Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Living in God's Shadow

There are some things that are good in God that otherwise aren’t…like, for example, bearing a yoke, being the least of these, and or living in the shadows.

In the Lord, a yoke is good and easy. Being least is a quality of humility and selfless love that gives Him glory. And living in the shadows…well, it depends on whose shadow we’re talking about.

Generally, to live in someone’s shadow is to have your own person and accomplishments overlooked because another person is greater, bigger, or more noticeable. Younger siblings hear about this often –“you have a lot to live up to in the shadow of your big sister!”

But living in the shadow of God is quite the opposite.

We read over and over again in Scripture, particularly in Psalms, about taking refuge in the shadow of His wings.

What’s so different about this shadow?

The shadow of His wings is…

1. A Metaphor for His Guidance

We first read about being under God’s “wings” in Deuteronomy 32:11 in the song of Moses. The words come as a part of the tale of how God guided and cared for Moses.  

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.”

Have you seen how an eagle cares for its young and teaches them to fly? Eagles hover over their children, keeping them close and safe. Stirring them up, eagles encourage their children to fly but they never leave them. Their young are always in the shadow of their wing and are caught and carried when they grow weary or falter.

2. A Picture of His Presence

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

What is His tent? What is the shelter of His wings? The place of God’s presence. A place that is eternal and that is a refuge. The Hebrew word for refuge here is “chasah” and is also translated “my trust.”

I will put my trust in the shelter of your wings, the Psalmist says. I will, as chasah means, confide in your presence and trust in you for safety, we read.

Based on the word chasah, we know that taking refuge in the shadow of His wings calls us to go aside from our usual places of fear and self and this world to the place of hoping and resting fully in Him.  

3. An Example of His Protection

In Psalm 91:4, we read that: “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

To be in the Lord’s presence, close to Him and relying on Him, means that you are wholly protected. You are covered as by a shield, and He’s got your back too:

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.” –Psalm 63:7

Worthy of our praise and giving us the peace that we are indeed safe from all harm, we find ourselves in such joy that we sing. When we’re under His watchful, faithful covering, we have reason and space to sing!

4. A Description of a Loving Relationship with the Lord

His guarding us and keeping us close isn’t mere obligation or instinct. The Lord’s love is far more perfect and sweet than that.

As the Psalmist wrote: “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” –Psalm 17:8

Just one verse earlier God is praised for His “lovingkindness.” Psalm 36:7 phrases it this way: “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

Living in the shadows, or rather, someone else’s shadow, isn’t so bad when the shadow is the Lord’s. He is greater. The shadow He casts isn’t one we’ll ever measure up, and His isn’t over-reaching.

We find the guidance, safety, hope, joy, and the love that we need to be who we are in the Lord when we are in His presence –and to be in His presence is to be in His shadow, under His wing.

Hebrews 12:9 reminds us: “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!” To be under His wing is to be in His care, treated as one of His young.

Though pride tells us we know how to fly and protect ourselves, God knows better. God knows the best place for us is in His presence, under His wing –even though that means giving up control and pride…

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” –James 4:7-8 

There’s no better place to be. 


  1. This is so great! I love all the scriptures you referenced too. Thanks for writing :) Visiting from the RaraLinkup today!

    1. Thanks, Rachel! Love that #RaRaLinkup, it's great to connect! His Word is wonderful! : )

  2. I'm not used to being in anyone's shadow, but that describes my life as a youth pastor's wife. But you've reminded me that we are merely second compared to the Lord. Thanks for you encouraging words and for visiting from #RaRaLinkUp and #TestimonyTuesday.

    1. Thanks for reading! Blessings in your important -and tough!- role! He is always first, and when we admit and live that, life makes more sense : )

  3. Yes! How I love this post, Bethany... His shadow is a place of restoration and protection! I really needed this today, for my whole week to be honest, and your words remind me to keep dwelling there, tucked into Him!
    Hugs, girl, this turns my day around :)

    1. Aw, Christine, thank you! I needed it too -this wasn't the post I planned on writing but then as I was reading His Word the phrase popped out and grabbed my heart too. His presence is the best. Love it and grateful for you!

  4. My heart has been dwelling on the presence of God and then I read this. There is power found in the holy dwelling place of God's mighty presence. Here, he confirms, strengthens and protects our resolve in him. I love how you go so in depth to instruct my soul. Thank you for this. Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup on Purposefulfaith.com.

    1. Thank you so much Kelly -I love when the Lord lines up timing to reinforce what He has laid on our hearts!

  5. This reminds me of an old church hymn we sang growing up "You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, who abide in His presence for life. Say to the Lord my refuge, my rock in whom I trust. And He will raise you up on eagles wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hand." Or something to that effect, it's been a while. I can't remember it all. :)

  6. Great word, Bethany. "We find the guidance, safety, hope, joy, and the love that we need to be who we are in the Lord when we are in His presence ..." In Him we can be our full selves all He created us to be. Thank you, Bethany, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

    1. Thank you Crystal for hosting and reading :) Love being in His presence with fellow blogging Jesus-loving women like yourself!