Jesus And Birds – His Baptism

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17 KJV)

White Dove – Transparent Background PD

Matt. 3:1617. In the process of His baptism, Jesus went up . . . out of the water, the prepositions suggesting that He was completely in the water and came up out from it, again indicating immersion. The descending of the Spirit of God fulfilled the predicted sign to John in order to indicate the true Messiah (cf. John 1:33Is. 11:2). The dove was a symbol of innocence and purity (cf. 10:16) and served as an ideal symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit. The voice from heaven is that of the Father (see also 17:5John 12:28 where He speaks at the Transfiguration and just prior to the Crucifixion), giving His verbal approval to the ministry of His beloved Son. There can be no doubt that all three persons of the Trinity are actively involved here as distinct persons of the Godhead. The Father speaks, the Spirit descends, and the Son is baptized. (King James Study Bible Notes)

Matt. 3:16 Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus not to overcome sin (for he was sinless), but to equip him (see note on Jdg 3:10) for his work as the divine-human Messiah. (Case for Christ Study Bible)

Matt. 3:16 the Spirit of God descending: This was God’s official recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. (NKJV Study Bible)

Here are the other three passages from the Gospel writers:

“And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11 KJV)

Dove PD By Malone

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 KJV)

White Dove – Transparent Background PD

“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34 KJV)

Dove Landing PD

John 1:34 I saw. John gives his final, definitive answer to the Pharisees who were challenging his right to baptize in water. God Himself had sent him to do so (John 1:33), so that when Jesus also would come for baptism (Luke 3:21-22) to “fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), God could identify Him by sending the Holy Spirit upon Him in the form of a dove (John 1:32-33), in order that “He should be made manifest to Israel” (John 1:31). (New Defender’s Study Bible Notes)

I trust you are enjoying and learning from these post of Jesus and the Birds. Stay Tuned for More. (I’m just letting the Word speak for itself.)


See:

 

Jesus And Birds – His Dedication

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

The first time, listed in the Gospels, when Jesus, in His Humanity, is near a bird, was at His dedication. According to the Jewish law, the first born son was to be dedicated at the temple. This was to take place 40 days after he was born. This was so that Mary, his earthly mother, to be purified and Jesus could be dedicated..

“Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “EVERY MALE WHO OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD” ), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.” (Luke 2:22-24 NKJV)

Bible Gateway’s – MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV) note

2:22 her purification. A woman who bore a son was ceremonially unclean for 40 days (twice that if she bore a daughter—Lev. 12:2–5). After that she was to offer a yearling lamb and a dove or pigeon (Lev. 12:6). If poor, she could offer two doves or pigeons (Lev. 12:8). Mary’s offering indicates that she and Joseph were poor (v. 24). to Jerusalem. A journey of about 6 mi. from Bethlehem. to present Him to the Lord. The dedication of the firstborn son was also required by Moses’ law (v. 23, cf. Ex. 13:212–15).

At forty days old, we could assume that Jesus was not really aware of the doves or pigeons that were used for this offering. Assumptions are not always 100% correct. We are not going to delve into that discussion here. Nor will we try to assume whether other birds were near Jesus at the manger. We are just going to use what the Word says.

Common Rock Pigeon Pair ©ARKive

The reason the turtledove or pigeons were used, was because of the finances of his mother and Joseph, his step-father.

2:24 turtledoves. See Leviticus 12:8. Joseph, despite his royal lineage, was only a young carpenter, too poor to bring a lamb for his offering.” (Defender’s Bible)

“The fact that they offered two pigeons instead of a lamb and a pigeon is an indication that Joseph and Mary were not wealthy. Levitical law required a woman, after the birth of a son, to purify herself for 40 days before going to the temple to offer a sacrifice for her purification. The law stated that she was to offer a lamb and a dove, but if she could not afford these, she could offer two pigeons or doves” (Leviticus 12:2–8). (Halley’s Bible Handbook Notes)

As we journey on with Jesus and Birds, He will be telling about them by way of parables and others means. Stay tuned!


