Him that we trust in Him and need His protection
In our garden we have a lovely water feature which is visible from our living room window. It is a large rock with water bubbling gently out of a hole in the top and, as such, is a great attraction for the birds. They use it to drink from but what I find even more fascinating is when they use it as a shower. They spread one wing and then the other to wash underneath or to cool off in the summer. I am always amazed at the wing span of all the different varieties of birds, which always seems so large in proportion to the rest of the body.

It reminds me of the analogy that is used so often in the bible of being under or in the shadow of the wings of the Almighty. This metaphor of course comes from the very touching picture of chicks nestling under their mother’s wing for comfort and protection. I recently saw a short you tube video of a hen in a heavy storm. She was getting absolutely battered and soaked but she had her wings spread over her chicks on both sides of her, to protect them from the storm. What a perfect analogy!!

At the beginning of lockdown many of us read Psalm 91 as an uplifting reminder of God’s faithfulness to us. In Psalm 91:4 it says: He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge, his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. What a wonderful promise the Lord has given to us but first we must come to him to be protected. Chicks hurry to their mother when they have a need. They don’t just stand there and expect to be protected; they instinctively know they cannot do this on their own. We have to come to a recognition of our need of protection and seek to put ourselves under the wings of our creator.

David uses this analogy in his psalms. He recognised that God was his refuge and strength. Some translations of the bible give the heading of Psalm 63 as a ‘Psalm of David. When he was in the desert of Judah.’ It is obvious from this Psalm and others that David was a man, who trusted in God for his help and protection, wherever he was and whatever he was facing. In verse 7 it says: Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.  In Psalm 17 usually with the heading ‘A prayer of David’ it says in verses 8-9: Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.
In the wonderful story of Ruth we read that when Naomi’s husband and two sons die, while she is in Moab, a foreign country, she decides to go back home to Bethlehem. She tells her two daughters in law to go back to their families and find another husband. One goes back but the other, Ruth, insists on going with her. She says that Naomi’s people will be her people and Naomi’s God her God. She becomes a foreigner in a strange land but because she serves Naomi’s God, the one true God, everything works out for her. She is even part of the geneology of David and of course Jesus!! When she asks Boaz, who she eventually marries, why he is being so kind to her, his answer is this in Ruth 2:11-12: “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”  Ruth had to leave what was familiar to her, change her location and life-style completely to find refuge under the wings of the Lord. We can all find a place under His wings but we have to go to Him. We cannot expect His comfort and protection unless we come out of our self-reliance and humble ourselves before Him and tell Him that we trust in Him and need His protection. 

But we have to be willing. Our Lord Jesus himself laments over Jerusalem with these words in Luke 13:34: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. He says that He longed to gather them under His wings but they were not willing. It broke His heart but He would not force His protection on them. If they would not come voluntarily, He would not make them. The same applies to us. Let’s not take the Lord’s protection for granted. Let’s tell Him daily that we are trusting in Him for His covering and protection. This refuge was a privelege for Ruth, the Moabite foreigner and it is a privelege for us too. What a God we serve to allow us under His wings!!

In the words of Charles Spurgeon: ‘Oh tried ones, press closely to the loving heart of your Lord., hide yourself entirely beneath his wings. Here awe has disappeared, and rest itself is enhanced by the idea of loving trust. The little chicks are safe in their mother’s love, and we too are beyond measure secure and happy in the loving favour of the Lord.’

Author: Thelma Cameron

May God bless and enrich your life

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