Summary: Message focuses on walking in Jesus' shadow and protection.
Beneath His Wings
Psalm 91:2-6 says “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day; nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”
I shared this story with the congregation last week so for some of you this will be a repeat. When I was growing up, I never wanted to be the adult; to have to make the decisions and be the one in charge. I loved that my parents took care of everything and all I had to do was stay under the covering they provided. When something went wrong in the house, it was not my responsibility to fix it; it was theirs. No matter what was happening in my life as a child, my parents were always there to take care of me. During that time of my life, as it was with each of you, I was covered under their “wings” and walked in the shadow of their protection. I was reminded of this last week while we were on vacation.
While we were out in Washington DC, we went to visit George Washington Mt. Vernon estate. As we were waiting to board a cruise ship of the Potomac River, I looked up at this tall tree where an eagle had its nest. The eagle was sitting there and at times would spread it massive wings. There were also small chicks in the nest that would stick their heads up every now and then. As I stared at this nest, I noticed something strange. There were several small birds that had made their home under the eagle’s nest. They were flying around and landing under the nest and the eagle did not seem to mind at all. These smaller birds apparently understood that no other bird of prey would attack that nest and they would be safe. They also could eat the crumbs that fell through the holes in the nest that the chicks did not eat. When I saw this I thought about Jesus’ interaction with the Canaanite woman who was seeking Jesus’ help for her daughter. Jesus told her it was not right to throw the children’s bread to the dogs. But the woman said, “Yes Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” (Matthew 15:21-28) These small birds where feeding off the crumbs that fell from the master’s table (the eagle).
As I watched this nest for several minutes I thought about our relationship with Christ; my relationship with my parents and finally I thought my relationship with each of you – as your pastor. In these messages over the next couple of weeks, I want to examine each of these relationships from the viewpoint of walking beneath the wings for protection. This morning I will spend time focusing on our being beneath the wings of Christ. Next week, we will look at being under the wings of a parent figure which trains us for how we take others under our wings. And finally I will conclude this series by looking at how we can incorporate the learning from being under the wings of Christ and our parents to how as Christians we should be spreading our wings to allow others to receive from us until they are able to stand up and stretch their own wings.
As we consider the focus of this series, I want you to understand a couple of points that I will continue to make during the next couple of weeks. The first point pertains to the purpose of why a bird would spread its wings over its chicks. The reason is for protection – to cover them. I recently ready a story (not sure if it’s true or not, but it fits this message), about a farmer who had a fire in the barn. After the fire was put out, the farmer walked through the ruins. He came across a hen that was burned to death. He slightly kicked the dead hen with his foot and to his surprise there was movement. The movement did not come from the dead hen, but from the chicks under her body. She had spread her wings and covered her chicks and gave her life that they might live. When a bird covers its chicks with its wings, it is in an effort to protect them.