Lessons From The Birds
Part 1 of 2
There are great lessons of wisdom that can be learned from birds, and from all of Godís creation. Job said in 12:7-10 ďBut ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:Ē 8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. 9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? 10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
Birds are fascinating creatures. Their complex and distinct design, their exquisite beauty and artisanship, together with their unique behaviors, have made birds the intrigue of mankind throughout history.
Birds are frequently used in the Scriptures to illustrate the traits of men, as well as those of the devil and his followers, and even of the Lord Himself.
The devil is likened to the fowls (Mat. 13:4, 19), which came and devoured the gospel seed. It is the devilís fowl design to destroy and hinder the works of God and His people.
In Revelation 18:2, the wicked Roman Catholic church is depicted as a cage for every unclean and hateful bird. These dirty birds depict demon spirits, or wicked men within that fallen religious system, or both.
Before we get into our message, we want to notice some familiar bird sayings:
1) Eat like a bird! This is a person who doesnít eat very much, or is a picky eater. Iím not sure where the saying came from, but if we ate like birds we would all be in trouble! Proportionately, birds eat more than any other creature.
2) Bird brain! This is a derogatory expression meaning that a person doesnít have any sense. This is a bad rap for birds, as most birds have more sense than most people.
3) Old crow! This is a derogatory remark toward women that use a screechy, high pitched voice to clamor their complaints. No comment here.
4) If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and hangs around with other ducks, it probably is a duck. This means a person who has all of the traits of a certain class of people, no doubt is one of those people. This is often applied to worldly Christians.
5) Birds of a feather flock together. This saying means that people hang around with those of there own sort, or, in other words, we are known by the company we keep.
6) Poor as Jobís turkey. This means a person who is extremely poor in this worldís goods. This is quite unscriptural, as the word turkey isnít even found in the Bible.
7) How about ďRunning around like a chicken with its head cut off.Ē That means a person who is confused, disoriented, and too busy. Does that sound like anyone you know?
8) For the birds. Not fit for human consumption. I hope that isnít true of this sermon when Iím through!
9) The early bird gets the worm. I suppose this means that those who get up the earliest have first dibs on the opportunities in the world.
Perhaps you can think of other bird sayings that I have missed.
This morning we want to see some analogies between birds and people from both nature and from the Bible. This evening we will attempt to look at some particular birds, and see how they compare with people and with human behavior. That aught to be interesting!
1. First, we want to make some analogies between birds and people from nature.
1) Birds are extremely diverse creatures. They are diverse in their physiological characteristics such as size, color, etc.. They are diverse in their behaviors, habitats, and distribution on the earth. Although birds are very diverse, yet all birds have wings and feathers. All birds are equally birds. No single bird is any more a bird than any other bird is a bird!
Likewise, people are also very diverse, but we are all of Adamís race. No person or kind of person is any more a person than any other person! What Iím getting at is, there is no room for prejudice, especially in the Lordís work or His church. All people, whatever color, size, shape, age, sex, or any other characteristic, are all of Adamís race. They all need the Gospel. The Lord saves all kinds of people, and it is our commission and duty to preach the Gospel to them, to love and care for them, and to receive them into our church as the Lord leads them our way.
2) Birds are lightweight and aerodynamic by design. Proportionately, birds are the lightest of all creatures, a characteristic that enables them to fly. Believers also need to be lightweight. We donít need any heavy religious baggage of false beliefs, and doctrines, and humanistic philosophies, or of sins that so easily beset us. We need to be spiritually lightweight and aerodynamic so that we can soar into the spiritual heights in communion and fellowship with God.
3) Birds are the swiftest of all creatures. Like birds, people are also swift. Lost sinners are swift to run after mischief, and the ways of Satan, and the ways of death. They are swift to follow sinful pleasures and the vanity fair of this world. But believers should be swift to hear the truth of Godís Word. We should be swift to hear the revealed will of God and then be swift to do it. We should be swift to do godliness and righteousness while we live in this present evil world.
4) Birds have exceptionally keen eyesight. Unlike birds, lost sinners are ďblind as bats,Ē and cannot see spiritual things. But believers, like birds, have keen spiritual eyesight. Among other things, we see the fellowship of the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:9); we see our calling unto salvation (1Cor. 1:26); by faith we can see Jesus (Heb. 2:9); and though we see through a glass darkly today (1Cor. 13:12), yet we can see the day of our Lordís return approaching (Heb. 10:25). How is our spiritual eyesight? Can we see the will of God for our lives?
5) Birds also have exceptionally acute hearing. Lost sinners are spiritually deaf and cannot hear the Word of the Lord with a spiritual ear. But believers, like birds, rely on our acute spiritual hearing to hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Those who have spiritual ears to hear the Word of God, let us hear it, and then apply what we hear to our lives. Let us not be hearers only, but doers of the work! How is our spiritual hearing. Can we hear Jesusí voice, and do we obey Him?
6) Birdís have unique songs. Likewise people also have unique songs. As in the case of birds, you can tell what kind of people we are by the songs we sing. The lost heathen have heinous songs, like that of ravens, and vultures, and crows. Their songs are devilish, sensual, erotic, immoral, and blasphemous. But believers have the sweet songs of the nightingale, and the meadowlark. We have the sweet, peaceful, and delightful songs of Zion, that sound forth in sweet praises and blessings to our God, our Lord and Saviour, and our Creator and King.
2. Next, we want to make some Biblical analogies between birds and people.
1) Birds were wonderfully created by the Lord their God (Gen. 1:20-21). They did not evolve from some lower creature, but were created fully developed. It doesnít matter what Charles Darwin, or my encyclopedia, or public school teachers and university professors say. Birds were all created after their kinds on the fifth day of creation week. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:39 that there is one kind of flesh of birds, that is distinct from all other creatures. In like manner, God created mankind in His own image (Gen. 1:26-27). According to Paul, mankind also has a unique kind of flesh from all the animals of Godís creation. Yes, the Bible plainly condemns and refutes the lie of evolution.
2) Birds, like all of Godís creation, were created for the glory of God (Ps. 148:1-10). All men were also created to give God glory, and all men shall give Him glory in do time. We will either give Him glory in this life as sinners saved by grace, or lost sinners will give him glory in the day of judgment. But either way, all men will give God the glory due His name!
3) God provides for the birds (Ps. 104:12; Mat. 6:26). God sustains and provides for all of His creation. The birds, and all of Godís creation, are totally dependant upon the Lord for life and for all things to sustain life. Mankind is no exception. Whether we will admit it or not, our lives and all our provisions of life come from the Lord, regardless of our overrated human ingenuity and genius.
4) Some birds are migratory by nature (Jer. 8:7). In a spiritual sense, Godís people are migratory. We are pilgrims and sojourners. We are on a journey to that city, whose Builder and Maker is God. We mustnít put our tent pegs down too deep. This old world is not our home, because we are Heavenward bound. We are migrants to that eternal, glory land beyond the earths gray skies. Let us never forget, beloved, just where we are headed as Christians!
In Jeremiah 8:7, Godís Word tells us that migratory birds know their way home in their appointed times, but Godís rebellious people didnít know the time of His judgment. If any people should be able to discern the times, and be preparing for the day of the Lord, it is Godís chosen people. But do we discern the times, and are we preparing for our Lordís return? If the birds by natural instinct know the times of the Lord, shouldnít we, who are saved by grace, know the spiritual times of our day? Just as it was in the days of old, so it is today. The judgment of God is at the very door, but many of His people are playing the harlot with the world!
5) Sometimes birds are taken in snares or nets (Ps. 91:3; 124:7; Prov. 7:23). Some birds are not careful. They donít watch for the fowler. We are told in Proverbs 1:17 ďIn vain the net is spread in the site of any birdĒĖ but if the birds are not watching then they will be caught in the snare! Beloved, the devil desires to ensnare Godís people in his evil net of sin. And if we donít watch, and we let our guard down, and if we grow complacent to spiritual things, we will be caught in the snare of the Devil. We will fall prey to his temptations, and into many hurtful lusts and sorrows that destroy the wicked! May God help us to watch and be on our guard!
6) When birds are caught, sometimes they find themselves in cages (Jer. 5:27). Believers who are caught in Satanís snares, are taken captive by him at his will (1 Ti. 2:26). As the devilís captives, they become servants to His errors, and to sinful lusts. Yes beloved, I believe that many believers are held captive by Satan today. Only repentance of oneís sins and erring ways, and returning to Christ for forgiveness can set one free from Satanís strong hold. May the Lord grant repentance and forgiveness to any who are held captive by Satan, as it were, and are become servants to error, and to gross immoral sins.
7) Some birds hide themselves from their enemies in the clefts of the rocks (S. of S. 2:14). This is a type of the Lordís Church, which is hidden in Christ. We are hidden under the watch care and protection of His Church, which is concealed in the Rock of Ages. Are you in the rock of ages? Have you come to trust under the shadow of His wing. Have you repented and believed the Gospel of Jesus? As a believer, are you hidden in the cleft of the rock, in one of the Lordís churches?
8) Some birds can soar high above the earth in the firmament of the heavens (Gen. 1:20; Isa. 40:31). The worldly birds of this world fly high in their pride and human vanities, but soon they will all be brought down to the depths of hell in judgment.
But some believers are able by Godís grace, to soar high up above the starry heavens, into the very heaven of heavens, where they find sweet fellowship and communion with God, and where they find special solace and safety, and strength and blessings to serve the Lord. Such flights of faith are not for everyone, but only those who dare to seek the very heart of God through faithfully seeking the Lord in meditation in His Word, prayer, and service to the Lord in His house and in the world.
9) Birds also represent Godís elect people of every people and nation (Mat. 13:32). These are they who hear the Gospel of Jesus that is preached in the world. And by faith they believe the Gospel and come to lodge in the Kingdom of God. How about you this morning? Have you heard the gospel, and by faith believed that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again for your sins? Have you found spiritual lodging for your soul in the kingdom of God. Have you, as a believer, found lodging in the Lordís church, which is that nest in the cleft of the rock?
10) Sometimes birds become unsettled and leave their nests, and wander about out of their places (Prov. 27:8). In this way they are in danger of the fouler, and every predatory creature. They are also out of Godís place, and in danger of loosing His divine protection. Is this you this morning? Have you wondered out of your spiritual place? Do you know where your spiritual home is in this life? Will you come home to your rightful place, and find the safety and blessings of the Lord for your souls? I believe that Calvary Baptist Church is a good home for the souls of Godís chosen people!
In conclusion, one time Jesus compared Himself to a hen. Concerning Jerusalem, Jesus said ďÖhow often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!Ē†
How about you this morning? Will you be gathered to Jesus through faith in His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins? If so, will you be gathered into His nest, which is His local New Testament Baptist Church?
Or will you be like Jerusalem of old, who would not be gathered with Jesus? What will you do?
Lessons From The Birds
Some of you ladies came up with some other bird sayings this morning that my bird brain could not remember. I am taking note of all these for future reference. It is interesting how many sayings there are about birds, that describe human behavior.
This evening we want to consider some of the various birds mentioned in the Bible from the positive and negative perspectives. Some birds are viewed mostly in the positive light, while others are viewed mostly from the negative light.
We want to see from the Bible tonight what kind of bird (or birds), best describe you and I as believers. We will begin with negative examples, and then notice some positive examples. Of course, there are many more birds mentioned in the Scriptures than we will have time to discuss this evening.
1. First, we want to see some negative examples of birds in the Bible.
Here we will kill to birds with one text. First we want to notice the Ostrich. The ostrich is a huge bird, in fact it is the largest of all birds. It weighs up to 300 pounds and stands up to a height of 9 feet. It canít fly, but it can run up to 40 mph.
Some other characteristics include polygamous mating habits. Ostriches may have several husbands (or wives)! Ostriches are known to bury their heads in the sand. Perhaps this helps them to sleep. Females sometimes will crush their eggs that they bury in the sand. Females are hardened against their young ones, as though they were not hers, therefore it is said she doesnít have wisdom or understanding of the Lord.
Like the ostrich, some people are polygamous in their mating habits. They are not satisfied with their own wife or husband, and therefore they go outside of the marriage bond to satisfy their carnal lusts.
Like the ostrich, some mothers destroy their own children by abortion, or by not raising them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Some mothers are hardened against their children as though they were not their own. They donít provide for their physical or their spiritual needs. In this way they show that they do not have the wisdom and understanding of the Lord.
Like the ostrich, some people like to bury their heads in the sand. They donít want to face the truth. They donít want to face their sins, and they just donít want to admit they have a sin problem.
Needless to say, we donít want to be like the ostrich.
Peacocks are actually a type of pheasant. The male is known for its beautiful plumage that it likes to show off during mating season. Hence, another bird saying ďvain as a peacockĒ. Solomon in his vanity, imported apes and peacocks from Tarshish (1 Ki.10:22). I suppose he was building a zoo!
Sometimes there are peacocks in the church!!! There are those who like to strut about showing off their fancy clothes, or jewelry, or makeup, or their outward beauty. There are those who always want to be seen and noticed, as if they are always saying ďlook at me!Ē But church isnít about you or me, so much as it is about Jesus Christ and worshipping Him. We shouldnít call attention to ourselves, but all that we do should direct all the attention to the Lord Jesus. No, we donít want to be a peacock in the Lordís church.
3) Are you an Owl (Isa. 34:14-15)?
Owls are known for being nocturnal creatures, that is, they do their work at night. I think we might have some nocturnal creatures in our church. We stay up all night long, and then are no good the next day! Some can hardly stay awake in church! Now, please donít be offended, we could have called you bats! Although I am kidding here, we do need to get our proper rest at night, if at all possible.
In modern times the owl is a symbol of wisdom, but in the Bible it is a symbol of destruction and of desolation. Owls were known to occupy cities and lands that were left in desolation. I donít know about you this evening, but I donít want to occupy the lands that God has made desolate by His judgment and curse, but I want to occupy a city that is inhabited by the Lord and His people!
May God make our church to be a place of life and of new birth, and of living waters, and of praise to our God, and of His manifold blessings, and of the life giving power of His Holy Spirit. May our church be a place that is occupied by the Lord, and His angels, and His dear children.
The raven gets his name from the root Hebrew word which means ďto be black.Ē The raven with his black plumage, is a symbol of death and of Godís curse (Prov. 30:17). You children, please notice the curse of God in this verse for not honoring and respecting your parents like you are commanded. Ravens eat mostly carrion, or dead animals. As suggested in this text, ravens are known to pick out the eyes of sick and weak creatures to help speed up their death.
Ravens are actually a type of crow; that favorite bird that Americans love to hate. They are first mentioned in the Bible when Noah sent a raven forth from the ark in Gen. 8:7. It was probably so loud that it was driving Noahís family up the walls of the ark! Needless to say, it didnít return to the ark, or at least Noah pretended not to see it return. I can hear Noah now saying; ďDo you see a raven, I donít see no ravenĒ. Of course we are just being facetious, but ravens and crows are most obnoxious of creatures.
Unlike the dove, the raven didnít require a resting place, but was like a nomad of the skies, soaring to and fro until the waters were abated, probably searching for carrion from the creatures that died in the flood.
One especially vile characteristic of the crow, who is the ravenís first cousin, is that of eating garbage, and just about anything else they can get their beaks on!
God used Ravens to feed Elijah by the brook Cherith (1 Ki. 17:4-6). This was a most humbling way to be sustained, but God can use the least and vilest of creatures to accomplish His will and purpose, and thereby give Him glory and praise.
In spite of their vile and unclean habits, God feeds and cares for the ravens (Lk. 12:24). God not only created, but He also cares for all of his creatures; even the ravens. Yes, God sends the rain upon the just and the unjust, and causes the sun to shine upon all alike. There is a benevolence of God that reaches even the sinfulest, even if they never receive His saving grace! How much more does the Lord provide for His elect, who do receive His grace in salvation?
Some church members are like ravens. They are loud and obnoxious like their cousin the crow, and like the crow they will eat about any kind of bad doctrine that they can get their spiritual beaks on. Sometimes, because of their obnoxious and offensive clamoring, they even have to ďeat crowĒ. Some, like ravens, pick out the eyes of the spiritually sick and weak, as it were, helping them to die, rather than helping them to live.
No, we donít want to be ravens, and we donít need ravens in our church!
Like the raven, vultures eat carrion almost exclusively, and they too, are a symbol of death. Vultures spend most of there time seeking out weak and dying creatures to make prey of them.
Some church members are like vultures, who just sit and wait, in hopes that the weak and sickly Christians in the church will die, or that the whole church will die. They never do anything to help the life of the church, but only to help the church to die, so they can glory over its failure.
We donít want to be vultures, and we donít need vultures in our church!
6) Finally, are you a Speckled Bird (Jer. 12:9)?
This bird was merely a symbolic creature, which symbolized Israel, who at this time had mixed themselves with the pagan idolatry of the heathen nations around about. Instead of Godís colors, she had taken on all the colors of the heathen gods. But, instead of being loved, she was hated by the nations which she sought to be like.
Beloved, believers who mingle with the world, and try to be a friend of the world, will be hated by the world. The same ones that we try to impress and make our friends, will turn on us and try to destroy us.
No, beloved, we donít want to be a speckled bird.
2. Secondly, we want to notice some positive examples of birds in the Bible.
1) Are you a chicken?
Are you a hen? We see in the Bible that a hen gathers and cares for its chicks (Mat. 23:37). We need more hens in the church, who like a mother, gather their chicks into the church by going out and inviting, and witnessing the gospel, and then by encouraging the chicks to find a home and a warm resting place in the church.
Are you a rooster? Roosters are faithful in their duties in the Lordís work, and serve the providence of God (Mat. 26:34, 74). The Lord told Peter that before the cock crew that Peter would deny the Lord thrice! That cock was faithful to serve the providence of God, and uphold the Word of his Master. We need more church members who are as faithful as roosters to sound forth the wake-up call of the gospel to the lost world, and to be faithful to their duties to the Lord and His house.
Roosters also are known for defending what is rightfully theirs, and for fighting their enemies to the death, to keep from losing what is theirs. We need more church members who are willing to fight the good fight of faith, and to stand up and fight to the death, as it were, for what is rightfully ours, and for what Jesus has given to His church. We are not talking about a carnal battle, but a spiritual battle against principalities and powers in high places, although these often do use human instruments.
Doves are a very pleasant and peaceful creature, which have many amiable qualities. Doves must have a resting place for their feet (Gen. 8:8-9). Unlike the ravens, doves are not satisfied with wandering about without a home for their soul, but they desire a good, safe home. In the Scriptures, doves donít make their homes just anywhere, but they make their nests in the cleft of the rock (S. of S. 2:14). This is a type of the church, which is hid in the Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Doves are pure and undefiled (S. of S. 6:9). They are symbolic of purity, holiness, and godliness. The church of our Lord, like a dove, is to be spotless and undefiled by sin and the world. Doves are harmless creatures (Mat. 10:16). I can think of no creature that is more peaceful and harmless than doves are. Godís children, like doves, are to be as harmless as doves. Doves are also symbolic of the Holy Spirit (Mat. 3:16). Thus, spiritually to be dove-like is to be God-like!
We need more doves in our church, who are harmless, undefiled, and long to have a resting place in the cleft of the rock, which is the Lordís house, or His church. We need more church members who strive to be godlike, which is the very Biblical meaning of the word godly.
Sparrows are a very plain bird among birds (Mat. 10:29-31). They are small, and of little economic value. Sparrows are common, and are found in abundance just about everywhere. In some places they are even considered to be pests and nuisances.
Sparrows are almost worthless to this world. Two were sold for a farthing, or about a Ĺ cent (Mat. 10:29), or five were sold for 2 farthings, or 1 cent (Lk. 12:6). Poor people were allowed to use sparrows as a sacrifice to the Lord. In this way the lowly sparrow became the sin offering of poor folks, who could not afford a costly lamb or goat. Thus the lowly sparrow is a beautiful picture of salvation in Jesus Christ, for poor sinners who have nothing to pay for their salvation.
In spite of the sparrowís humble state in this world, the Lord cares for them (Mat. 10:29). Not one shall fall to the ground without the Heavenly Fatherís permission. Not only that, but in Psalm 84:1-4 we are told that sparrows dwelt near the house of God. David was envious of them, because he so longed for the house of God.
Are you a sparrow this evening? Are you nothing in the eyes of this world? Are you poor in this worldís goods? Are you of little value to this world? Like the sparrow, beloved, you are valuable and important to Godís work. Like a poor and humble sparrow, you can be a blessing to the poor and needy sinners in this world.
Never forget that you are important in Godís eyes, whatever this world thinks of you. However poor and humble you are, you are worth more to the Lord than many sparrows. He will not let you fall to the ground without His permission, but he will uphold you with His mighty hand. And like a sparrow, you can dwell near to the house of the Lord and His sweet fellowship and blessings, which was the envy of David, one of this worldís greatest kings!
Yes beloved, we need more sparrows in our church!
Eagles make their nests on high upon the rock (Job 39:27-28). They make their homes high in the heavens, nearest to God, as it were. God said in Exodus 19:4, that He bore Israel on eagleís wings when He brought them out of Egypt. Eagles, with their regal poise and powerful wings, fly high and swift, and soar like royal cherubs, making them one of the most majestic of all the birds (Isa. 40:31).
May we be like eagles this evening. May we build our lives high upon the rock of ages, and near to the heart of God. May we be like our Lord, and carry the weak and feeble children of God on eaglesí wings to places of safety in the Lordís house. And may we mount up with wings as eagles, and fly like royal servants to the work of the Lord.
5) Are you a stork (Ps. 104:17)?
I will make only one comment about this bird, and that is, it is said that the stork is mute, and that it has no voice.
We need more storks in our church! May God help us to study to be quiet, and to be swift to hear and slow to speak. May we be mute in matters of gossip and spreading vicious and malicious rumors, and have no voice of unkind or hateful words, or any other words that are not edifying to the body of Christ.
Swans are truly a most beautiful and graceful creature, and they have some peculiar qualities. Swans are monogamous for life. They stay with their same partner as long as they live. Thus swans symbolize faithfulness. Swans are white as snow, which in the Bible is a symbol of purity. Swans are very beautiful to look upon, and most graceful to behold. Swans also have a long life (up to 35 years).
May we be like swans. May we be faithful, both to our mates, and more so to our Lord. May we be pure and white and free from sin and the pollutions of this world. May we be beautiful in heart and graceful in our lives. And may God grant us long lives to serve Him in His church.
What kind of bird (or birds), best describe you this evening?
I hope that we are not like Ostriches that have no wisdom or understanding, or peacocks that love to showoff and be seen of others, or owls who live in desolate places, or ravens and vultures that feast upon death, or like speckled birds who mix and mingle with this world and its idolatry.
May we be like chickens that gather, like doves that are holy and harmless, like sparrows that are a blessing to the poor, like eagles that soar, like storks that study to be quiet, and like swans that are faithful, and spiritually beautiful and graceful to behold.