By Bob Hoekstra
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. (Psalm 36:7)
Lovingkindness is one of the terms in the Old Testament that has profound spiritual kinship with the term grace in the New Testament. Lovingkindness speaks of God's zealous love for His people. This love includes His mercy to hold back the judgment we deserve, as well as His goodness to pour out all that we need. David's heart for God's grace can be seen in the way he cherished God's lovingkindness. "How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!" In our present verses, David reveals why he greatly valued God's lovingkindness. It involves the far-reaching implications of God dealing with us on the basis of His lovingkindness.
After announcing his high estimation of lovingkindness, David begins to explain why it was so. "Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings." When people catch a glimpse of God's lovingkindness, they understand that it includes His desire to protect them. Thus, they draw near in faith to be sheltered by His loving care. "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by" (Psalm 57:1). Like a devoted bird guarding its young, the Lord displays His lovingkindness in keeping those who trust in Him.
Jesus expressed His desire to care for people in this intimate fashion, even though they might deserve the opposite. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Luke 13:34). David was one who was willing to be gathered under the loving wings of God's care. "Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me, From my deadly enemies who surround me" (Psalm 17:8-9). What joy this brings to those who flee to the Lord's lovingkindness. "Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice" (Psalm 63:7).
Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I have been unwilling to come to You for Your lovingkindness. I repent of those times when I neglected, or even refused, to humbly place my hope in Your protecting care. How foolish I was. Lord, every time I have come to You, joy has eventually filled my heart. Please nurture in me a heart that habitually relies on Your precious lovingkindness, Amen.