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Kanafim – wings of protection

September 10, 2006
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One beautiful picture of God’s protectiveness is expressed in the idea of our “finding refuge in the shadow of God’s wings,” seen frequently in the Psalms:

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in You my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed” (Psalm 57:1).

“I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings” (Psalm 61:4).

“Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 63:7).

This lovely image comes from the picture of eagles and other birds that spread their wings over their nests to protect their chicks from the sun, rain, and predators. Birds are known to be extremely protective of their young, even sacrificing their own lives to save them. We can see this as a picture of God’s powerful love in the following story by Sundar Singh, an evangelist in India during the last century:

Once, as I traveled through the Himalayas, there was a great forest fire. Everyone was frantically trying to fight the fire, but I noticed a group of men standing and looking up into a tree that was about to go up in flames, when I asked them what they were looking at, they pointed up at a nest full of young birds. Above it, the mother bird was circling wildly in the air and calling out warnings to her young ones. There was nothing she or we could do, and soon the flames started climbing up the branches.

As the nest caught fire, we were all amazed to see how the mother bird reacted. Instead of flying away from the flames, she flew down and settled on the nest, covering her little ones with her wings. The next moment, she and her nestlings were burnt to ashes. None of us could believe our eyes. I turned to those standing by and said: “We have witnessed a truly marvelous thing. God created that bird with such love and devotion, that she gave her life trying to protect her young. If her small heart was so full of love, how unfathomable must be the love of her Creator. That is the love that brought Him down from heaven to become man. That is the love that made Him suffer a painful death for our sake.


Photo Credit: By Lois Tverberg & Bruce Okkema

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