How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.Psalm 36:7
There is interesting imagery here of trust in God that is similar to being protected by him as a bird might shelter their young under their wings. This type of imagery evokes elements of danger in which the parent hides and camouflages its young from any predators that might by in the vicinity. The parent bird, vigilant and alert, watches for any signs of danger, and is willing to fend off any careless intruders.
Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.
Psalm 61:4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah
Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
The Hebrew word for trust in these passages encompasses ideas of refuge, safety from danger, protection. In studying this metaphor, I stumbled across a reader comment who had experience with farmyard birds and their behaviors:
I used to raise chickens. The hens would spread their wings, scoop up the babies and gather them underneath their wings. The faces of the hens would shine with contentment, knowing the babies were being kept warm and safe. One of my hens was protecting her eggs when the rooster let her know that he wanted her to get off the eggs and mate with him. She refused to put her babies in jeopardy. So, the rooster pecked her in the head in a violent attach until she lost consciousness. He also killed her babies. She was willing to die for the safety of her babies. My young son gave the rooster away, nursed her back to health by feeding her water with a dropper, and placed new eggs under her from a neighbor’s chicken. She recovered to enjoy her new family. Indeed, hens will go to their death for the sake of their children.Why is the Hen Gathering Her Chicks? (Matt 23:37; Luke 13:34) | HolyLandPhotos’ Blog (wordpress.com)
This reality comes into stark relief against the backdrop of first-century Israel, when Yeshua himself speaks for the Father’s care and concern over Israel.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling!Matthew 23:37
Jerusalem and Israel would be destroyed because of their stubbornness and refusal to trust in Yeshua and rest securely in God’s protective care, a prophetic prediction that would come to pass 40 years later.
For us today, the word trust is defined as “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” When we flee to the refuge of God’s care and protection under his wings, we are demonstrating our total dependence on him that he is able, and willing, to keep our spiritual lives safely protected within his watchful care.
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