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Daily Devotional | God with us: The Gospel of Matthew | Man fishing with a net. Daily Devotional | God with us: The Gospel of Matthew | Man fishing with a net.

Daily Devotional | God’s Yearning Presence


When a bird is born, the fledgling is small and vulnerable. It doesn’t yet have the fully grown feathers to protect its body. So to keep her babies safe and warm, the mother places her own wings over them. Her presence provides protection, comfort, and assurance of love. Often in Scripture, we see the description of God as a parental bird, keeping us safe under His wings.

In Matthew 23, Jesus laments over Jerusalem, longing to gather its inhabitants as a hen gathers her chicks, but they were unwilling (v. 37). This vivid imagery reflects the depth of God’s longing to protect and comfort His people. It’s a poignant reminder of God’s constant, enveloping presence that we sometimes resist. Jesus agonized over their rejection, yet His arms remained open and His protective presence ever available.

The passage is filled with warnings regarding the Pharisees. Again and again, Jesus calls them “hypocrites,” “snakes,” and a “brood of vipers!” (vv. 13, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29, 33). He warns of the results of their blatant disobedience. The passage concludes with Jesus’ prophetic words: “For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (v. 39). This is not only a prediction of Jerusalem’s dark future because they were not willing to embrace Him but also an invitation open to any who will recognize and welcome Him.

There is a striking contrast between the strong words aimed at the Jewish leaders and the warm, intimate image of a hen gathering her chicks (v. 37). We are reminded of God’s intimate, protective, and loving embrace—a holy longing for us to be in fellowship with Him. It’s a call to come home, to step into the circle of His love, and to experience the fullness of life within His presence.

Go Deeper

What does the image of God as a parental bird mean to you? What does this image teach us about our relationship with Him?

Pray with Us: Christ, we long for fellowship with You, but we confess we’re often distracted by the temptations and worries of this world. Thank You for Your call to come home into Your loving embrace. We’re lost and homeless until we hear Your call!

BY James Coakley

Dr. Jim Coakleyis professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute. He earned his BA in Pastoral Studies from Calvary Bible College, his M.Div. and Th.M. in Old Testament from Grace Theological Seminary, and his doctorate from Covenant Theological Seminary. Jim is the author of 14 Fresh Ways to Enjoy the Bible (Moody Publishers). He and his wife, Gayle, live in the western suburbs of Chicago and have two adult children and three grandchildren. 

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