# 43 Psalms of Wisdom (#1) ‘run in such a way that you may win’ (1 Cor. 9:24)

So we now move on to the next genre of Psalms, which are the Wisdom Psalms.
One definition of wisdom is that it is the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding.
As I consider the world around me, and the lack of wisdom that is too often displayed, I am very conscious of needing much wisdom from God in these days. Generally though, when we think of wisdom literature in the Bible, we are more likely to turn to Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. As Longman puts it, “in these books we read in concrete ways how God wants us to live our lives. They reveal God’s will in the nitty-gritty and difficult areas of our lives.” (see references # 1). But so do many of the Psalms and the most obvious is Psalm 1.
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
This psalm reminded me of Wayne Cordeiro’s book, “Leading on Empty – refilling your tank and renewing your passion” (Bethany House Publishers 2009) which talks of “four basic courses by which we can live…” They are:
1. “A life of reaction…[when] we plod forward until something forces us to change direction, [e.g.] the loss of a job…the initiative of another person toward us [which] determines our course, but without it, we aren’t motivated to action…a dangerous way to live, but the majority of people [seem to] have chosen this lifestyle, most of them by default.
2. A life of conformity…[when] we live according to the view of the crowd. We float along on the current of popular opinion…We allow how we look to trump what we believe, and we permit what others think to drive what we do…another dangerous way to live. It puts you at the mercy of opinion.
3. A life of independence…[those] who choose [this] cherish the illusion of autonomy. But when they group together with other like-minded people, carefully steering away from the current majority, they form a clan of virtual clones…a self-delusional way to live.
4. A life of intentionality… When we were young, life happened as a matter of course…[but] somewhere along the line, things moved from automatic to manual, from natural to deliberate, and from involuntary to intentional…[e.g.] Healthy marriages require intentionality and planned investment…The scriptures exhort us to ‘run in such a way that you may win’ (1 Cor. 9:24). It is not automatic. If you choose to win, you have achieved half the victory. If you do not choose, you have gained half your defeat.”
Choosing to “win” (which equals “blessedness”) is what Psalm 1 is about. The psalmist (and we don’t know who wrote this one), offers some good advice on how to win/be blessed in life.
First he suggests some activities not to get involved in:
• do not walk in step with the wicked
• do not stand in the way that sinners take
• do not sit in the company of mockers,
Followed by some positive things to adopt for a healthy lifestyle:
• delight is in the law of the Lord
• meditate on his law day and night
It seems pretty simple, but the beginning of wisdom is to take note of these truths and act upon them, and according to the psalmist, whatever else you do you will “prosper”.
A life of real wisdom, is a life of intentionality lived according to God’s wisdom as revealed in his word. In this way we can’t help but be blessed.
How’s your delighting in and meditating on [and responding to] God’s word going?

# 42 Psalms of Remembrance (#4) Psalm 78 Remembering to Inspire

Recently I read in a newsletter that, “We are about to begin a special time…the 30th anniversary of Betel International…We will remember and give the glory to God that, from one heroin addict who came looking for help 30 years ago, the grace of God has taken this ministry into some 100 cities in 25 countries around the world. Tens of thousands have been helped, churches have been planted and 2400 men, women and children are currently being cared for…This will be a time of remembering the wonders that the Lord has done, as well as allowing him to inspire us to move on to greater things in the years to come.”   (http://betelinternational.org)

This last sentence above summarizes the purposes of the Remembrance Psalms, in fact, of much of the Bible. Longman says concerning Psalm 78 that it “moves beyond praise and explicitly uses redemptive history to instruct future generations how to act.” (see references # 1)

The first 8 verses (of 72 verses) illustrate this:

Psalm 78. “Lessons from History. Asaph’s poetic song of instruction.”

“Beloved ones, listen to this instruction.   Open your heart to the revelation   of this mystery that I share with you.   A parable and a proverb is hidden in what I say,   an intriguing riddle from the past.   We’ve heard true stories from our fathers   about our rich heritage.   We will continue   to tell our children and not hide from the rising generation   the great marvels of our God, his miracles and his power   that have brought us all this far.   The story of Israel is a lesson in God’s ways.   He gave Moses his laws then commanded us to keep them,   and to make them known to our children.   For perpetuity God’s ways will be passed down  from one generation to the next, even to those not yet born.   In this way, every generation will have   a living faith in the laws of life   And will never forget the faithful ways of God. By following his ways they will break the past bondage   of their fickle fathers who were a stubborn, rebellious generation   and whose spirits strayed from the Eternal God.   They refused to love him with all their hearts! “

