Some days we feel like giving up, others we would rather omit from memory. In these moments of distress and sadness we realize that we are not impenetrable, but in need. In Christ we take refuge, hoping for the escape from a life of storms and trials. God is the shadow which covers the ravaged body, mind, and soul. He engulfs our very being, and fills his children with the promise. The promise comes in the precious blood of Jesus Christ shed for us. Yet, we fear. We fear a God of wrath, a God of judgment, but we forget all which the promise of Jesus is. This means we cast aside the truth of the Gospel and cling to the punishment of a fallen people. Why do we do such nonsense? How can we look at Scripture and not blatantly see the cross of our Christ? In the shadow of our Lord’s wings we have his promise clear. Looking at the cross of our Savior we find a God of love. He gives his life that we may live ours eternally with Himself. Only in Christ do we have hope. Only in the shade of Christ do we see the light of his glory.
A Hebrew metaphor is connected to the idea of a shadow or shade. The concept was that a shadow was a way of describing protection against oppression. Kings were thought of as the “shade” for those dependent on them for protection. Likewise God is the “shade” of his people and his wings span over them in outreaching power and dominion. This metaphor helps us understand the Lord and his relationship with his children. Knowing that we are sinful, undeserving of anything, helps us to grasp a very real reality; all are in need of His mercy.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. –Psalm 57:1
God’s relationship with his children is one of mercy. Faith is the means which grants us access to Jesus; faith creates belief and opens the gates of mercy. Refuge for the soul takes its fulfillment in the Lord’s mercy. God’s shadow is found where it is promised in Scripture. The Bible points to the word of God and the hearing of the word as a means by which one may receive faith. In Holy Baptism, Scripture promises this very thing also; and in the celebration (partaking) of the Lord’s Supper a strengthening of faith is received. These means of grace are declared as vessels which the Holy Spirit uses to gift us with precious steadfast love from above.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. —Psalm 36:7
Yes, refuge is taken in God! He keeps us, “as the apple of [His] eye”, and hides us, “in the shadow of [His] wings” (Ps. 17:8). Dear Christians, fear not the love and mercy of God. Trust him, when you feel unsure of his presence. Look not to the worries of this world and fall into lies of entangling danger! Open your ears and hear what the Word proclaims to you. To you it preaches Christ crucified and the shadow of the Gospel. Bask in the shade of our King and his wings of mercy! He will cover you and keep you in the true faith till life everlasting!
O Lord, “you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” (Psalm 63:7) Let not hopelessness carry me from You. Rather, allow the cross to present to me the Savior Jesus and the casting shadow of that cross the shade of the Gospel. Mercy is a gift we don’t deserve, but You grant it to us and call us Your children. How great is that grace which passes over us. How great are You, O Lord! Forgive us our trespasses and redeem us through Jesus, O Father. May the Peace which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in and on Christ Jesus; in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.