Friday, January 21, 2011

In the Shadow of Your Wings

I will sing your praise in the shadow of your wings. The shadow is God’s protection and His wings reach to the end of the universe and beyond. Psalm 36:5-8 “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

In the dog days of summer when the heat from the sun is so hot it parches the grass and dries up the fields. The shade from a tree can protect everything in its shadow. The shadow cools our body temperature and protects us from burning up like dry grass. If we go out from the shadow or shade of the tree we are left to the elements. It reminds me of a time when I went camping with my friend and my two children. We didn’t have a tarp up and without much warning a storm raged through the camp. The trees began to sway violently from the strong winds, the clouds darkened and thunder roared in the distance. Quickly we ran and huddled under the protection of this big cedar tree. The branches were just high enough and thick enough that we actually kept fairly try. The storm was a cloud burst which only lasted about five minutes. We stood in the eye of the storm and watched as it marched through our camp like an army of soldiers riding on flying horses searching everything in its path. The entire time we remained protected. The feeling I had was one of awe as I watch the power of the storm. My heart rate elevated because I was a little afraid, thinking that we might actually be blown away at any minute by a tornado. The wind subsided as quickly as it began and the sun began to shine again.

During those few minutes we found refuge in the shadow of a tree. The psalmist understood the complexity of God, His shadow and the expanse of God’s wings. The word “wings” is a metaphor for the protective outreach of God’s power. The word “shadow” was a conventional Hebrew metaphor for protection against oppression as shade protects from the oppressive heat of the hot desert sun. He was asking God for protection from his enemies who surrounded him and wanted to kill him. The psalmist recognized that the safest place to be was in the shadow of God’s wings.

Today we are surrounded by a clever enemy who pretends to be our friend and lavishes us with everything that feels good, sounds good, there for it must be good. In reality this enemy is killing our souls as we stray from God’s truths and accept many lies contrary to the word of God. Lord I ask that you hide me in the shadow of your wings, where I’ll praise your name. Hide me from the temptations to compromise your standards. It is so easy to follow the sheep right off the cliff. Isaiah 53:6 – We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him (our Saviour - Jesus Christ ) the iniquity of us all.”

For more background study read the book of Isaiah. If you would like a study bible I can get you one. Leave a comment saying you would like one.

The prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament writings prophesies in the book of Isaiah chapter 53 regarding Christ and his death and salvation. The interesting fact is that Isaiah lived centuries before Christ.