For notes and helps, I am using several resources beside God’s Word, the Bible. I use Bible Gateway as a source for many different Bible versions and study helps. Many are free, but a paid option is also available. [That is what I use – $3.99 month)

I also have many different Bibles I own and use, of which my favorite is the Defender’s Bible by Henry Morris. (older version) This can also be used online at Defender’s Bible from I.C.R.

Jesus and Birds – Introduction

Birds of the Bible

Birds and Jesus – Kids and younger reader version

Jesus and Birds – Introduction

Doves in Israel

Doves in Israel ©©

The Birds of the Bible was the original reason this blog came into being. That is what started this journey, to introduce you to the birds that are listed in the Bible. Many, if not most of those birds have been written about various times. We still continue to add to those articles.

While looking through my books, I came across “A Harmony of the Gospels For Students of the Life of Christ,” written by A. T. Robertson. Humm! A question hit me, How many times were there when Jesus and a bird or birds were mentioned at the time? Many of you can think of most of those occasions. Or can you? Do I remember all those times?

After doing a search, not exhaustive, there were at least 16 incidents where Jesus and a bird/birds were mentioned at the same event. Stay tuned and come along as I work these into post for us to learn more about the Creator of Our Avian Wonders. Yes, He was that Creator come to earth to pay the price of His Sacrifice on the Cross for our salvation.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3 KJV)

Birds of the Bible

Birds and Jesus – Kids and younger reader version

 

Anniversary Number 12

Hooded Merganser Diving Duck, Georgia, by William Wise

Here we go again with another anniversary of the blog. Around February 13th or so, was the 12 anniversary of Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus. During this year, we hit the two million visitor mark. Wow!

Eastern Phoebe on Beautyberry

Eastern Phoebe on Beautyberry 12-19-19

Looking at all the articles written about the 11th anniversary, I’ll let this one be simple. I just reread all the comments and encouragement that you sent last year. Those were and are again so appreciated. Now, the blog has slowed down some, but we are still blogging. Because of health and our new house, most of my birding adventures seem to be out my back door. I love the avian visitors!

This year, William Wise has joined us with some very interesting articles and photos. Welcome Aboard, William!! Dr. Jim has continued to contribute articles, which are always enjoyable. Ian Montgomery is still sending posts, and Emma Forster continues to enlighten us with her stories. Me, I’ve written less, but we are still at it.

Raven in Pumpkin by Linda Marcille

The Lord is always faithful and keeps us interested in His Creation.

Stay tuned to see what this new year of blogging will discover about our Avian Wonders from the Lord.

(9)  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
(10)  And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
(11)  but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
(12)  For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. (2 Corinthians 8:9-12 NKJV)

Who Won?

via Begegnung

A photographer, Alois Absenger, who lives in Southeast Styria, Germany, is one I have been following for quite a few years. He has great photos of many different topics, but captures critters often. This one caught my interest. Visit his site for splendid captures with his camera. Alois Absenger

PT8H0005-Absenger A

These verses help illustrate this:

Blessed be the LORD, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers (fox); The snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
(Psalms 124:6-8 NKJV)

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3 NKJV)

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 NKJV)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NKJV)

“Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6 NKJV)

“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” (Revelation 3:3 NKJV)

Thanks, Alois, for allowing me to use your photos occasionally.

Alois Absenger

Dabbler or Diver

1 Corinthians 2:10-13 “The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along.” (The Message)

The Hooded Merganser ducks have finally arrived for the winter on the small pond behind my office in Georgia. Not only are they so unlike our resident Mallards in appearance, sporting that black-and-white retractable crest, but they differ greatly in habit and action. That’s the difference between dabblers and divers!

When not cutting across the water for a free handout of bread, our trio of “green head” Mallards stay along the edges of the pond, searching the shallows for aquatic vegetation and larvae. They are the dabblers. But the Mergansers! Those “hoodies” swim out to the middle of the pond and SPLASH!!!… they disappear, diving down to the depths. They are the divers. They go deep for those delectable bottom dwellers!

