God’s Covering Wing

The truth is always protection for the child of God.

July 26, 2022

"He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust:  His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."

Psalm 91:4


What a blessing Psalm 91 has been to believers through the years.  The first verses show the believer God’s assurance of protection (vv. 1-8).  And then God repeats His promise to deliver His child (vv. 9-13).  The psalm closes with God’s promise to deliver the one who loves Him (vv. 14-16).  This psalm is full of comfort and encouragement to God’s child.  Today we will look at one aspect of His promised protection in a familiar word picture, in verse four.


“He shall cover thee with His feathers.”
In the Old and New Testaments, the picture of a mother bird protecting her brood under her wings is a comforting image of the Lord’s protection of His child.

“The Hebrew word used here, … means to “shut off” or “make inaccessible,” for the purpose of protection” [1] (FSB).

Here is the safe place for God’s child to reside, safe from the evil in the world around us.


“And under His wings shalt thou trust?”
We take refuge under His wings.  A beautiful picture of God’s attention.

“Yahweh’s care and actions are combined in the picture of a bird caring for its young” [2] (FSB).

“Shalt Thou Trust?”

The Hebrew word for “trust” [3] used here literally means to “flee for refuge.”  “Under His wings shalt thou take refuge.”  God is the One we flee to for refuge!

“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge until these calamities be overpast” (Psalm 57:1).

“Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice” (Psalm 63:7).

You’ve heard the old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”  Likewise, God can spread His wings and call, but He doesn’t make anyone come to Him.

“So, brethren! another consideration comes out of this clause: ‘Under His wings shalt thou trust.’  If you do not flee for refuge to that wing, it is of no use to you, however, expanded it is, however soft and downy its underside, however sure its protection” [4] (MacLaren).

Jesus, while sitting on the hill overlooking Jerusalem, cried –

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34).

What terribly sad words are those, “I would have…” but “ye would not!”

“So our ‘would not’ thwarts Christ’s ‘would.’ Flight to the refuge is the condition of being saved” [5] (MacLaren).

When God calls, the believer comes.  He calls His sheep, and they know Him and follow Him (John 10).


“His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
The picture of God’s truth is the two shields used in battle.  The smaller round shield is worn on the arm.  The larger rectangular shield stands on the ground near the soldier.

“Shall be thy shield and buckler – literally, ‘Shield and buckler is his truth.’  The meaning is that his pledge or promise would be unto them as the shield of the soldier is to him in battle” [6] (Barnes).

“As for God’s care, it combines the warm protectiveness of a parent bird with the hard, unyielding strength of armor” [7] (Kidner).

“I will abide in thy tabernacle forever:  I will trust in the covert of thy wings.  Selah” (Psalm 61:4).

“Those who seek God’s protection will be shielded by his faithfulness” [8] (CSB).

His truth.  “His revelation; his Bible.  That truth contains promises for all times and circumstances, and these will be invariably fulfilled to him that trusts in the Lord.  The fulfillment of a promise relative to defense and support is to the soul what the best shield is to the body” [9] (Clarke).


Quote:  “Saith Luther; it is faith which maketh thee the little chicken, and Christ the hen; that thou mayest hide, and hope, and hover, and cover under his wings; for there is health in his wings” [10] (Trapp).




[1] FSB, John D. Barry, Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ps 91:4–5.
[2] FSB, John D. Barry, Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Ps 91:4–5.
[3] MacLaren said that “trust” is the abstract meaning of the Hebrew word. He feels that the literal use “take refuge” helps us to understand the meaning of the word picture.  EHS, Alexander MacLaren. Expositions of Holy Scriptures, the electronic version in eSword.
[4] EHS, ibid.
[5] EHS, ibid.
[6] BNB – Albert Barnes.  Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.  “The word rendered “buckler” is derived from the verb “to surround” and is given to the defensive armor here referred to because it “surrounds” and thus “protects” a person.  It may apply to a coat of mail.”
[7] Kidner’s quote is from EWC – David Guzik.  Enduring Word Commentary, the electronic version in eSword.
[8] CSB, Kevin R. Warstler, “Psalms,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 899.
[9] ACC – Adam Clarke.  Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.
[10] Trapp quotes Luther, borrowed from EWC, ibid.