There is one well-known fact for any camper or hiker: if you see a bear cub—no matter how cute he might be—never approach it because the mother is somewhere close by, ready to pounce at the threat of immediate danger to her offspring. The mother bear hovers over her young ones protecting them from all forms of danger. She will do whatever it takes to protect them from harm, even killing.
Today, we will identify how God will do whatever it takes to protect His children from harm as well. With His wings outstretched and overshadowing us, my prayer is that we will find refuge in His shelter.
Our study comes from Exodus 19:1-8 and Deuteronomy 32:10-11. Please read these passages of Scripture.
Based on the previous passages, what words describe God’s involvement in the Israelites’ journey from Egypt, and through the desert? Choose the ones that apply:
cared for forgotten
guarded hovered over
I love that God uses analogies in His Word. These metaphors illuminate—or bring to light—in picture form, simple truths. The analogy we have before us today—the eagle and its wings—is used throughout Scripture. I pray our eyes will be opened to one of the most beautiful facets of God: His wings.
Now, let’s go back to the first passage we read in the Book of Exodus.
According to Exodus 19:4, what is the analogy?
Here are a couple of interesting facts about eagles:
1) The eagle may reach a wingspan of eight feet or more.
2) The eagle watches over its young in the most careful way, flying under them when it
leads them from the nest so they will not fall from the sky and die.
With this visual, what truth was evident as the Israelites exited Egypt? Explain in your own words.
God takes this analogy a step further in Deuteronomy 32:10-11. Read these verses again, and answer the following questions:
What place is mentioned?
What phrases describe the eagle?
Did you notice that God did these things for His people while they were in the desert? I love the first part of verse 10: “In a desert land he found them.” Don’t ever think you’ve been abandoned or forsaken, Precious One. God will find you, too, even when you are wandering helplessly in the desert. What’s evident in Scripture is that God finds the greatest joy by wrapping His wings securely around us, protecting us from harm. Imagine the smile on His face as He then carries us to safety.
There are two phrases in verse 11 that deserve our attention:
hovers over its young spreads its wings to catch them
The dictionary’s definition of hover is beautiful: “to hang fluttering or suspended in the air.”² You have probably seen birds do this—flutter over their young vulnerable babies. If the mom could talk, perhaps we would hear her say, “Don’t even think about it. These are my babies, and if you come any closer, you won’t like the consequences.”
In what other contexts is the word hover used, based on the following verses?
The footnote in my Bible referencing the word hover in Genesis 1:2 says, “Like a bird that provides for and protects its young.”³ Not only does God hover over the whole earth (Genesis 1:2), but He also hovers over those He calls His own (Isaiah 31:5). Picture God suspended in the air hovering over you, fluttering His outstretched wings? What a beautiful portrait of God’s protection. He shields, covers, and shelters our bodies from danger.
Now, let’s talk about those mighty wings. The Bible is filled with verses that make reference to His wings.
In Scripture, wings frequently signify:
freedom and strength or safety and comfort
Look up Luke 13:34 and fill in the blanks:
“As a hen _________________ her ________________ under her ________________…”
This verse signifies another aspect of a bird’s wings: to hide her young ones so they will not meet with imminent danger. Therefore, while she has them tucked under her wings, they are safe, well protected.
How did Ruth find safety, according to Ruth 2:11-12?
Allow me to give you a very brief synopsis of the Book of Ruth. Shortly after Ruth’s husband died, she found herself on the way to a strange land, a place that was not her home, with her mother-in-law, a widow herself. I imagine that starting life over in a new land, devoid of family and friends—and without a husband to provide for her needs—Ruth most certainly was thrust into the desert.
But Boaz gives us a glimpse into Ruth’s character when he said, “May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (verse 12). You see, the strength Ruth received, and the fulfilled life she would eventually have, all began at the place she found refuge—in the shadow of His wings.
Throughout this study, I find myself drawn to the Psalms. I’m fairly certain that we love these inspired writings because many of them were written by David’s hand while he was seeking refuge in the desert. What encouragement and inspiration I find reflecting upon his “diary” of personal struggles.
Look up the following verses and write down the place where David found refuge:
Psalm 57:1 _________________________
How did this place of refuge help David, according to Psalm 63:7-8?
Paint a word picture of your own, based on Psalm 91:3-4.
Psalm 91 has served as my companion for many years. When I’ve been afraid, lacked confidence, or felt weak, I have often taken my Bible between my hands, paced the floor, and recited this chapter out loud. When we trust in His Word and do what it suggests, we can certainly experience the protection that only He provides.
Turn to Isaiah 40:30-31. How do these verses offer you hope? Do they give you something to look forward to, beyond the darkness? Explain.
If you are seeking refuge under His wings, but are still in need of that protective shield around you, take heart. The truth remains: there will come a day when God will bring you out from under His wings, and place you on top of His wings. And then you will soar high in the sky with your Lord.
Picture yourself gliding in the air with ease and speed. Imagine the clouds floating beneath you.
For now, though, keep your hope in Him and take refuge under the shadow of His wings when you need to.
I surely hope today’s Bible study message offered you comfort and help. Please pass it on to someone else.