Encouragement for Today
“The Hen” – Part 2
Rachel Olsen, Co-Editor of Online Devotions, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" Luke 13:34 (NIV)
Yesterday we learned about the ostrich, her inability to fly, and her ability to run extremely fast. We also learned that she is very careless about taking care of her young. Like the ostrich, the chicken is not a good flyer. While she can get her body airborne with her wings, she is not capable of sustained flight longer than a few seconds. She typically flies only to escape danger, or to “chase” danger away from her chicks.
In contrast to the grand ostrich, the hen is a rather humble bird. She stands only knee-high and can only run 8 or 9 miles an hour at best. What she is good at, however, is guarding her nest and caring for her chicks. In fact, Jesus uses the mother hen as an example of His protective and caring nature in today’s key verse.
Chickens have long been labeled “bird-brained,” but they are actually quite smart. Scientist and Professor Christine Nicols says, “Contrary to popular opinion, we have found that hens are very adept at teaching and learning.” Nicols also found that hens (female chickens) were able to learn faster from other hens, than from the male birds. Sounds like the hen house is a good place to observe the principals of Titus chapter two: “These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” (Titus 2:4-5, NLT)
Furthermore, Professor Nicols notes that while all types of chickens can make good students, only the “broody” mother hens have the makings of good teachers. They are adept at keeping order in the coop, and at responding flexibly to mistakes made by their chicks. That sounds like a description of Christ’s strengths as well!
Jesus is a master at keeping order in our world and in our lives. Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (NIV) In His infinite grace, He is also a master at responding to our mistakes. He encourages us to confess our sins to Him, then He swiftly removes them as far as the east is from the west, and gently washes us white as snow – all the while, teaching us through His Word how to avoid these costly mistakes in the future.
In today’s verse, Jesus reveals His longing to gather His people to Him, like a mother hen gathers her chicks protectively under her wing. Then He laments that His people were not willing to be gathered. Friends, let’s scurry today to get underneath His loving wing. There is no softer, sweeter or safer place to be. Then let’s be “broody” hens, and teach well our friends and family that it is a great privilege to be gathered by the King.
My Prayer for Today:
Lord, gather me to You like a hen gathers her chicks. May I remain safely under Your wing of protection. May I also pay heed to your teaching in Titus 2 and be a woman of wisdom who honors You in how I care for my family, friends and home. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A great way to “gather yourself under Jesus’ wing” is to spend time reading His Word and praying. Spend the next 5-10 minutes praising God for his love and grace, reading from the Bible and praying back to Him what he teaches you from the Scriptures.
Do you allow yourself to be gathered by Christ?
If you are younger, have you sought out the faithful instruction of a godly older woman?
If you are older, are you actively mentoring the younger women in your life with biblical instruction?
2 Chronicles 16:9a, “The Lord searches all the earth for people who have given themselves completely to him.” (NCV)
Romans 8:14, “The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them.” (NCV)
Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good, giving protection in times of trouble. He knows who trusts in him.” (NCV)
At Home with God, by Sharon Jaynes
Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst
Life Planning Journal, by Lysa TerKeurst
Five Love Languages for Children, by Gary Chapman
Originally published Wednesday, 16 November 2005.