And then verse 9 starts the stories: “Take for example…”   (The Passion Translation)

Here are a few helpful comments on this psalm:

As mentioned, verses 1-8 (above) are a good summary of the purpose of the psalm because, as Broyles says, “Each generation must hear the story of salvation and so [have the opportunity to] choose to trust God. In sum, God has revealed his deeds (vv. 4, 7, 11), wonders (vv. 4, 11, 12, 32, 43), power (v. 4), and signs (v. 43). He has established his law (vv. 5, 10), statutes (or ‘testimonies’, vv. 5, 56), covenant (vv. 10, 37), and his commands (v. 7). He has guided (vv. 14, 53, 72) and redeemed (vv. 32, 42) his people; he has provided them with water and bread (vv. 15-16, 23-25), shepherded them (vv. 52, 70-72), and settled then in the land (vv. 54-55).”

Just to name a few of the many interventions of God in the lives of his people worth recalling!

Sadly, as we continue reading, after all these amazing acts of their loving and compassionate God, the verses following are not so positive as we discover some more details of what the psalmist was talking about in verse 8 when he spoke of these “fickle fathers who were a stubborn, rebellious generation and whose spirits strayed from the Eternal God. They refused to love him with all their hearts!” The latter verses speak then of their sin and the inevitable judgement that resulted, even to the point where God rejected them (vv. 59-60).

“The psalms solution to this dilemma for ‘the next generation’ lies in retelling this story [‘warts and all’], so they, unlike their forefathers, would not forget but know, put their trust in God and keep his commands (vv. 4-8). A living memory of God and his acts is the crucial factor.” (see references # 4)

Kidner entitled this psalm as “Lest We Forget” and says “it reviews the turbulent adolescence of Israel from its time of slavery in Egypt to the reign of David…it is meant to search the conscience: it is history that must not repeat itself. At the same time, it is meant to warm the heart, for it tells of great miracles, of a grace that persists through all the judgements, and of the promises…” of God to his people. (see references # 29)

I wonder what a psalm that describes our life from the beginning to the present day would look like? Would it be so inspiring that it could be passed “down from one generation to the next, even to those not yet born”?   And would it be that in “this way, every generation [who reads it] will have a living faith” in God and “will never forget the faithful ways of God”?

As 2015 draws to a close, why not try writing a psalm  to celebrate and describe the grace of God in your life over this past year?

Here’s mine, reflecting something of what I wrote about in my post # 33, commenting on Psalm 30.

Father, what words can express the sense of gratitude I feel today?

It’s been a year of many ups and downs, of open doors and closed doors.

There were times of elation, times of confusion, times of doubt and times of faith.

If nothing else this year, along with many others, I learnt what it means to be dependent upon you in a new way.

So often we recognised that we had no idea of the way to go.

Failure and rejection were our constant companions along the way, and not very pleasant ones at that.

But, deep down, we knew. We knew they weren’t our only companions. There was no doubt about it. You were there!

You gave us peace when all around us was chaotic. You gave us strength when we felt like giving up.

You answered prayer when all seemed lost. Each time we wanted to throw in the towel, you came near and encouraged us on.

And we did it, together, in community.

Thanks for the lessons you have taught us together and we are better people for it.

So, now we are here. We didn’t really see it coming, but the year has almost ended and with a good outcome.

And we have hope. There is no doubt in our minds that you have a plan for us.

In you our future is certain.

You are good and I give you thanks.

# 41 Psalms of Remembrance (#3) Psalm 136 ‘The Great Psalm of Praise’

I heard the sad story recently of a man who was just about to go on a 3 month journey around the world. Before he left he was challenged by a good friend to find three things every day to give thanks to God for. On return his friend asked him how he had gone finding things to give thanks for and was saddened by the reply she received. Her friend said that he had given up after three days because he couldn’t think of anything else to give thanks for!

Not so the psalmist! Remembering the wonder of God and all that he had done and then responding in thankfulness is what Psalm 136 is all about. In Jewish liturgy it is known as the Great Hallel or the ‘Great Psalm of Praise’.

First, the psalmist remembers who God is – his character:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.                                                                                                                             to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.

Our God is not only ‘good’ but he is superior over all other ‘gods’, whether imagined and created by man, or all other spiritual beings, including angels and demons. And, His love endures forever!