When it comes to the Christian life, dabbling along the edges might be just enough to keep you alive until the next church service. But oh how much richer, how much more rewarding, to dive to the depths of sanctification and sacrifice. C.S. Lewis wrote, “This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea and there neither dive nor swim, but only to dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.

One observer of ducks wrote, “Dabbling ducks have the condition known as ‘duck butt.’ You look at them in the water and sometimes see no face, just a duck rear end sticking straight up in the air.” And over the last twenty-six years of my salvation, I’ve observed that the church visitors or new converts that remain on the edge – only occasionally seeing their faces and merely dabbling in dedication – they usually migrate away at their season’s end, never to return. But the diver! The diver that abandons all to explore the depths of prayer, discipleship, ministry, giving, evangelism, and the call of God, they repeatedly come with mouths full and to spare for others!

If you’ve been dabbling on the edges in your commitment to serve Christ and to serve in your local church, row out to the middle, step out of the boat, and dive in. I assure you, the water’s great! That’s the difference between dabblers and divers!

Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that uses nature writing and photography to glorify our Creator and teach the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

See more post from William Wise

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds IV

Little Grassbird (Megalurus gramineus) Adult Feeding Juvenile©WikiC

While listening to Wisdom For The Heart on BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network), I heard this message by Pastor Stephen Davey and wanted to share it. His message was “Better than the Birds” and of course it caught my attention. There are four parts, but I am only sharing the introduction and part four here.

Better than the Birds

Luke 12:6-31

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds was the introduction to the “Better Than The Birds” message by Pastor Stephen Harvey.

We were told that “1. Worry denies the gracious care of God.”

We were told, “2. Secondly, worry depreciates the higher value of mankind” In  Better Than The Birds II

We were told, “3. Thirdly, worry distorts our perspective in life” In Better Than The Birds III

Now for Part IV

4. Worry diminishes our distinctiveness as believers

Look at verse 29. “And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying [about it]. 30. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek.”

Even as Christians we can get caught up in the world’s idea that we live because of our bodies. And since we think we live because of our bodies, we start living for our bodies.
That’s the way the world lives . . . it’s literally all about your body – your body – what you do with it, what you do for it, what you do to it – what you put on it, what you put in it.
That’s the passion of the world – the body.

Further, one author wrote it this way, “it is characteristic of the secular world to be obsessed with economic questions, to be almost entirely engrossed by consumer concerns, to be preoccupied with finding and getting better and better things.”xi

Jesus says, effectively, all these things are the things the nations of earth are after.

But maybe you’re thinking, well, somebody’s got to worry about my stuff!

So be careful here . . . let’s be balanced. Jesus isn’t advocating that we just stick our heads in the sand and everything will be alright.

Osprey Catching Fish - Viera Wetlands

Osprey Catching Fish – Viera Wetlands by Dan

The truth is, the animal kingdom is busy. Those little birds work hard . . . just watch them sometime. I doubt any of them get 2 weeks of vacation.

The question is, are you actively stewarding or managing what God has given you or are really at heart worrying about what God hasn’t given you or what He might not let you keep?

One author reviewed statistical percentages and summarized that:

 40% of our worries are about the future
 20% of our worries are about the past
 22% of our worries are about our health
 And 8% of our worries are about petty things we can’t do anything about; which means, 90% of what we worry about are things we can’t change.

Which is why one man wrote, “Worry is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do but it never takes you anywhere.”

But what do we do about stuff we worry about?

I read about one man’s solution. He told his friend, “I have a mountain of debt; I’ve lost my job, my car was repossessed, our house is in foreclosure and I’m not even worried about it!”

“You’re not?” his friend said, “why not?”

“Well, I’ve hired a professional worrier. He does all the worrying for me, and that way I don’t have to think about it.”

“That’s fantastic. How much does your professional worrier charge you for his services?”

“Fifty thousand dollars a year.”

“Fifty thousand dollars a year – where are you going to get that kind of money?”

“I don’t know . . . that’s his worry!”xii

There’s got to be a better solution than that.

Jesus effectively challenges us with two solutions. They’re not easy . . . but they’re right.

