Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
For you, God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Increase the days of the king’s life,
his years for many generations.
May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever;
appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.
Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
and fulfill my vows day after day.
In this beautiful psalm of trust and protection, David speaks about taking refuge in the shelter of God's wings. He is obviously speaking metaphorically, thinking about the wings of an eagle that their chicks find security in.
Eagles are fascinating creatures. They are known for their impressive wingspan and ability to soar to great heights. They build their nests high in the mountains or tall trees, creating a safe and sturdy place for their young.
Eagles are devoted parents. When it comes to protecting their chicks, they display remarkable care and vigilance. When danger approaches, the mother eagle spreads her wings wide and invites her young ones to seek shelter underneath.
The eaglets find safety and comfort beneath the outstretched wings of their mother, shielded from harm and nurtured in her presence. This is the imagery that David calls to mind to convey God's loving care and protection toward his people.
In the New Testament, Jesus also draws upon this imagery of chicks sheltering under their mother's wings, although the context is vastly different. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem," he cries. "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!" (Matthew 23:37).
Jesus is lamenting over the rejection from the people of Jerusalem, particularly their religious leaders. He uses the metaphor of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings to depict his desire to protect and care for the people, providing them shelter and security. However, he also acknowledges their unwillingness to receive his love and guidance.
We, too, have a choice when it comes to trusting God to provide us with the security we all need. We can depend on him, or we can try to secure it on our own. How has it worked out for those of you who have struck out on your own? Not too well, right? Let God enfold us in his wings. We will have far less to stress about.
May the Spirit be with you.