I have a friend whose garden is a haven for local birdlife; they feed there, nest there, sing there, and have even been known [in the depths of winter] to tap on her window when they need food! They feel safe and protected under the shadow of her love. I was reminded of this lovely image when I read, “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near your altar, [Yahweh-Sabaoth] …” [Psalm 84:3]. A beautiful scripture, which always makes me catch my breath!
I try to imagine the grandeur and busyness of the Temple area, the sound of singing and worship, the stream of people going in and out, the clamour of sacrificial animals awaiting slaughter, the noise of fire crackling and spitting, and a tiny sparrow hopping around contentedly, feeding on the crumbs, unafraid, at home in his Father’s House. Then there’s the unassuming swallow, diligently building a nest for herself near the altar, confident it will be a safe place to birth her young. There’s a sweetness in this picture that makes my heart soar and cry, ‘Where is my nesting place?’
“There is a place of quiet rest, Near to the heart of G-d,” writes Cleland Boyd McAfee, going on to describe that place as one where sin cannot molest, where we can meet with Yahshua, find full release and experience comfort, joy and peace. As this old hymn sparked into life, I realised that my nesting place is near to Yahweh’s heart. That’s where I feel safe, protected and cared-for, like the birds in my friend’s garden. I begin to ‘nest’ there as I practise becoming still in His Presence and learn to draw into myself everything that He is.
In the time of Yahshua, two sparrows were sold for a penny [Matthew 10:29]. What an insignificant little bird to find a home in the Presence of the Almighty. In the grand scheme of things, I am insignificant, too, but my nesting place is secure and I am welcomed, because Yahweh notices and cares. Under the shadow of such love must be the most secure place in the world!