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

1. Make sure God and His kingdom stays first!

Verse 31, Jesus says, ‘But seek His kingdom and these things will be added to you.
In other words, He’s promised to give you the Kingdom – vs. 32 – now live with the Kingdom of God in mind.
Imagine it this way. Imagine that after this service, I showed you a will that my uncle left – he was a multimillionaire and he just died and showed you where he left all his money to you – all 25 million dollars. He didn’t leave it to me – his nephew – he left it to you – my former friend. You used to go to church here.

Now all you have to do is go to the bank tomorrow morning, sign the papers and deposit that 25 million dollars into your personal bank account.

Now tell me. How would you feel about your car on the way home? Would you pull up at a red light and be embarrassed that it’s so old? What about the interest rate on your home?

Would you worry about that? What about the stock market forecasts on the evening news tonight? Would you be worried about the meeting your boss has asked for tomorrow afternoon . . . would you lose any sleep over any of that?

No . . . why not? Because you are even now a multimillionaire, even though you don’t have one nickel of that money in your account.

But it is effectively already yours.

Jesus says, “You’re going to be given the kingdom – you are a king and queen in the coming spectacular reign of Christ on earth.

Between now and then, how are you going to live? You don’t have the crown or the robe or the throne – but it’s already yours. So keep that in mind live for that . . . pursue that . . . seek first that kingdom . . . keep your future in mind.

Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) ©WikiC Feeding Young

2. Make sure God and His kingdom stays first!

Matthew’s account adds another phrase to Luke’s account that provides the second solution.

Matthew records in 6:34; So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Can you believe Jesus said that? Don’t worry about tomorrow – it has enough trouble just waiting for you.

Is He being pessimistic?

No . . . He’s also handing out another pearl of wisdom.

Here it is . . . not only should we make sure we put God first; secondly, we should make sure tomorrow stays put!

I’m not sure about the grammar, but you get my point. Make sure tomorrow stays put.

Now, Jesus isn’t saying don’t plan for tomorrow; He’s saying, don’t pull tomorrow’s problems and challenges into today.

God gives grace for today – and He doles out His grace one day at a time; which means Satan will try to crush our spiritual shoulders by trying to make us carry tomorrow’s burdens with only today’s grace.

So, overcoming worry means you develop the art of living one day at a time.xiii

Hudson Taylor often said, “When you are walking with God [today], the responsibilities [of tomorrow] rest with Him.xiv

In the meantime, make sure you put God first;
make sure tomorrow stays put.

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) by Robert Scanlon

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) by Robert Scanlon

The truth is, and the convicting challenge in these final questions we’ve explored, is that you are better than the birds – now live like it . . . live up to your value as you trust your sovereign Lord – who cares about every detail of your life now – and He’s even preparing a kingdom with you in mind.

Martin Luther, that reformer centuries ago once described his favorite preacher. He wrote, I have one preacher I love better than any other; it is my little tame robin who preaches to me daily. I put his crumbs upon my window sill, especially at night. He hops onto the sill when he wants his supply, and takes as much as he desires to satisfy his need. From thence he always hops to a little tree close by, and lifts up his voice to God, and sings his carol of praise and gratitude, then tucks his little head under his wings, and goes fast to sleep, leaving tomorrow to look after itself.xv

That’s quite a preacher . . . quite a sermon to begin living up to – let’s live up to it, today.

This manuscript is from a sermon preached on 4/28/2013 by Stephen Davey.
© Copyright 2013 Stephen Davey All rights reserved.

(Copied with permission from Wisdom for the Heart and Pastor Stephen Davey.)

i John MacArthur, Matthew 1-7 (Moody Publishers, 1985), p. 419
ii Ibid
iii William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Westminster, 1975), p. p. 160
iv Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible: Luke (Tyndale, 1997), p. 314
v Barclay, p. 161
vi MacArthur, p. 119
vii MacArthur, p. 140
viii William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew: Volume 1 (Westminster, 1975), p. 257
ix R. Kent Hughes, Luke: Volume 2 (Crossway, 1998), p. 54
x MacArthur, Matthew, p. 421
xi Grant R. Osborne, Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Luke (Zondervan, 2010), p. 252
xii Robert J. Morgan, Stories, Illustrations and Quotes (Thomas Nelson, 2000), p. 804
xiii Barclay, Matthew, p. 258
xiv Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor: Volume 2 (OMF International, 1996), p. 31
xv Morgan, p. 804


