Like a Hen and Her Chicks

Read: Isaiah 31:1-5

How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (Matt. 23:37 NIV)

The word woe expresses grief, regret, or distress (Webster’s). Isaiah 31 begins with a “woe . . .” warning to those who trust in military might but not God. Matthew 23 lists seven woes addressed to the scribes and Pharisees, whom Jesus called out as “blind guides” and “hypocrites.” Jesus used strong language to condemn their hypocrisy, violent actions, and attitudes. Then in poignant contrast, in language similar to Isaiah 31:5 Jesus described his protective care of Jerusalem using the image of a hen sheltering and protecting her vulnerable young.

Similar imagery was used by Boaz when he spoke kindly to Ruth: “The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” (Ruth 2:12). The text of William O. Cushing’s gospel song “Under His Wings,” based on Psalm 91:4, echoes the same refrain: “Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow! How the heart yearningly turns to His rest! Often when earth has no balm for my healing, There I find comfort, and there I am blest.”

If you are overwhelmed by news of persecution and violence in the world or by personal trials and struggles, allow yourself to be gathered under the Father’s wings of protection and refuge. He longs to care for you. —Denise Vredevoogd

As you pray, find comfort in turning to God who gently covers your soul.

About the Author

​​Denise Vredevoogd is a private piano teacher who lives near Grand Rapids, Michigan. She enjoys reading, writing, gardening, and spending time in nature with her adult sons and daughters.