Scripture Reading: Job 33:1-34:37 / Matthew 23:1-39 / Psalm 18:25-36
A group of college students were examining the damage from a prairie fire outside their university town. One of the young men saw an unusual looking charred mound and was told by the forest ranger to turn it over. When he did, he was surprised to find several small chicks run out from under the overturned mound. He was amazed because these chicks knew where to run for shelter and asked the ranger why they would hide in that mound.
The ranger told him to look a little closer at the charred remains and he realized it was a cavity of a large bird. The ranger informed him it was the remains of the mother hen. When there is danger the mother hen instinctively calls her young to her. She spreads her wings and gathers them close, covering them in complete protection and shelter. The mother hen gave her life so her chicks could live.
A mother hen has great care, concern and love for her chicks. The term “Mother Hen” fittingly describes an always watching, ever worrying and extremely protecting hen. Whenever there was a squabble in the barnyard, the mother hen would be quick to protect and defend all of her young. She was driven by her love, compassion and concern for her children. Jesus uses this analogy as he grieves over the Holy City, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” (Matthew 23:37)
The love and compassion of Christ is seen and evident throughout scripture. He was moved by compassion when he saw the weary multitude, unfortunate and bereaved. Paul knew that nothing could separate us from His love (Ro 8:35). Christ loved us while we were yet sinners and gave His very life for us. Never think that you are ever unloved or unwanted…Jesus loves you!
When a chick was threatened by danger, they would find protection under the wings of the mother hen. Covered by her feathers and near the warmth of her body, the chick was sheltered and hidden from danger. God is faithful to protect us from the threat and danger of the enemy of our souls. The hen also does not sit passively when there is danger. She alerts her chicks and calls them to herself. It was necessary for the chicks to run for safety and refuge under the mother’s wings.
Jesus was overwhelmed as He looked upon Jerusalem. He sorrowed over the city because they rejected His plea, invitation and gospel. Israel was unmoved by His powerful love and He desired to draw them to Himself, “but you were not willing.” (v.37) They refused to gather under the protection, peace and power of His love. The protective wing of Christ was withdrawn and His divine presence was removed. Just like a frightened chick, Christ calls us to Himself to find refuge and rest. There is a place of shelter, protection and peace…where are you running?