Lee’s Addition:

What a great series of messages from Pastor Stephen Davey. Wisdom For The Heart

We heard this originally on our local Bible Broadcasting Network station. It is now on the internet at:

BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network),

See:

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds III

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 3©USFWS

While listening to Wisdom For The Heart on BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network), I heard this message by Pastor Stephen Davey and wanted to share it. His message was “Better than the Birds” and of course it caught my attention. There are four parts, but I am only sharing the introduction and part three here.

Better than the Birds

Luke 12:6-31

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds was the introduction to the “Better Than The Birds” message by Pastor Stephen Harvey.

We were told that “1. Worry denies the gracious care of God.”

We were told, “2. Secondly, worry depreciates the higher value of mankind” In  Better Than The Birds II,

Now for Part III

3. Thirdly, worry distorts our perspective in life
In other words, worry makes you start living only for the here and now!

Go back to verse 22. And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat, nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.”

In other words, life is really about more what we’re going to eat and what we’re going to wear?

Jesus delivers encouragement to those in his day who could honestly be worried about the lack of water and food. In His culture, workers were paid daily, they bought their food daily – which is why they were taught to pray for daily bread – which we don’t worry so much about because our loaves of bread will last a couple of weeks.
In Jesus’ day, nobody was praying for bread next week – that was simply too far ahead.

Add to that the fact that their government offered no security; there wasn’t insurance, workman’s comp or benefit packages.

But there were taxes to be paid. New Testament scholars estimate that as much as 40% of their income went to taxes.

All that to say, this challenge by Jesus was staggering to them – and a great challenge to their faith in God’s provision.

In our generation, this isn’t so much an encouragement as much as it is an indictment.

While the average person has food in the fridge, clothes in the closet and a car in the driveway, what you eat and what you drink and what you dress in and what you drive have become national obsessions.

We are effectively worried that our clothes aren’t costly enough; our cars aren’t new enough; our food isn’t gourmet enough; our bank accounts aren’t big enough.

Jesus says, to that generation and this one – your life is about much more than that . . . don’t live for stuff that runs out or wears out – or goes out of style.

He promises here, not that He’ll meet our greeds, but our needs.

Slaty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea) ©©ornitholoco

Slaty Flowerpiercer (Diglossa plumbea) ©©ornitholoco

Oh, and by the way, if you want to talk about really splendid clothing – verse 27 – Consider the lilies, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory, clothed himself like one of these. (now here’s the pearl of wisdom) 28. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!

Jesus probably had his audience look around on that hillside – perhaps He gestured at the irises, the Turk’s cap lilies, the gladioli and scarlet poppies along with a smattering of wild flowers that bloomed for a day or two on the hillsides of Palestine.viii

He clothed them brilliantly and they don’t eve last that long!

The word for furnace here is a reference to the ordinary clay oven of this day – used primarily to bake bread. When the cook wanted to raise the temperature of the oven quickly, they would have handfuls of these same field flowers and dried grasses bundled nearby and they would grab a handful and throw it into the oven.

Something destined for the oven was still designed by God with brilliant colors and creative genius.

And all these wildflowers didn’t necessarily make it to the oven.

Martin Luther the converted monk and church reformer in the 16th century said that there were lessons of God’s glory in such beautiful flowers destined for such short life spans – he wrote “it seems that the flowers stand there and make us blush and become our teachers. Thank you flowers, you who are to be devoured by the cows!”ix

In other words, birds and flowers and nature around us teaches us the glory of God’s creative ability and His care and delight to have designed animals and flowers that live only briefly.

Twenty Hummingbirds at Feeder

Twenty Hummingbirds at Feeder

My wife has added birds to our backyard – strategically hanging feeders so that our back yard sounds like a constant aviary.
Yellow finches, hummingbirds, the elusive blue bird, the brilliant cardinal, sparrows, finches by the dozens, chic-a-dees, wrens, mourning doves, the unwanted mockingbird who thinks he owns the backyard and our deck and our house too.

