“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.” (Psalm 57:1)
On this Mother’s Day, I just wanted to take some time to think about the “maternal” images of God… from the perspective of the Psalms and the prophets.
Though, in Scripture, we are taught to look to God as “Our Father” (and rightly so!) we must always remember that motherhood and mothering was God’s idea. It came from within HIS Mind. From His Own character and nature. Mothering is also intended as a reflection of Who He is to us. Motherhood is His creation… and His creations are always meant to bring revelation of His Own character and nature.
This is a notion that captures the imagination of the Psalmists. Especially the picture of a mother hen protecting her chicks. When we read of passages like the following, we are meant to see the imagery and recognize the “maternal” concepts of our God…
“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” (Psalm 17:8) And: “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge…” (Psalm 91:4)
God is not some huge feathered being. The mother hen is a picture of one of God’s most endearing qualities. His Heart is to protect His people, to keep them under His constant watchful and protective eye… and to offer them a constant place of refuge from the dangers and tragedies of this world.
When we run to Him – when we trust Him as our refuge – we discover the depth of His love and commitment to us. God yearns for us to seek Him in our times of need.
It is when human beings don’t seek Him out… when they don’t trust in Him, that God is saddened and sorrowful.
We see this Heart for us in Jesus’ lament over the rejection from His people:
Another variation of this “maternal” image paints a God who also pushes his children to be independent and to grow stronger. Mother eagles are known to teach their young ones to fly by deliberately pushing them out of the nest but catching them before they plunge to their doom: “…like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.” (Deuteronomy 32:11)
Other “motherly” images are seen in God speaking through the prophet Isaiah: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted…” (Isaiah 66:13) And: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15)
IF we cannot imagine a mother ever neglecting her child… how much more impossible would it be for our God to neglect or forget us. God tells us plainly… this is impossible for Him to do.
When we truly believe that God is watching over us… we can rest assured in His goodness and love for us.
For all you Moms out there… Thank you for all you have done for your children… and for all you continue to do! Your love and devotion for your children are one of the clearest pictures we have of God’s love and devotion for each of us.