The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.
– Ruth 2:12
In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them aloft.
The Lord alone led him;
no foreign god was with him.
– Deuteronomy 32:10-12
“’Under His wings, I am safely abiding. Tho’ the night deepens and tempests are wild. Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me. He has redeemed me, and I am His child.’
“The lyrics to that old hymn were written by William O. Cushing, a Unitarian minister. During the time of his ministry, he authored several hymns, including some for children. After 27 years in the ministry, he developed a ‘creeping paralysis’ that caused him to lose his voice. In his forced retirement, he asked God for something to do to occupy his time. God gave him extraordinary talent for hymn writing, and across the rest of his life, he wrote 300 hymns. He had learned that he could trust the Lord, reflecting that knowledge in many lyrics.
The picture that Cushing—and Ruth—shared is of God as a great winged eagle, under whose wings was refuge and safety. Jesus wants you to gather under His wings. Stop thinking the only safety you have is in yourself, or that your refuge is in the things you possess. Acknowledge that God has made that comfortable provision for you.
– Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
When I hear phrases like ‘under an eagle’s wings’, I am brought back to one of my favorite 8-Track tapes. Maybe, top five, Carole King’s Tapestry might be number one, but … No, Roy Clark had a live performance on 8-Track. When he introduced one song, he started out saying that it was an instrumental. He then said, “I used to sing a lot of my instrumentals. Folks would come from all over and go …” It was an 8-Track. You had no idea what goofy thing he did, but the audience laughed.
He then said, “I do this instrumental in its entirety in the key of G. For you folks learning the guitar, that is three up from the big end. If you have a guitar at home, you can cut a notch in it. Then you’ll know where the key of G is at. Just run your finger up til you feel the notch. But if you are renting the guitar, it is best not to cut a hole in it. But you can use a piece of tape. Then when you turn in the guitar, you can pull the tape off and they’ll never know. … Where the key of G is at.” After a roar of laughter, he ends with, “This song is called ‘Under the Double Eagle.’ I refer to my version as ‘Look out below!”
Sorry, when ever I hear that phrase, I think of looking our below and lose the context momentarily. The monologue above is offered in tribute to a wonderful funny and talented man, Roy Clark, who passed away a month ago, this past November 15.
There is a big difference in looking out for what might fall from a passing bird and being protected by that bird in the nest. The description in Deuteronomy is quite vivid.
Our problem may not be as the devotional says, trusting in ourselves. Self-trust is a big, and maybe the greatest problem. But we also trust our local government for fire and police protection. We trust our state for a variety of things including better schools and roads (not in PA, roads are a lost cause). We trust our nation to protect us and our freedom. We trust the United Nations to solve global conflict before it hits our shores. We trust that our church will not lead us astray. We trust our parents, family, teachers, etc.
Does God crack our top five? If God does not crack the top five (but more the top one), it says a lot about our relationship with our Heavenly Father, or lack there of.
For the entire hymn mentioned in the devotion, it is as follows:
Under His wings I am safely abiding;
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him, I know He will keep me;
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.
Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.
Under His wings—what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest.
Under His wings—oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me;
Resting in Jesus I’m safe evermore.
– William O. Cushing, Under His Wings
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.