Marsha and I often talk about the marvel of God’s hidden designs – noticed by so few. God created so much variety – to take the time to design splashes of white underneath large black eyes; to stripe transparent wings with burgundy and brown – to design symmetrical patterns of blue and gray.

Why? To declare His glory and to bring such sights for us to enjoy and marvel over His creation . . . and another reason – to remind us not to worry.

National Aviary – Outside feeder

For if God so cares about the details and designs of little birds and wild flowers – how much more does He care about us – His chief design, made in His image to talk with Him and walk with Him and worship Him and fellowship with and one day reign with Him.

In fact, notice verse 32. Do not worry – don’t be anxious or afraid – little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

In other words, we haven’t seen anything yet.

Don’t worry! Why?

Worry denies the gracious care of God

Worry depreciates the higher value of mankind

Worry distorts your perspective in life to the present –the here and now

One more:

(Copied with permission from Wisdom for the Heart and Pastor Stephen Davey.)

i John MacArthur, Matthew 1-7 (Moody Publishers, 1985), p. 419
ii Ibid
iii William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Westminster, 1975), p. p. 160
iv Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible: Luke (Tyndale, 1997), p. 314
v Barclay, p. 161
vi MacArthur, p. 119


Lee’s Addition:

See:

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds II

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Nikhil Devasar

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Nikhil Devasar

Better than the Birds

Luke 12:6-31

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds was the introduction to the “Better Than The Birds” message by Pastor Stephen Harvey. We were told that “1. Worry denies the gracious care of God.”

Now for part II:

2. Secondly, worry depreciates the higher value of mankind

He’s not finished with the birds yet – notice verse 7 again – the last part – Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Matthews account says, “Are you not worth much more than they?

In case we didn’t pick up on the lesson – in case we’re a little slow – God’s care of the lesser creation ensures His care of His highest creation.

Evidently Jesus thinks we just might be a little slow on the uptake here – or maybe find it hard to believe – so He circles back around to this subject again and adds another pearl to the string – look over at verse 24. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, they have no store room nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!

Maybe Jesus repeated this lesson simply because He knew that billions of people one day would struggle with believing they were less valuable than animals.

Was God peering into the 21st century or what?

You sit through the average Animal Planet program or read the latest evolutionary textbook taught to middle schoolers and you’ll get the message loud and clear that human beings have messed up the circle of life; humans have interrupted the food chain; humans are in the way and if we’d only get out of the way, the animals who evidently have the right to be on the planet – because they evolved first – would get what they deserve; if we’d just go back to living in caves, the animals would be able to enjoy their lives so much better.

That message is coming across loud and clear! Whenever you remove the glory of God’s created order, Genesis 1 and 2, where mankind was made in the image of God and given the right to rule earth – to train and subjugate and benefit from the animal kingdom – you end up with a culture where animals ultimately matter more.

You now exist to serve them; you now live to make their lives more comfortable.

Now I’m not defending animal abuse, by the way. We’re to be good stewards of earth and the animal kingdom.

But go visit India today, and watch, as I did, sacred cows which have been given superior rights within their culture – watch them meander across busy roadways and down streets cluttered with starving children – and begging mothers with babies on their hips; where a child starving to death is less important than a cow having something to eat.

How do we know that human beings are more valuable than animals? How do we know that?

Apart from God, we don’t.

Apart from the words of Jesus Christ, the creator of all things (Colossians 1), we might be confused – look again at verse 24 – you are more valuable than the birds.

Is that radical news or what?

Raven; Grand Canyon National Park, by William Wise

Raven; Grand Canyon National Park, by William Wise

And this really got the attention of Jesus’ Jewish audience, by the way, because Jesus used ravens as an example here – ravens were considered unclean according to Mosaic Law (Leviticus 11:13-15).vii

The ravens were unclean birds.

