When I think of protection, I don’t automatically think of a bird’s feathers. Though a bird’s feathers might seem like a flimsy form of protection, there is more to them than meets the eye.
Bird feathers are an amazing example of God’s design. Feathers have a smooth part and a fluffy part. The smooth part of the feather has stiff barbs with tiny hooks that lock together like the prongs of a zipper. The fluffy part keeps a bird warm. Together both parts of the feather protect the bird from wind and rain. But many baby birds are covered in a fluffy down and their feathers haven’t fully developed. So a mother bird has to cover them in the nest with her own feathers to protect them from wind and rain.
The image of God “[covering] us with his feathers” in Psalm 91:4 and in other Bible passages (see Ps. 17:8) is one of comfort and protection. The image that comes to mind is a mother bird covering her little ones with her feathers. Like a parent whose arms are a safe place to retreat from a scary storm or a hurt, God’s comforting presence provides safety and protection from life’s emotional storms.
Though we go through trouble and heartache, we can face them without fear as long as our faces are turned toward God. He is our “refuge” (91:2, 4, 9).
Father God, help me trust that You are bigger than any fear I have.
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When fear causes hope to fade, flee to God, the refuge you can reach on your knees.
Psalm 91 is a beautiful expression of confidence in the Lord’s presence and protection. The writer speaks of both physical protection (from arrows, disease, pestilence, plague) and emotional protection from the evils and disasters happening all around (vv. 5–6). But this psalm is also a conversation. The Lord responds to the faith of those who trust Him by saying, “I will rescue him” (v. 14). J.R. Hudberg