A baby bird is entirely dependent on its parents for survival. The tiny creature lacks the ability to procure food or defend itself, even against the least agile predators. For safety a baby bird relies on its parents. In the face of danger, many bird species will shield their young by covering them with their wings, safeguarding them from predators or inclement weather.
Today’s reading abounds with protective metaphors for God. God is a “shelter,” “refuge,” and “fortress” (vv. 1–2). One of the most poignant metaphors compares God to a bird sheltering its offspring under its wings. For a baby bird, there is no safer place on earth than under the wing of the parent.
The Bible frequently states that we live in a world filled with threats. This psalm lists pestilence, plagues, and the threat of foreign armies as just a few examples (vv. 6–8). These threats can easily become the focus of our lives. We worry about losing our job, our health, or our relationships. The truth is that sometimes we do lose those things. The world is not a safe place. Yet, this psalm reminds us of another reality. These threats are not beyond God’s protective care or supervision.
How are we to understand the lavish promises in this psalm? The psalmist declares that “no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent” (v. 10). Yet we may wonder why our daily experience proves otherwise. Many of the most godly people in the Bible faced persecution and suffering.
These promises are best understood when referring to God’s ultimate defeat of evil at the return of Christ. While sitting in a prison cell, Paul wrote, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:18).
>> Are you facing difficulties? No matter how threatening life can be on earth, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. His is a wing under which you can always find shelter.
We do not understand why You allow evil to unfold in the world, but we take comfort in the knowledge that nothing is outside Your control. Shelter us under Your wings and secure our faith in You.