He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shall you trust: his truth shall be your shield and buckler.
This is undoubtedly the image here. Not the outspread wings of the cherubim, which overshadowed the ark of the covenant. Nor the mighty pinions of the eagle, whose home was on the lofty crag, and her path through the sunlit sky. But it is the homely image taken from the familiar scenes of the farmyard and the barn. It is in keeping with the gracious condescension of God to employ such an emblem; it is like the Lord himself, "full of grace and truth." We would not have dared to make such a comparison; but he has done so, likening himself to the mother bird, which fosters, cherishes, and protects her young. Let us note -
I. THE SPECIAL BLESSING HERE PROMISED. It is the gracious protection of God. In the closing sentence of this verse it is likened to "shield and buckler." To Israel it meant protection from outward calamity, such as pestilence and the destruction caused by war; but to us it tells of all that spiritual guardianship we enjoy. From all the guilt of former sin; from the power of sin now; from the might of temptation; from the crushing power of sorrow; from the misery of a useless and, still more, a harmful life; from the fear of death; from all these, and, when it will be well for us, from outward ill as well.
II. THE MANNER OF ITS BESTOWMENT. It comes through:
1. The all-availing atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. When this is pleaded and trusted in by the sinner, his guilt is all taken away.
2. From the power of sin, by the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, cleansing the heart and sanctifying our whole nature.
3. From sorrow, by his providence keeping it away; or giving, as to Paul, grace sufficient to sustain it; or by removing its cause.
4. From the misery of a useless life, by inspiring the soul with a desire for others good, and by his Spirit, fitting for service.
5. From fear of death, by the revelation of the far better life with Christ, to be entered on at once when this life is done.
III. OTHER BLESSINGS THAT COME ALONG WITH THIS ONE. For the emblem employed suggests not only protection from enemies, but much more than that. Picture to yourself what the shelter of the wing of the mother bird is to her young, and it will tell of what the precious promise of our text means to the believing soul.
1. It means happy content and comfort. "My soul shall be satisfied," and that richly - so Psalm 63. declares. And the emblem of our text suggests it, even as the experience of God's saints confirms it. The soul is happy in God. Dungeons as at Philippi and Rome, deathbeds, and desolations of all kinds have been irradiated with the blessed content of those whom God has covered with his feathers, and who have put their trust under his wings.
2. A life hidden with God. See how the young brood are hidden away under their mother's wing! A life hidden from strife and malice and the world.
3. Nearness to the heart of God. The young birds can feel the beat of their mother's heart. So the soul of the sheltered one beholds and feels the love of God.
4. Perfect peace.
IV. TO WHOM ALL THIS IS PROMISED. Not to any and everybody, but to those only who dwell in the secret place of the Most High; that is, who abide, ever trusting, in the Lord Jesus Christ. - S.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.