But let all who take refuge in you be glad, let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 5:11 (NIV)
Portglenone Forest Park, approximately half a mile from where I live, is beautiful and relaxing at any time of year. However, in April and May it becomes a magnet for visitors from all across the country due to the bluebell season. Carpets of intense blue cover the grounds with swathes of swaying colour and diffuse a sweet scent into the air attracting the attention of plenty of pollinating insects.
I was surprised to learn that almost half the world’s iconic bluebells are found in the UK and are relatively rare in the rest of the world. We know the familiar bulbous bluebell under various names such as wild hyacinth, wood bell, bell bottle, Cuckoo’s Boots, Wood Hyacinth and Lady’s Nightcap. It was Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus who formalised the bluebell’s binomial nomenclature as Hyacinthoides non-scripta which basically means ‘unmarked’ hyacinth.
In the United Kingdom, the British Bluebell is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is a criminal offence to uproot the wild common bluebell from land on which it naturally grows. Any trade in wild common bluebell bulbs or seeds is also an offence carrying fines of up to £5,000 per bulb. Bluebells are protected because they face many threats and are an important species to preserve. Threats include the loss of ancient woodland habitat, the illegal collection of bulbs and hybridisation with non-native bluebells.
As I considered the bluebell this week, I was reminded of how God spreads His protection over us. The Hebrew word for “spread your protection” in today’s passage means ‘to cover, defend, hedge in, put a fence around’. It is translated as “covering” in Exodus 25:20:
And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings… Exodus 25:20 (NKJV)
In Psalm 91 David stated:
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge… Psalm 91:4 (NIV)
Again, he verified:
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7 (NIV)
Remember that you are much more than an ‘unmarked’ hyacinth.
When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 (NIV)
Yes, you have been marked with His seal of ownership. May He spread His protection over you today.