For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. (Psalm 91:3-4)
Life is full of adversity. Our city of “brotherly love” has a very significant rise in murders and other crimes. I took our four foster kids to a nearby park, and found two different size bullet casings on the walkway, the same park where a few weeks before a youth was murdered. This week someone was arrested for attempting to steal the catalytic converter from under a car parked in front of my house. Last year we had rioting on two rounds, with stores boarded up all around us and helicopters hovering over our house as looting and destruction ran rampant. But we remember, the LORD is our shield, our protector against whatever may be against us. Since God is omnipresent, is knows our situation and he is there to deliver us “from the snare of the fowler.” A fowler is a trap for birds. As we see in Psalm 124, “Blessed be the LORD, / who has not given us / as prey to their teeth! / We have escaped like a bird / from the snare of the fowlers; / the snare is broken, / and we have escaped!” (Ps. 124:6-7).
“The snare of the fowler” is being used as a metaphor for any hidden plot against believers to endanger their lives. We see such plots being crafted by Muslims falsely accusing two Christian nurses in Pakistan of blasphemy by saying that they scrapped off an old sticker that had qur’anic verses from a medicine cabinet. Pakistani blasphemy laws can bring life imprisonment or a sentence of death. They are often used as a means of subversively destroying a Christian.
Also, today we are seeing the Chinese government as another “snare of the fowler” in using face recognition technology from securities cameras on every citizen to log against Christians unfavorable actions and associations on their social index score, such as meeting with other known Christians for worship or Bible study. Thus, they may be denied a bank loan, housing, or educational opportunities. Although the Chinese Christian’s permanent record may be damaged, the LORD cannot forget us, because he says, he “will have compassion on his afflicted.” Even as a nursing mother does not forget her child, so he cannot forget us. He declares, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isa. 49:14-16). How? When Jesus’ hands were nail pierced for our sins to accomplish our salvation.
In verse 4 we see the psalmist describes God as a caring mother bird protecting her young chicks.
“He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge.”
To be covered with a bird’s pinions is to have the protection of the outer large feathers used for flight. David too cried in prayer to the LORD, “Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!” (Psalm 61:4). Again, he prayed in Psalm 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Yet again in Psalm 57:1, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” It is possible that symbolically the psalmist is making reference to the cherubim wings stretched out over the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant in the temple where God is present (Ex. 37:7-9). Only through God’s mercy can we have any hope in this world. That mercy is found in Jesus, who as our mediator, his blood as the Lamb of God was shed for our atonement.
Jesus took on the role of being our refuge for us as he lamented over Jerusalem, saying, “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34). As a prairie fire quickly burns across the wind swept plain, a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings for a shield of protection. After the fire, the hen will be burned to a crisp, but the chicks will all run out from under her protective wings. Are we willing to be gathered as our Lord’s children under his protection, or do we think we can go it alone, without his aid? Without his protection we are vulnerable to fear and destruction, as Jerusalem came to be destroyed in A.D. 70 in judgment. In Jesus we have his abiding presence and hope. As Jesus said to his disciples, “…in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
 Jordan Sekulow, “Two Christian Nurses Arrested for Blasphemy in Pakistan – Face Life in Prison Over a Sticker,” ACLJ; https://aclj.org/persecuted-church/two-christian-nurses-arrested-for-blasphemy-in-pakistan-face-life-in-prison-over-a-sticker?view=original (accessed 4/29/2021).
 Cole Richards, “Facial Recognition,” Voice of the Martyrs (May 2021), 3.