“He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge.”
Psalm 91 is a favorite of mine. I know that I am not the only believer who finds comfort in these promises of protection from the Almighty God. As we cry out to God as our refuge and our fortress, He promises to keep us in His watchful care under His sheltering wings.
As we’ve just come through Passover, I have been reading and meditating upon the significance of this epic historical event, which foreshadowed the death of Christ. Passover is rich in meaning for believers, but I want to focus on one aspect: the meaning of the word Passover.
We all know the story. The sons of Israel had taken refuge in the land of Egypt during a time of severe famine. Joseph had been sent ahead to prepare for his family, and they were well cared for in the land of Egypt. They were SO very well cared for during that 400 years that they became comfortable and complacent in a land not their own. Perhaps they forgot the land of promise and also forgot Yahweh, worshiping the gods of Egypt. And so the tide turned for what was now a very large and strong group of Hebrews.
When a new Pharaoh came to power, he did not remember Joseph and was threatened by this large people group in the land of Goshen. Suddenly life was difficult, as they became slaves, driven by very hard taskmasters. They were suffering under severe oppression when finally in desperation they cried out to Yahweh their God. He heard them and raised up Moses to be their deliverer.
God brought seven plagues upon Egypt, but in spite of this, the hard-hearted Pharaoh refused to let God’s children go. The last plague was the death of the firstborn, a plague that would bring tragedy and heartbreak into every home where Yahweh was not obeyed. But God in His judgment was also merciful. He provided the Lamb for his people. Each Hebrew family was to select a male yearling without blemish, sacrifice that lamb, and apply the blood to the doorframe of their house. God’s people would remain safely inside their houses wearing their traveling clothes and eat the roasted lamb. Their redemption was near! Ex. 12:23 says that as the Lord passed through to smite the Egyptians and saw the blood on the door frames, He would pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come in.
This verb for pass over is not the Hebrew word a-bhar, which is used to mean stepping over something to avoid contact. The word is pasha, which resembles the Egyptian word pesh. This has the meaning of “to spread wings over in order to protect.” According to Arthur Pink, “the slain lamb, the sheltering behind its blood and the eating of its flesh, constituted the pesach, the protection of God’s chosen people beneath the sheltering wings of the Almighty. It was not merely that the Lord passed by the houses of the Israelites, but that He stood on guard, protecting each blood-sprinkled door!”[1
In Exodus, the Lord told the Israelites at Mt. Sinai that He had borne them on Eagles’ wings and brought them to Himself. After the triumphal entry, Jesus mourned over Jerusalem, “Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling.” (Matthew 23:37) In Revelation 12 as we see the time of Jacob’s trouble, the remnant of Israel is given the two wings of the great eagle that they might fly into the wilderness to be protected from the serpent. They will be sheltered under His wings!
For those of us who are covered by the blood of the Lamb, we are sheltered beneath the wings of the Almighty God, safe from the destroying enemy. Just as Ruth the Moabitess sought refuge under the wings of the God of Israel, we are invited to come to Him for safety under the blood of the sacrifice Lamb. The Lord will not suffer the destroyer to come in! “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge.”
1 Pink, Arthur W. W. Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures – 1924-25,volume 2 of 17. Place of Publication Not Identified: Sovereign Grace, 2001. Print.