I’m sorry for how that makes you Baltimore Ravens fans feel – I’m sorry you had to find that out – you’ve been cheering all along for unclean animals . . . you already knew that.

Here’s why this was so stunning an analogy for Christ to make: It’s one thing to be insignificant like a sparrow and be cared for by God – it’s another thing to be unclean and despised and be cared for by God.

And you know why I’m so glad Jesus added this illustration?

Because the enemy of our heart and spirit and joy will more than likely come and whisper in our ear – sparrows might be cheap, but at least they’re clean animals – no wonder God cares about them; but you’re more like an unclean bird . . . despised and unclean according to God’s holy law . . . you don’t deserve God’s attention.

You have very reason to worry about your life.

But notice – verse 24. God has managed to care for them too – He effectively feeds them too – and get this – “How much more valuable you are than the animal kingdom!”

Worry denies the gracious care of God

Worry depreciates the higher value of mankind.

Brown-necked Raven of Israel

Brown-necked Raven, Israel ©WikiC

(Copied with permission from Wisdom for the Heart and Pastor Stephen Davey.)

vii MacArthur, p. 140


See:

From The Deepest Wilderness, To The Most Crowded Cities

From the deepest wilderness, to the most crowded cities

The great thing about enjoying birds is that you can experience that joy just about anywhere you go! Even if we’re shut indoors at a meeting or conference, we can simply pick the seat next to the window and find our avian friends.

In his chapter in the book Good Birders Still Don’t Wear White, author and birder Noah Strycker wrote, “The beauty of birds is that they are everywhere, from the deepest wilderness to the most crowded inner cities.”

I usually find the Hermit Thrush in one of the more deeply wooded areas of my regular birding routes. Walton County, GA. November 2018 by William Wise.

And the great thing about being a Christian is that we can engage with our Creator anywhere we are! Whether we are admiring His handiwork on a nature hike, lifting up His name in organized worship, or slipping into a closet during a stressful day at work to call upon His name, our God is ever-present.

In the book of Psalms, David wrote, “If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.” Psalm 139:8-10

Mourning Dove on roof top, Athens, Georgia USA

Just like the birds, “from the deepest wilderness, to the most crowded cities”, our God is there!

William Wise Photo Nature Notes is a wildlife, birding and nature photography blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104 The Message


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds

House Sparrow by Ray

In 2013, the Birds of the Bible – Worry and Sparrows articles were posted for part I and II. It’s 2020 now, and I’d like to repost these, plus add III and IV, which were never posted. They were overlooked by me. If your memory is like mine, you need a refresher. This time I will add the last 2 articles.


While listening to Wisdom For The Heart on BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network), I heard this message by Pastor Stephen Davey and wanted to share it. His message was “Better than the Birds” and of course it caught my attention. There are four parts, this is the introduction and part one.

Better than the Birds

Luke 12:6-31

I have read that a dense fog – so extensive that it covers seven city blocks a hundred feet deep is actually composed of no more than one glass of water; water, of course that’s divided into more than 60 billion droplets of water.i

Just a couple gallons of water can cripple an entire city.

In many ways, this perfectly illustrates the substance of worry. Just a little bit of it can spread and deepen and ultimately cripple the mind and the heart of even believers.

One author put it this way when he wrote, “Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.”ii

I find it extremely gracious of our Lord that whenever He addressed the subject of worry, and He did on several occasions, He went much further than simply saying, “You know better than that . . . worrying isn’t good for you . . . it’ll mess up your mind . . . isn’t right . . . stop worrying right now!”

Instead, Jesus graciously causes us to think through this vaporous substance of worry; He gives us several reasons to stop worrying and He even condescends in His patience to give us illustrations – effectively – giving us principles to teach us why we really don’t ever need to worry.

And several of His key principles are the form of questions.

Let me invite you to Luke chapter 12 where Jesus asks some profound questions.

He’s teaching His disciples – this chapter in Luke corresponds to His sermon in Matthew’s Gospel.

Now if you’ve ever read His sermon, you’ll notice that He goes from one subject to the next – almost randomly touching on a series of different topics.