He then turns to some of these “great wonders” as he acknowledges that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1) – his creation:

…who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. who made the great lightsHis love endures forever. the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.

There are many things we don’t understand, and in particular there are many gaps in our understanding of the universe we live in, but the psalmist suggests that when God created all these things it was “by his understanding” or wisdom. Longman comments, “The creation is ordered [just ask any scientist], not random. The assertion belies the thought that the universe is the result of pure chance.” (see references # 30) And, His love endures forever!

Then, like so many of the Remembrance Psalms, the psalmist speaks of the history of God’s intervention in the life of Israel – his redemption.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. 11 and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. 12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever. 14 and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. 15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever

In other words, the exodus! A remarkable display of God’s glory and power in delivering his people from slavery and oppression from the hand of Pharaoh in answer to their prayers. And, by the way, His love endures forever!

In our day, of course, we can write our own psalm remembering and giving thanks for the redemption that is in Christ, the One in whom, as Paul said, “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

And from redemption to his presence with them leading them to the land promised so many years before to Abraham – his guidance.

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever.

A very quick summary of what was a pretty up and down experience over 40 years, but his key point being that God remained faithful during this time. As it says in Exodus 13:21, “The Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” And, of course, His love endures forever!

On arrival at the promised land there was work to be done and next the psalmist recalls God’s activities in giving them the land – his conquering.

17 to him who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. 18 and killed mighty kings— His love endures forever. 19 Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. 20 and Og king of Bashan— His love endures forever. 21 and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. 22 an inheritance to his servant Israel. His love endures forever.

“The psalmist continues the flow of redemptive history by now thanking God for the gift of the land through conquest and settlement.” (see references # 30) And, don’t forget, His love endures forever!

And so the psalmist brings this psalm to an end with “general statements describing God’s actions for his people” – his provision.

23 He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. 24 and freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever. 25 He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Here we are reminded that God also “remembers” us. In this case he “remembered” the dire situation the Israelites were in and acted. “Remembrance means more than mental recall, and implies his actions to alleviate their suffering.” (see references # 30). And, His love endures forever.

Our God has not changed, he is still good and all powerful and, in reality, there are even more than three things daily we could remember and give thanks to him for! A colleague of mine was challenged to give thanks (on Facebook) for one thing every day for a year – and he did it! What about you? Could you do that? And if you did, what difference would it make to your life and relationships?

And, by the way, let me say it just one more time, His love (for you) endures forever!

# 40 Psalms of Remembrance (#2) His loving-kindness continues forever (Psalm 136)

Over many years of song writing there must have been thousands of lyrics that speak of one person’s love for another, and often they use extravagant phrases to describe their love, like, “never dying”, or as something that will last “forever”.

Bob Dylan, for example wrote, “I could hold you for a million years. To make you feel my love.”

Sadly, on the other hand, there are probably just as many sad songs that speak of broken hearts due to broken relationships when love has failed.

Harry Nillson, for example, sang, “Can’t go without her. There’s no song without her. It’s all wrong without her.”

We all know, that in reality, no matter how strongly love is confessed to be, the divorce statistics reveal that the inclination to infidelity and broken relationships is far too high.

But, all is not hopeless! Psalm 136 speaks of a place where love that is truly a forever-love can be found. Love where there is no possibility of infidelity, at least on the part of the Ultimate Lover. And to emphasize this point the psalmist repeats it 26 times! Just so we will never forget. A very unique Psalm of Remembrance (and thanksgiving).

The psalm commences with,

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.                                                                                                                   His love endures forever.”  (NIV)

It is this last refrain, that is repeated in each of the 26 verses, that we will consider today. Other English versions put it this way:

“His tender love for us, Continues on forever!” (Passion Translation)

“His loving-kindness continues forever.” (Living Bible)

“His steadfast love is eternal.” (Jewish Study Bible)

The phrases above are an endeavour to explain a key Hebrew word/concept used often in the OT, and that is the word hesed.  It is helpful to look at what this means to really appreciate this forever-love of our God for us, his people.

The Jewish Study Bible suggests that hesed “means a favour done out of loyalty [often undeserved]. God’s hesed to Israel is eternal…When used of God towards Israel, it may be related to the covenant, and it expresses God’s faithfulness, goodness and graciousness”. (see references # 7)

Kidner suggests that the word is used in the context of “covenant-fidelity”. He says that hesed is “that faithfulness to a covenant, to which marital devotion gives some analogy.” He speaks of this words connection to “a strong element of fidelity” or in other words, faithfulness. (see references # 29)

Longmann says that “a key phrase associated with the idea of covenant in the Bible is, ‘I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” He continues, “Covenant [speaks of] an intimate relationship with God…[and the psalmist] often directly addresses God…as one aware that God is with him…[and in speaking of him, he uses the words] ‘my God’ or ‘our God’.”

