"The shadow of thy wings."

W. T. Whybrow.

Christian Friend vol. 14, 1887, p. 160.

To find its shelter in God is one of the earliest and most necessary experiences taught by the Spirit to the renewed soul. Not shelter front God, however necessary this may be when He is considered as a judge, but, shelter with Him, the question of our sins being settled by the blood. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God," and the heart now reposes with confidence in His righteousness, while in contrast the works of men are found in the paths of the destroyer. (Ps. 17:1-2, 5.) The word of His lips preserves therefrom, and points out His paths; His eyes behold the things that are equal. This produces entire confidence in God in the midst of deadly and deceitful foes. "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings." (v. 8.) The world and the men of it are rejected, prospering apparently now as they do; and to behold the face of God in righteousness, and to bear His likeness at that glorious awakening, is the desire and satisfaction of the soul. (vv. 13-15.)

But there is not only future satisfaction. Having access into this grace wherein we stand gives present enjoyment of the favour of God. The wicked centres all his thoughts upon himself; he sees nothing but self, not God. (Ps. 36:1-2.) But for them that know Him (v. 10) the universe is filled with what they have learned of Him. In the heavens is His mercy; unto the clouds His faithfulness; like the great mountains is His righteousness, and a vast ocean His judgments. Every living thing He preserves. It is on account of the loving kindness of God that the children of men put their trust under the shadow of His wings. There they are abundantly satisfied with His rich provision, and drink of the exhaustless pleasures which His favour affords - a favour which is the source of life and the bright anticipation of glory. (vv. 5-10.) We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only therefore does the shadow of His wings afford abiding security and peace, but "bread enough and to spare;" there is "the fatness of thy house," and there "the river of thy pleasures."

Shelter and food are good indeed, and we are enabled to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God; but power is needed for the wilderness path in order to rejoice in tribulations also. Again, "the shadow of thy wings" becomes "my refuge until these calamities be overpast" (Ps. 57:1.) "The love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us" is the key to all the exercises by the way. Divine power is there. "God performeth all things for me" (v. 2), and that even when we were yet without strength; for then it was Christ died for the ungodly. A heavenly deliverance too is ours: "He shall send from heaven and save." (v. 3.) We shall be saved from wrath through Him. Doubtless in the wilderness we are cast out, as David was "when he fled from Saul in the cave" (see title to psalm), his "soul among lions;" but God is exalted above the heavens, and His glory above all the earth. (vv. 5, 11.) Therefore we can praise.

And not only so, but we also make our boast in God Himself through our Lord Jesus Christ; for though in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is (Ps. 63:1), through Him now we have received the reconciliation. His loving-kindness is better than life, therefore there is praise, blessing, and adoration. (vv. 3-5.) But more. There is rejoicing in the "shadow of thy wings." (v. 7.) We joy in God, known in this intimacy and nearness. Not alone have we peace and protection, and withal abundant satisfaction, under the cover of His wings, but power is received from thence by which the love of God is known and deliverance assured while we are still in an evil world. And, above all things precious, it is in the shadow of His wings that God Himself becomes the full, sufficient, and sole portion of our hearts. (v. 6.) W. T. Whybrow.

* * *

If God has commended His love towards us, it is when we were sinners, but I learn it all in joy in God. He loved me when there was nothing in me to love; and the grand testimony of absolutely divine love is that God loved sinners. So the grace of Christ to me is not my highest place; but it is the highest place of Christ. It makes me little and Christ great. To be put into Christ makes me great; to find Christ going the same path as myself, that He may understand every feeling I have, makes His grace great. And this is most precious.

* * *

It is the knowledge of the death of Christ for me that clears me of my sins; it is the knowledge of my death with Christ that delivers me from sin, the law, and the world.