In The Shadow Of His Wings
One of the most comforting thoughts in Scripture is the idea of living in the shadow of the wings of Almighty God. The image of a mother bird with wings outstretched to shield her chicks from danger and the elements is one with which most are familiar. The story is told of park rangers in Yellowstone surveying the charred landscape after lightning had ignited a rather large-scale forest fire. While walking through the ravaged remains of the once lush forest, a park ranger heard the sound of young birds chirping at the base of a tree. He followed the sound to find a mother bird facing the base of a large tree with wings outstretched, singed to death by the heat of the blaze. As the park ranger moved the deceased bird, he found a number of chicks that had survived the fire because of the sacrifice of the mother. Jesus drew upon this imagery as he looked out over the city of Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 22:37). God extends to all men the opportunity to dwell in the shadow of His wings. Just what do we find therein?
In the shadow of God’s wings we find AFFECTION. The psalmist wrote, “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalm 17:8). David’s prayer was that God might always set His affections upon His faithful children. Jehovah set His affection upon the sons of Jacob (Deut.32:10) so that through the blessed seed-line the Christ might come into the world to bless all men. Even when Israel and Judah rebelled against the goodness and mercy of the Almighty, He still looked upon them as the apple of His eye (Zech.2:8). Job asked, “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify Him? And that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?” (Job 7:17). While we are not deserving of God’s loving-favor, we are nonetheless grateful for it! The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous (1 Peter 3:12). Since He is faithful to keep us in His affection, shouldn’t we set our hearts upon Him? “Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye” (Proverbs 7:2).
In the shadow of God’s wings we find PROTECTION. During a time of great duress and calamity, the psalmist poured out his soul: “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast” (Psalm 57:1). In another place he would pen these words: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:4). We serve a God who will protect His children! He is our refuge and strength (Psa.46:1). We can turn to Him in the storms of life, knowing that He will safely carry us through. We sometimes sing, “Dear Lord, whate’re the storm may be, I’ll simply trust in thee.” Children of God have the assurance that He will be with us, even in the difficulties of life. There is comfort in knowing that the wings of Jehovah are outstretched over the lives of His children.
In the shadow of God’s wings we find time for REFLECTION. As the psalmist had opportunity to meditate upon God and His word, he declared, “My mouth shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice” (Psalm 67:5-7). When we stop to consider all that God has done for us, how can we not be overwhelmed? Knowing that He loves me, provides for me, and protects me thrills my soul and fills me with gladness and gratitude. God is good to His people, and living in the shadow of His wings gives us time to pause and consider that goodness.