And so, back to the use of the word hesed, Longmann suggests that the word often translated as ‘love’ in English, “carries a more specific meaning than love. It is better translated covenant lovingkindness. Hesed refers to the love which results from God’s intimate covenant relationship with his people.” (see references # 1)

[For further information on the topic of God’s covenant relationship with Israel, see chapter 3 of Longman’s book]

But as we move from the OT to the NT, we discover that now, in Christ, a new covenant is revealed. Jesus at the ‘last supper’ said, “This is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28). In Christ, hesed, the eternal loving-kindness of God, is revealed in a remarkable way in incarnation, death and resurrection. As John explains, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Now that is something worth remembering (not only when we share in communion, but daily), and to respond to by giving “thanks to the Lord, for he is good.” For “His tender love for us, continues on forever!”

# 39 Psalms of Remembrance (#1) “Remember the wonders [God] has done…”

 

“We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.” 

Above is a famous quote from George Bernard Shaw, possibly when he was having a “bad hair day”! But, you have to admit, there is truth in his statement. Sadly, our default position far too often is to easily forget the good things and not give thanks or fail to learn from past negative experiences and repeat them.

I remember a conversation I had with Peter, an older missionary friend, prior to going to serve God in Pakistan. He said, “Rod, do you write a journal?” Caught off guard, I asked, “A what?” He explained. The idea had never even occurred to me, so I then asked my friend, why I would do such a thing. He answered, “So that you can look back and remember all the great things God has done for you.” Seemed pretty obvious to him!

I decided that I would give it a go, and in March 1992, on a flight to the UK to prepare to join the mission organisation that we would serve with for 11 years, I began to write Journal # 1 (those days in a notebook). These days I am up to Journal # 64 (approx. 50 pages each on my laptop), and at times I do look back, read what I have written, remember what God has done (and what I wish I had not done!) and give thanks to the Lord for his grace and goodness and mercy and forgiveness.

Did you know the word “remember” occurs over 230 times in the Bible and for a good reason – we forget far too easily! In fact, there is even a type or genre of the psalms, according to Longman’s list, called the “psalms of remembrance”. Let’s check them out.

Longman suggests that the “Psalms of remembrance are those in which God’s past acts of redemption are the focus of attention…These psalms are united in their subject matter, the ‘wonderful acts’ of God (Psalm 105:2). Nowhere in the Bible is history reported only to impart historical information, but this is especially true in the psalms. Rather, God’s acts are recounted so that Israel might praise him: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.’ (Psalm 105:1)”  (see reference # 1)

Memory, which is described by Dictionary.com as “the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences”, is a wonderful thing and yet sometimes sadly, it can be a distressing thing, and the older one gets, so it seems, the more challenging it becomes. In his “Autobiography” Mark Twain says:

“I am grown old and my memory is not as active as it used to be. When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened.”

I mentioned above that the word “remember” occurs many times in the Bible. Many times it is exhorting us to remember what God has done and then respond in praise and thanksgiving, but it is also used in another way. And that is to remind us that, even if we forget, God does not. For example, “Remember the wonders [God] has done…” (Psalm 105:5), followed by “He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.” (105:8-9)

So, even when we forget Him, he never forgets us!  In Isaiah 49:14-16 we read the following:

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,     the Lord has forgotten me.”

[To which the Lord replies:]

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast     and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget,     I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”                                                                                                                                                                    Such is the wonder of God’s love for us, his people. Certainly worth remembering!

# 38 Psalms of Thanksgiving (#6) Psalm 91 absolute security, living in “absolute dependence, absolute trust, absolute surrender”

According to Psalm 91:1 the safest place in the world to be is in a “shadow”! That’s what the psalmist suggests when he says:   “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Not only is the imagery of “feathers” and “wings” (see previous post) used describing our “secret hiding place” in God (Psalm 32:7), but also a “shadow”, and that being “the shadow of the Almighty”.

shade 002

If you have lived in a hot place, you will understand how important shade is. In the height of summer when you turn into the shopping centre carpark what do you search for? A parking spot under the shade of a tree, if possible. The sun, as wonderful as it is, can be very painful at times and we need to be protected from it by going into the shade – the shadow of another object. Like shade on a very hot day, is the shadow of the Almighty in times of trouble.

