"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." (Psalm 91:4)
An article in National Geographic several years ago provided a penetrating picture of God's wings. After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their trek up the mountain to assess the inferno's damage. One ranger found a bird literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of the tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother's wings. The loving mother, keenly aware of the pending disaster, had carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, knowing instinctively that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat had singed her small body, the mother had remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.
Now listen as Jesus laments over the city of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37. He says, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing." As Jesus makes this statement he has resolutely fixed his path toward the cross of Calvary (Luke 13:32-35). As he considered his purpose he aches to bring in the whole house of Israel under the protection of his blood; he desires to bring them under the safety of his wings. As Jesus makes this heart-felt cry over Jerusalem he stands upon the Mount of Olives which is a hill facing the old city of Jerusalem, on the eastern side of the Kidron valley. From that location Jesus would be able to look over the temple wall. Inside the temple animal sacrifices were being done, the blood being spilt upon the alter. This is because, as the Hebrew writer tells us, "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22). But the Hebrew writer goes on to say in 10:4, "It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." So, Peter will tell us that the One whose blood could take away sins was standing upon that mount. He says, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Yet it was probably not His blood Jesus was thinking of when he makes his lament over Jerusalem. In the very next chapter, chapter 24, Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple (Matthew 24:2, "Do you see all these things?" he asked."Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."). In AD 70 that prophecy would be fulfilled. From the same spot that Jesus stood upon and cried over the city the future Roman Emperor Titus would stand as the Roman army lay siege to the city of Jerusalem. When they took the city it is said that the streets ran red with the blood of the people. The temple was destroyed. The stones themselves being thrown down to get the gold embossed in them and not one stone stood upon another. The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70 was to be a foreshadowing of Jesus future return and the final judgement to come.
Just as Jerusalem could have been saved if they had run under the protection of Jesus wings so we too have the same opportunity to take refuge under those wings and be saved and protected from the coming judgement. Now is the time for the chicks to scurry under His wings. Now is the time to find safety in Jesus. Have you sought his protection? The fire approaches. The danger is real. Let us hide ourselves under His wings. "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." (Psalm 91:4)
Prayer: Father, You alone can cover us and protect us from the coming judgement. We seek refuge under the protective wings of Jesus washed white in His blood. Thank you for His safety, grace and blood spilt for us. He died and took our penalty upon Himself that we may be saved. In His great and powerful name we pray our gratitude. In Jesus, amen.