Jesus is actually employing a Jewish teaching style called Charaz – which means, stringing pearls.iii

In other words, Jesus will string pearls of wisdom on a number of subjects, like someone might string together a rare necklace of pearls.

And one of the pearls He adds to his string of pearls is this subject of worry.

Let me give you four principles in this regard as we work through His comments on overcoming worry.

The first principle to understand is that:

Anyone for a Sparrow Snack?

Anyone for a Sparrow Snack?

   1. Worry denies the gracious care of God

And He proves His point by asking two questions – notice His first question at verse 6. Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.

Now if you compared this account with Matthews account, we’re told that 2 sparrows were sold for 1 penny.

The Greek term for this coin refers to a small brass coin worth about 1/10th of a day’s wage for a working laborer.

Which is a long way of saying, sparrows were the cheapest meat sold in the marketplace.iv

They were the food of the poorest of the poor. You barely got a mouthful of meat from a little sparrow.

Sparrows in snow ©©Bing

Sparrows in snow ©©Bing

In fact, Matthew’s Gospel tells us that you can buy 2 sparrows for a penny and Luke here tells us that you can get 5 sparrows for 2 penny’s; how’s that add up?

Well, we know from history that during the days of Christ, sparrows were so abundant and so cheaply sold to the poor that if you bought 4, you got one thrown in for nothing.

And that’s what Luke alludes to here – are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.

Now watch this – Luke is effectively saying, even the free sparrow is not forgotten by God. Even the sparrow that got thrown in for nothing matters to God.

You want to know why you never need to worry? Because to God you are never lost in the crowd.v

Not only does God not lose track of even one sparrow – he doesn’t even lose track of one single hair from your head.

Notice further in verse 7. Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

I’ve read that the average person’s head holds more than 100,000 hairs. Some of us are down to a few hundred.vi

A few dozen . . .

Now some commentators don’t think Jesus is being serious here – that He’s just exaggerating to make a point.

I mean, come on . . . He counts the number of the hairs on our heads? That number changes daily. Surely God doesn’t bother with that kind of detail. Gary Hallquist – 60,000; Dr. Burggraff – 12 . . . hundred.

No, I think that’s exactly His point. The glory of God revealed here is that He actually does know!

Jesus is effectively asking us, “Look, do you really think you can slip out of your Heavenly Father’s care – that you can somehow slip out from underneath the radar of His divine omniscience? Do you think He’s forgotten about you or that your problems are too numerous to keep up with?

I mean if He can keep track of 100,000 hairs on somebody’s head of hair, do you think He’ll get frustrated with you coming to Him over and over again to give Him your worries?

Do you think He’s going to say, “Look, there’s only so much room on my ledger and you’ve already been here a dozen times today . . . I just can’t keep track.”

Listen, if God is actually such a gracious, omniscient God – that He doesn’t overlook a single sparrow – even the one that gets thrown in for free – He will never overlook you either.

Worry denies the gracious care of God

Savannah Sparrow singing by Ray

Savannah Sparrow singing by Ray

(Copied with permission from Wisdom for the Heart and Pastor Stephen Davey.)

i John MacArthur, Matthew 1-7 (Moody Publishers, 1985), p. 419
ii Ibid
iii William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Westminster, 1975), p. p. 160
iv Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible: Luke (Tyndale, 1997), p. 314
v Barclay, p. 161
vi MacArthur, p. 119


Lee’s Addition:

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 KJV)

What a great encouragement not to worry. Thanks, Pastor Davey for a great message.

See:

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Peeking For Knowledge

Sharing this from my Birds of the Bible for Kids blog.

Now that you students have returned to school after the holidays, it’s time for more articles.

I said "no" Peeking - by Poplively

To be able to learn, we need to “peek” in our books and listen to our teachers so we can gain knowledge. Don’t be afraid to read and study.

“I applied my heart to know, To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, To know the wickedness of folly, Even of foolishness and madness.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25 NKJV)

In all your studying, don’t forget to “peek” into your Bible.

A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:5-7 NKJV)

Photo used:

I said “no” Peeking – by Poplively, Peek by Poplively

ABC’s of the Gospel