“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. ” – Psalm 91:4 (ESV)
The imagery in this verse will be very familiar to anyone who has lived where their chickens have the run of the yard. When a hen’s brood has hatched, her chicks follow her wherever she goes. She leads them to food and they learn how to find it for themselves. If ever the shadow of a hawk passes over the hen she senses the danger and sends out a call to her chicks. They run to her and hide under her spread her wings. Her wing feathers keeping them safe from the sharp eyes of the hawk who can swiftly dive and snatch up the small chicks for a meal. That’s a metaphor the psalmist gives us of God’s faithful protection. God will cover us with his ‘pinions’ and we find refuge under His ‘wings.” Our God is spirit and doesn’t actually have wings or feathers but the psalmist says it this way to help us visualize God’s protection. It’s God’s faithfulness, not ours. God’s faithfulness is like a shield or buckler – a small shield worn on the arm. God, our protector, promises refuge and safe places we need. When we face threats from the devil we need protection.
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Psalm 46:1-3 (KJV)
It was just a few days ago that we considered the promises from God’s Word found in the book of Isaiah. The promise was that even if mountains may depart and the hills be removed, God’s love would never fail to be here for us. Today we consider again a comparison of God’s attributes with mountains being moved, this time into the sea. God promises to be our refuge (shelter) from storms and danger. Such threats are around us all the time and we may not even know every time we are in such peril. Think of those who were on that jet that lost most of an engine. Disasters happen and we are not always protected from them happening but God here promises that He is still our refuge and strength. Strong enough even to bring us into His presence or see us safely home. Floods and earthquakes are uncontrollable and nearly unpredictable as are the crises and circumstances that might knock us off our feet. But God is and will be with us protecting us from fear and trouble. Let’s hold tightly to these promises today and next time disaster threatens, no matter what kind it is.
“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:1 (NIV)
“Mercy me!” These days it is the name of a band and/or the name of a song sung by a different band. It is an exclamation with the same meaning as the words David wrote in this Psalm. He was calling on God for mercy and for protection. Twice David had an opportunity to dispatch King Saul who was hunting to kill him. What is interesting about this verse is the fact that when David wrote this song he was recalling when he was hiding in a cave where he had an opportunity to be rid the threat of death by killing Saul and being rid of him permanently. Instead, David hid in the cave and trusted God. David, anointed to be King after Saul, knew his own need for a refuge for his soul, and he found that in God. He could be secure and safe spiritually. He didn’t have to kill Saul. David chose to trust in God who promised to keep Him safe forever. We need and have the same refuge. God has promised us a safe place with Him for our souls, for eternity. So we can say with David, “We have our refuge in our God.”