Chickens are by far one of the most protective birds when it comes to their young. It is said that hens are so protective of their chicks that they will take on predators larger than themselves, in a bid to safeguard their young. They are also known to puff up and hide their young beneath their wings so that no single chick is taken from their brood. Personally though, the greatest example of perfect protection using the metaphor of a hen is when a storm brews and the chicks cannot get to shelter fast enough; the hen will shelter its young from the rain until the storm subsides putting its own life in danger of hypothermia.
This beautiful picture is similarly presented in Psalm 91:4: He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
The whole Psalm speaks of Father God’s tender care and protection to those in covenant with Him, something that we may not be consciously aware of many times. Nevertheless, He is faithfully watching over you, to protect you from burglars in the night, accidents on the road and other spiritual and emotional calamities.
Psalm 91 has always been close to my heart, both in my childhood and in my adult years. Last year at a time like this, burglars broke into a neighbor’s home and stole their property. The feeling of helplessness that we experienced then, as we prayed protection over their lives was unbearable. This was the first of two incidents in a span of one year. Both times, no one was physically hurt. However, the sense of insecurity that the incidents left in our hearts was evidence of the work of Satan; stealing, killing and destroying [John 10:10a]. The peace that once pervaded our community was no longer there, and, instead, fear of the night settled in its place.
I believe that it is God’s desire for His children to be at peace holistically. The word Shalom is loosely translated as peace in English. However, according to Strong’s concordance, Shalom means safety, soundness in body and health, prosperity, peace, contentment, peace in human relations, peace with God in covenant relation, and peace from war.
Because God promises His Shalom and protection over our lives, we must engage with and appropriate His promises. Sometimes to be honest, this may seem simplistic. Many times godly people are hurt deeply and suffer terribly [John 16:33]. However, we cannot leave our lives and relationships at the mercy of fear, we must continue to engage with God. Even now, as I write this blog, I await the total healing and restoration of a loved one. Such moments remind me how fragile life is, and how fleeting our days are. Nevertheless, the image I am choosing to let abide in my heart is that of a loving Father shouldering my burdens, shielding me from the rain under His wings, like that hen with her chicks. He is protecting me fiercely from those things that wage war against my soul.
Today, I invite you to believe that God will never leave you, or forsake you. I invite you to believe that even though we live in a sinful world, where evil may touch you, God speaks these words to you: “Because you love me, I will rescue you. I will protect you because you acknowledge my name. You will call upon me and I will answer you; I will be with you in trouble, I will deliver you and honor you. With long life I will satisfy you and show you my salvation.” [Psalm 91:15-16 emphasis mine]