How much closer to someone can you get than their shadow? And that’s the point, I think. To be up close and personal with God (i.e. as close as under his shadow) is to be safe. My shadow wouldn’t bring anyone much comfort or shade, but God’s is different!

So, how is this possible? What is it about our relationship with God that can result in such incredible intimacy with the Creator of the universe and then mean we are under his protection no matter what comes our way? Well let’s see what the psalmist suggests.

  • Desire

 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High     will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

If you … make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you…
Firstly, we need to have an attitude and desire to be close to God. In fact, a desire to “dwell” with God, to be at “rest” in his presence.

Other psalms express this deep longing to be in God’s presence, such as Psalm 42, where the psalmist says:

As the deer pants for streams of water,     so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.     When can I go and meet with God?

Do we have such a deep longing for our Father? If not, ask God to give you such a desire.

  • Faith.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,     my God, in whom I trust.”

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”     …10 no harm will overtake you,

Faith/trust is involved. Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Do we really trust God in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in today?

  1. Love
  1. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him…”

Jesus said the greatest commandment was: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37)

John in his first letter spoke of love. He said, “How great is the love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God…This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us…God is love…This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…”    (1 John 3:1, 16; 4:8, 10)

Have we any reason to not love such an amazing Saviour God?

  • Acknowledgment

14 I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

Considering that:

…God exalted [Jesus] to the highest place     and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,     in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,     to the glory of God the Father

then acknowledging His name above all other names seems like pretty good advice!

  1. Prayer 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;

Breuggemann speaks of this promise as “the most striking formula [revealing God’s] profound commitment [to us]…’When he calls to me, I will answer him’.”

He continues, “The initiative of trust and petition belongs with the [psalmist]. But Yahweh is resolved to answer and is very sure…none will prevail against [our] God.” (see references # 2)

Jesus taught and lived a life of prayer and there is little doubt that he desires that we also should live this way

And, so the promise of God to us is that:

I will be with him in trouble,     I will deliver him and honour him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him     and show him my salvation.”

But you may ask, how is all this possible? In myself I have so little desire for God, so little love, so weak a faith! The answer ultimately is “Christ in you”.

In “The Believer’s Secret of the Master’s Indwelling” by Andrew Murray, he quotes Colossians 3:4 which says, “Christ, who is our life”. He speaks of the relationship and source “of [the life of Jesus, the Son] before God [the Father].” He says, “It was a life of absolute dependence, absolute trust, absolute surrender” and this was the very “principle of His life” which we need to understand” and apply as we seek to live the Christian life. This is what the indwelling Christ in us, as believers, desires to teach us and live through us. Are you willing?

And then as we live “in Christ” we will begin to understand just how secure we are resting in the “shadow of the Almighty”.

# 37 Psalms of Thanksgiving (#5) Psalm 91 “matchless love … divine tenderness”

I went for a walk to our College farm today and when I came across the scene below I was reminded of the following verse in Psalm 91:4 that reads. The Lord “will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.”

ducks 006

As mentioned before, the poetry of the Psalms often uses imagery to get the point across and this is one of those occasions.

Some other psalms that also use this same imagery are:

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings” (17:8)

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (36:7)

“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” (57:1)

“I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” (61:4)

“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” (63:7)

I like what C.H. Spurgeon had to say about this imagery in his commentary on the Psalms (first published in 1870):

“…’He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.’ A wonderful expression! Had it been invented by an uninspired man it would have verged on blasphemy, for who would dare to apply such words to the Infinite God? But as He himself authorized, yea, dictated the language, we have here a transcendent condescension, such as it becomes us to admire and adore. Does the Lord speak of his feathers, as though he likened himself to a bird? Who will not see herein a matchless love, a divine tenderness, which should both woo and win our confidence? Even as a hen covers her chickens [or a duck her ducklings] so does the Lord protect [those] who dwell in him; [so] let us [shelter] down beneath him for comfort and for safety. Hawks in the sky and snares in the field are equally harmless when we nestle so near the Lord.” (see references # 28)

No wonder the psalmist can say, “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!” and then, that his people “take refuge in the shadow of [his] wings.” (36:7)

James encourages us to “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8)

It seems that sometimes ducklings are smarter than us human beings. They knew exactly where to be today when this dangerous looking creature with his camera was standing above them!