October 4, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
There is a story falsely attributed to National Geographic magazine that was supposed to have occurred after a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park in 1989. Although it never actually happened according to Yellowstone and NG officials, it is still a wonderful parable from nature! Here it is:
After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers began their
trek up a 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
a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a
stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their
dead mother’s wings.
The loving mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, had carried her off-
spring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinc-
tively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety
but refused to abandon her babies. When the blaze had arrived and the heat
had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast. Because she
had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.
Jesus, in His High-Priestly prayer, said this in John 17:17: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” He was referring to the Old Testament, which was all the Scripture available at that time. So our featured Scripture of Psalm 91:1 through 4 is true!
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 will I 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.
There are a couple of things I want to emphasize here:
• God our Heavenly Father often acts in a motherly way! (See Deuteronomy 32:11, 12; Ruth 2:12; Psalm 17:8; 57:1; Isaiah 42:14; 49:15; 66:13; Hosea 13:8). Yes, a mother hen will protect her chicks when danger threatens! She will crouch down and hold her ground while her young will scurry under her body. If there are too many chicks to hide under the bulk of her body, she will spread her wings to cover them! I know – I grew up on a dairy farm, and we had chickens!
• There are conditions to having God protect you under His wings!
✞ You must be His offspring! Back to the analogy of mother hens and chicks: Not always do hens accept and protect chicks that are not theirs! Never does God promise to accept and protect children that are not His! But He does “…want all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:4 – see also II Peter 3:9).
▸ Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil….” Because of the sin nature, passed down to us from Adam (see Romans 5:12), we naturally carry the image of the devil in us!
Satan’s nature is described in several Scriptures (see Isaiah 14:12 through 14; Ezekiel 29:12 through 17; John 8:44; 10:10; II Thessalonians 2:4; I Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:10).
Compare that with the characteristics of unsaved people (see Psalm 14:1 through 6; John 8:44; Romans 3:9 through 19, II Timothy 3:2 through 5).
There are other passages that can add to the description of the two natures – Satan’s and natural man’s – but these will give you an idea that the devil’s nature is within unregenerate man!
▸ To become a child of God, you must receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior! In John 1:12 it says, “But as many as received Him, to them He [God] gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe on His [Christ’s] name.” (See John 3:36; 5:24; Acts 4:12; I Timothy 2:5; I Peter 1:18, 19; I John 5:11-13).
▸ It is also called being born again! (See John 3:3-8; I Peter 1:23).
✞ To abide under the shadow of the Almighty – under His wings – you must dwell…in the secret place of the Most High! What is the secret place of the Most High? It is the place where most people do not go!
▸ In Old Testament times, the secret place of the Most High was the Holy of Holies – the inner sanctum of the tabernacle (and later the temple) where only the High Priest could enter once a year with the blood of the Passover sacrifice! (See Hebrews 9:7).
▸ Since the separating veil was ripped when Jesus died (see Matthew 27:51), He has prepared the way to come unto the very throne of God! (See Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-23). The way into the secret place of the Most High is now open for every Christian!
▸ But abiding under the shadow of the Almighty is not just an occasional visit to the throne of God. It is he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High! As David prayed in Psalm 23:6, “…I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Enter the inner sanctum of God and live there!
✞ “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him will I trust.’ ” (Psalm 91:2). He is to be our everything – loving Him (see Mark 12:30) and obeying Him (see John 14:15) always and in all things!
We will stop here and finish on Friday when we will look at how Jesus applied this concept of Under His Wings to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.