The Shelter of His Wings
I've been reading through the Bible again, a few chapters in the OT, one in the NT, each morning. I've settled into a routine of reading two chapters in the historical books (I've just started Joshua), a couple of chapters in the prophetic books (presently into Isaiah), perhaps a Psalm or a chapter of Proverbs, and then one chapter of the NT (currently in Luke). The idea is to finish the OT and the NT at about the same time, which requires about a 5 chapters to 1 ratio. All this may sound rather confusing, but it's really not. And one of the neat things that can happen is that you often get this correspondence of messages from two or more sections of the daily reading. I like to think of this as a divine coincidence!
For example: yesterday I read Psalm 36. There, at verse 7, you find, "How precious is thy steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of thy wings."
And I also read Luke 13, verse 34, where we read, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!"
This imagery of wings as a form of shelter does not perhaps come naturally to the modern imagination. It's barnyard imagery, the kind of thing rural people might see pretty frequently. A mother hen, sensing the presence of danger, perhaps a hovering hawk, gathers its chicks under her wings to keep them safe.
The problem is, as I imagine it, that the chicks might not want to stay tucked away there. Chicks, I think, are by nature busy and impatient. Let's suppose the farmer had recently scattered feed all around the barnyard. And there it is, lying on the ground just beyond the feathery shelter of your mother's wings--food!
Temptation works this way. It lures us out from the shelter, the safe place, the refuge of the Lord. Come away, come away, it beckons. There's nothing to fear. By this means the devil leads you on, another step and another step, further and further from refuge. It's the kind of thinking that had lead Israel astray again and again, and that caused Jesus to weep over Jerusalem.
That's why it's always helpful to remind ourselves, along with the Psalmist:
How precious is thy steadfast love, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of thy wings.
They feast on the abundance of thy house, and thou givest them drink from the river of thy delights.
For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light do we see light.