How might the beautiful imagery of the shadow of God’s wings comfort and encourage a believer in the midst of hardships, grief, oppression, or other trials? This post will continue to answer that question begun in the previous post. All three entries in this series on “In the Shadow of His Wings” grew out of investigation of the metaphor in Psalm 57. David composed that psalm when on the run for his life.
Be gracious to me, O God, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by. I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me. (Ps. 57:1-2)
Other passages containing this metaphor and discussed in the previous posts include Deuteronomy 32:10-11; Ruth 2:12; Psalm 17:8; 61:4; and 91:1, 4; and Luke 13:34. The first post considered the imagery of the metaphor itself and answered the question, “Who finds refuge God to be a sure refuge?” The second post began to answer the question, “What are the rewards, the comforts and spiritual blessings, of taking refuge in God?” They were:
- Under God’s wing is redemption.
- Under God’s wing is a sphere of grace.
- Under God’s wing is intimacy with the loving God.
- Under God’s wing is refuge.
This post will complete a list of blessings. I hope that the elaboration in these three posts will encourage you. If you have not repented to trust in Christ alone, may these remind you of your unsheltered state, unsheltered from the consequences of sin, and attract you to submit to Christ. If you are a believer, especially if undergoing trials, I hope it lifts your heart to remember how gracious God is, and may you be encouraged to depend upon Him for the strength to submit to His will in your trial. How bountiful are His provisions under His wing! And so, continuing the blessings seen in this wonderful imagery: Under God’s wing is growth in Christlikeness. God may allow a few arrows through His feathery shield or under the eaves of the shelter (Ps. 91:6-7), like He did many times in David’s life. But always, His faithful covenantal love (Ps. 52:10) moderates and works to turn the trial to the good of the one who takes shelter under His wings. Then, even in danger the trusting one finds rest. For example, from under that shelter David said that God accomplishes His purpose (Ps. 57:2). “In the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge…I will cry…to God who accomplishes all things for me.” Romans 8:28-29 echoes.
God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.
He accomplishes our growth by the Holy Spirit’s loving application of His Word to the problems and sin issues of our lives (John 17:17). You can know that God lovingly, sovereignly plans each trial for your welfare as well as His glory. He will use it for the development of Christlikeness in you. Meanwhile, you can give thanks to God Most High and persevere in obedience in the midst of your trials. Under God’s wing are abundant satisfaction and delights. In Psalm 36:7 David wrote,
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.
Lovingkindness, God’s loyal love exercised in His covenant with His own, is indeed precious! Because of it, the one who takes refuge in it has limitless access to the abundance of His house. There is Christ, who is grace and truth. Christ is the bread of life; He is food and drink (John 6:35, 55). He satisfies the soul that hungers for righteousness, clothing that soul with His own righteousness (Matt. 5:6). Christ gives living water, and the soul that drinks it will never thirst (John 4). He is infinite, and so one may drink his fill of the abundance of His house and then drink some more because His abundance is never depleted. The river of His delights flows unendingly, widely, deeply, purely. The abundance in His house of food and drink and raiment and untold treasures to enjoy provides far beyond what will satisfy the thirstiest resident. Under God’s wing are great joy and song. Even amidst threat of discovery, from under God’s sheltering wing David sang this praise:
Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. (57:5)
He repeated it.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth. (57:11)
At another time, hiding from Saul in the wilderness, David thirsted for God and found His wing of protective companionship to be a refreshing spring of water that lifted his heart. He sang,
For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. (Ps. 63:7)
Clinging, David kept himself under God’s protective rule. There, God was his help through the difficulty. There, God was his fresh water, quenching his soul’s thirst. There, God was his relief from the heat. There, he feasted on the character of God and was strengthened. So we, too, can take refuge under His wing, an unbeliever in repentance for salvation and a believer for comfort and grace amidst trials. Under His wing is forgiveness of sins, the hope of eternity with God, grace for godly living in trials. There is spiritual safety and rest from fatigue. There is His faithful presence, intimate communion, and unending satisfaction and delight. In the shadow of His wings we can joyfully sing,
Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth.