I have a bird feeder outside the window by my desk. Every day an astonishing variety of birds come and go from the feeder. They come alone, in couples, or in groups. If I forget to fill the feeder, they disappear, only to return within a few hours once I fill it again. Rain, snow, even high winds don’t stop them. There might be different birds in different seasons, but there are always birds.
In the yard just beyond the feeder, robins hunt for worms and grubs and whatever other earthy delicacies are to be found below the surface. Red-tailed hawks circle the fields surrounding our home in search of ground squirrels and field mice. And once in a while, bald eagles appear high overhead, riding the wind currents. Startling black and white magpies with their dignified formal plumage, and ugly bare-headed turkey vultures play a janitorial role for the ecosystem, cleaning up what no one else wants to touch. (Turkey vultures are gross, but their bald scalps are practical … if you stuck your head in, er, road kill, bare skin would be a lot easier to keep clean.)
During my lifetime, I’ve fed pigeons in New York’s Battery Park, been adopted by a peacock, cared for an orphaned Canadian goose, had a flock of chickens, owned a cockatiel and parakeets, mourned the death of a baby magpie my son had plans to teach to talk, and tracked a (flock) of wild turkeys through the snow behind my house.
Of all God’s creatures, birds may be the most familiar to us. So familiar, in fact, sometimes we overlook them. We see them in mall parking lots, catch glimpses of them in our peripheral vision, hear them when they begin to chatter at the barest lightening of the eastern sky, and thrill to the promise of spring supposedly warranted by the appearance of the first robin. But birds, by virtue of their commonality, can serve as powerful reminders of God’s love and provision.
God used birds as an example throughout Scripture, in both the old and new testaments. Noah sent out a dove from the ark to determine when the waters had receded from the land, confirming God’s promise. The Holy Spirit’s method of coming to rest upon Jesus is described as being “like a dove.” The Psalms repeatedly describe God’s care for us as that of a bird’s self-sacrificing, gentle care for its young. Mother birds, for example, rip the softest feathers from their own breasts to line their nests. Kind of reminds me of breast feeding.
Beyond enjoying their natural characteristics, birds serve as a powerful reminder for me of God’s love and provision. God used birds as an example throughout Scripture, in both the old and new testaments. There are too many references to share in one post, so I’m just going to put my favorites here. I hope that these verses, reminders of God’s incredible care for us, the value He places on us, will bless, encourage, and comfort you as much as they do for me!
Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young —
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
My King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You.
Selah Ps 84:3-4 NKJV
- God provides a home for birds, He’ll provide a home for me and my children. Are you praying for a change in your housing situation? Here’s a verse to tack your faith to!
Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows.
- Do you ever feel worthless? Like you don’t count for much? God is aware of every bird that falls, much less every one of us, made in His image and likeness. Have you ever found a feather? You noticed that feather. God notices you – every pain, every hurt, every victory, every success.
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
- Birds don’t DO anything to earn God’s care and provision, He just cares for them because God is love. His love is unconditional … the next time you catch yourself wondering if you’ve done enough, given enough, prayed enough, or praised enough to earn His care, read this verse again!
Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”
- We can trust our lives to God’s kingdom, and to the lordship of Jesus Christ, just the way birds trust the trees to support them and their nests and their young, no matter the intensity of the wind or rain.
Plant these verses in your heart and be prepared to be reminded of His word everywhere you go!
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