Monday, October 13, 2008

Shadow of His Wings (part 2)

Here are the verses that speak of finding refuge in the shelter of God's wings. The first one is Boaz speaking to Ruth, blessing her for staying with her mother-in-law, even though it meant leaving her own people:

Ruth 2:12 “May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

The next four are all Psalms written by David:

Psalm 17:8-9 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.

Psalm 36:7 How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 57:1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.

Psalm 63:7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (while refuge is not actually mentioned here, I love the image of singing in the shadow of His wings!)

This last one may have been a prayer of Moses. That would surprise me for some reason. I guess I never thought of Moses as a poet. If you have a chance, read the whole Psalm. (The first verse of this Psalm is my favorite Bible verse.)

Psalm 91:2-4 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Think about the times that your children come and want to sit in your lap. It’s when they are hurt, or frightened, or just need calming down before going to bed. I remember once when M woke up from a nap to find that we had company. It was people she knew, but she was still uncomfortable. She would not get down off my lap. In fact she wouldn’t even turn around and look at them. She kept her face pressed into my neck for about an hour.

When you are hurt, what do you want? To put it simply, you want someone to kiss it and make it better.

Look at the 61st Psalm. Notice how it starts, then pay attention to how it ends.
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. Selah
For you have heard my vows, O God; 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 will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day.

From Henry’s Concise Commentary on Psalm 61 (verses 1-4):
“David begins with prayers and tears, but ends with praise. Thus the soul, being lifted up to God, returns to the enjoyment of itself. Wherever we are, we have liberty to draw near to God, and may find a way open to the throne of grace. And that which separates us from other comforts, should drive us nearer to God, the fountain of all comfort. Though the heart is overwhelmed, yet it may be lifted up to God in prayer. Nay, I will cry unto thee, for by that means it will be supported and relieved. Weeping must quicken praying, and not deaden it. . . . The grace of God shall be his constant comfort.”

Take the time to look up each of the Psalms listed in this post. Each selection begins with trouble or pain but ends with praise or at least confidence of deliverance. I didn’t pick these verses because they fit that pattern. The pattern was suggested to me in Matthew Henry’s commentary for Psalm 61. Out of curiosity, I went back and looked at the verses about wings that I had picked out 3 or 4 months previously. The pattern is the same. And it’s not just David and the other Psalmists. Look at how Malachi puts it.

Malachi 4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

Praise must follow deliverance just as surely as prayer springs from need. The group Third Day has a song "Your Love, Oh Lord" with this line:
And I will lift my voice
To worship You, my King
And I will find my strength
In the shadow of Your wings
Under His wings is where we find our strength, but it's not where we use that strength. We'll look at that next time.

1 comment:

  1. Thank-you for posting this! This is exactly what I needed at this moment in time. Be abundantly blessed!!! :)