Under the shadow of God’s wings

eagle-162198_640Psalm 36:7: How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

God in the rescue of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt was described as eagle. The bible says that God brought them to himself on eagles wings (Exodus 19:4, Deuteronomy 32:8-11). That is the rescuing God; but his protective dimension is seen in the focus verse. The eagle is a bird with certain characteristics that can be used to describe divinity. In some vision of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:10) and in the book of Revelation (Revelation 4:6-7), the head an eagle was on certain creatures that are near the throne of God.

Eagles (the big high soaring ones, which build nests on mountains [or other high places] which form the focus on this discuss) are majestic in view, spectacular hunters with long spread of the wings.

Majesty

The eagle is noted for the ability to soar to high heights that many other birds can only dream off; it can soar higher even in strong winds. It has captured the imagination of man for centuries, and the result is that it is the most common animal as national symbol across the world.

When we view the majesty of God, we want to bow and worship. When John saw Jesus in his majestic appearance, he fell at his feet, as if dead (Revelation 1:12-17). In many of the words of David in the book of psalm, he expresses the majesty of God. He is recognised as the great one, the mighty one (Psalm 50:1). He wrote: how majestic is your name in all the earth (Psalm 8:1, 9)! The heavens declare the glory of the Lord (Psalm 19). The location of God is in heaven from where he looks at the affairs of the children of men, seeing everything and knowing everything. Jesus asked us to pray to “our father who is in heaven.” Not only that, but in Christ we get to dwell in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3, 2:4-6); our habitation is in the spiritual realm of God. We are children of the eagle, able to soar in the high places.

Accuracy

With amazing vision, the eagle can spot a prey from a long distance, and zoom in to make the kill. It has amazing killer instinct. It has accurate judgement. Of Jesus it was said that he does not need anyone to tell him about man because he knows what was in man (John 2:25). He knows you through and through. David said that God knows his sleeping and rising up, his coming in and going out (Psalm 139:2). Because of his accurate knowledge, he could intervene accurately on our behalf. And Jesus said that the father has committed all judgement to him (John 5:22).

His eyes moves to and from on the earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards him (2Chronicles 16:9). God has the accurate picture of your future. He made you and has an eternal view of you. Paul said that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has ordained beforehand in Christ Jesus that we should walk in (Ephesians 2:10).

Paul said that God separated him to be an apostle from his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15). James said that known to God are all his works from the beginning of the world (Acts 15:18). The best we can do is to submit to him and not try to act as if we can instruct him.

Covering

The eagle has a wide wing breath, which shows why the psalmist ascribed to God wings with which he protects the people. Humanity the psalmist says revelled in the protective love of God. There is the ozone layer which protects humans from the harmful rays from the sun. That is the wing, God’s protective spread over us.

Jeremiah says that it is through the mercy of God that we are not consumed, because his compassion fails not (Lamentation 3:22). Mercy is love in action, compassion is love in emotion, and both work hand in hand, but the challenge is for the compassion to be converted into action as acts of mercy. God has extended his mercy to us in Christ Jesus, do we receive him? Also, how much are we like him, sharing his compassion, and following his examples in showing acts of mercy?

John told the people that that they should not shut their bowels of compassion (1John 3:17). That means after they feel the motion of love (as they recognise the need of others, and know that they could do something about it), they should not allow other considerations to stop them from expressing hands of mercy.

Jesus as a shepherd sent from heaven saw the multiple as those who were lost (Mark 6:34), and he spoke words to them to give them a sense of direction.

Jesus said that no greater love do we have than for a man to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). That was Jesus’ act of sacrifice to save us.

God saw us in our despicable position, in sin, poor, defeated, in the hold of Satan, and he can do something about. He is God, and with God nothing shall be impossible (Matthew 19:26). His compassion does not allow him to leave us out in the cold; he paid the price needed, in his mercy he reached out to us (Titus 3:5).

A blind man called on Jesus, saying: son of David have mercy on me (Luke 18:35-43). Anyone else can have compassion on him, some would even extend a ‘limited’ hand of mercy to him, giving him some money as a blind beggar, but Jesus could do more than that.  He has compassion but he also has supernatural power as God. He combined the ultimate in compassion with the ultimate in power as God in the flesh. He has full knowledge of our infirmities (capable of real compassion), but he also did something about it (in the greatness of his mercy); a great God showing great mercy.

In the book of Acts the beggar at the beautiful gate banked (no pun intended) (Acts 3:1-11) on the compassion that will be stirred in the John and Peter when they see him as they go into the temple, to give him some alms.

The location for his begging work is also important. Those who come to the temple were supposedly pious, and he hoped to have them part with some of their money. But the day John and Peter’s compassion was not just expressed in mercy but in divine power and the crippled man walked. They extended the mercy of God to the man, through the name of Jesus, in a replica of what Jesus did while on earth.

A leper came to Jesus, saying (Mark 1:40-42): if you want you can make me clean. If he felt some measure of concern for him, he wanted him to act on it, in his (Jesus) own style, not by throwing at him some food, but by healing them. Jesus walked the earth in the love of God. The children of men took refuge under his wings while he was on earth. Jesus is the sun of righteousness with healing in his wings (Malachi 4:1-3).

 

 

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