by Pastor Tim Burt
A number of years back, I remember reading an article about a bird burned in a forest fire. A ranger found this bird literally petrified in ashes on the ground by the base of a tree. He had gently moved the bird with a stick and when he did, some baby chicks scurried out from under their dead mother’s wings. It was explained that the loving mother, aware of the fire about to descend upon them, carried her chicks to the base of the tree and gathered them under her wings. Though she would have instinctively known to get some place high to escape the rising toxic smoke, instead of flying to safety and saving herself, she covered her chicks with her wings and saved them.
This story reminds me of David sharing of God’s love in this very fashion—covering us with His wings. We read it in Psalm 91:4 NKJV. It says, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge…” Jesus died and took the punishment we deserved for our sins upon Himself so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have eternal life with Him. He sacrificed His life for ours! The promises of God’s word continues to remind us that His covering did not stop with Jesus’ death and resurrection.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they became aware of something they had previously taken for granted—God’s provision and protection. When they sinned they immediately discovered they were naked and inappropriate. God was there to cover them. Genesis 3:7 & 22 NLT says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves… And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.” They realized their inability to cover themselves appropriately and so the Lord covered them! That is also true for us!
A covering covered their nakedness. It covers our also. Our relationship with Jesus does that. The blood He shed upon the cross in dying for the punishment for our sins covers and washes us so that we may become righteously presentable before God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT reveals, “God made Jesus who had never sinned to be the offering of our sin so that we might become the righteousness of God of through Christ Jesus.”
What does that mean to us? How does that play out in our lives? A picture is painted by Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 61:10 NIV. “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
These scriptures and others help us see that once we have received Jesus as our Savior, we gain His righteousness. This is not a righteousness we earn by being good. It is a righteousness earned by Jesus and given as a gift to us. Our faith in this righteousness given to us is like putting on a perfectly white robe. When God looks at us, He only sees the robe—white, pure, and without blemish. Our sins are washed away and we’ve been made righteous. The robe is God’s covering for us so that Colossians 1:22 NIV becomes true for us. “But now He (God) has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation–” And, Romans 4:7-8 (NIV) says, “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
Christians often feel like they are unworthy before God. But Jesus has made us worthy and a child of God whom He loves and desires to help. We are not covered with fig leaves like Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with. Just like God made them a covering, we are covered because of the sacrifice of Jesus’ death with a covering of His righteousness. Like the bird covering its chicks, Jesus gave His life and covered you. He did so that you could be reconciled to God, be His child, receive His help, and be blessed in every area of your life. That is what His covering did for you! Yes, you know your faults that lie under the robe. But He is looking at your robe you wear by faith in Him and in His righteous given to you as a gift! Can your faith accept that? Can you understand that God’s love for you was meant to be a covering and is not dependent upon your personal ability to be perfect? Can you understand He removed your sins and covers you with His love and protection? Go before Him wearing your robe of righteousness that He provided for you by His grace! And let God help you become more like Jesus daily!
Isaiah 1:18 (NLT2) “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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