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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Birds of the Bible – Lord Who Is There

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) ©USFWS

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) ©USFWS

I am currently taking a Ladies Bible study, “Disciples Prayer Life.” One of our lessons suggested using some of the different names of God while praying. There is quite a list of God’s names in our lesson. Some of them are:

  • God (Elohim) – Sovereign, Power, Creator
  • Lord (Adonai) – Master, Ruler, Owner
  • Jehovah (the self-existing Lord) – eternal, changeless, faithful
  • The Lord our Provider (Jehovah-Jireh)
  • The Lord our Peace (Jehovah-Shalom)
  • The Lord who is there (Jehovah-Shammah)

It is this last one, Jehovah-Shammah, that has really caught my interest. As you can see, it means “The Lord who is there.”

When we read Genesis 1:1, it begins with “In the beginning, God…” The word for God here is Elohim – אֱלֹהִים ,  ‘ĕlôhı̂ym,  el-o-heem’ There is much to be said about this, but, for now, that is not my purpose. The Lord God is the Creator, Sovereign and all-powerful. God has no beginning, or ending, He is the Alpha and the Omega.

Because God has always been, the word, Jehovah-Shammah, “The Lord who is there” is also true. God’s Word chose not to use that word here.

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) by Ray

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) by Ray

All of this to explain a passage about the sparrows, which I have used many times before, that could have used the word ” Jehovah-Shammah.”

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31 KJV) (emphasis mine)

When a sparrow or any bird falls and/or dies, their Father, knows all about it because HE IS THERE.

If a fallen sparrow is noticed by the Father, who is there, should we not receive comfort from knowing that our Lord God knows and sees us also. As that passage goes on, there is comfort given to us because we are of more value than the birds. We, mankind, were made in the image of God, animals and birds were not. Because of sin, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, provided salvation for us. It cost the Lord His blood to save us from our sins. We have a choice whether to receive that Sacrifice or not.

Anyone for a Sparrow Snack?

Every since I saw this photo, Matthew 10:29, has meant more to me than just a bird dying of old age. That whole cage is packed with sparrows to be eaten. That sickens me, but maybe I eat things that sicken others in another culture. I just found another photo of a roasted sparrow. I refuse to post it.

I love Sparrows of all kinds and the other birds. Most of all, I am thankful for a Creator God who cares for those birds and for us. When we KNOW that the Lord IS THERE, we can have comfort knowing we can pray and bring our requests to the Lord, knowing that He cares and already knows all about our needs.

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Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Sparrows

Birds of the Bible – Worry and Sparrows

Sharing The Gospel

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Lee’s Seven-Word Sunday – 1/24/16

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House Sparrow nest in Sign

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house

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Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. (Psalms 84:3 KJV)

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Sandra’s New Kooky Challenge

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Sparrow Quote from The Life Project

House Sparrows visiting National Aviary Parrot Show by Lee

House Sparrows visiting National Aviary by Lee

The Life Project by Don Merritt is a blog I follow. Here is an interesting quote from Jesus and His relationship with the Disciples:

Jesus wraps up this thought with the example of a sparrow. Who watches out for sparrows? Actually, we could ask something like: Who cares at all about sparrows?

Jesus gives us an answer: His Father in heaven cares about each and every single insignificant sparrow on the planet, and nothing happens to a single little sparrow that He doesn’t know about.

That is a staggering thought…

Read the whole article….

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Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (Matthew 10:29 KJV)

The Life Project

Jesus and His relationship with the Disciples

Birds of the Bible – Sparrows

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Jenny Has a Good Word for Some Sparrows – Chapter 3

White-throated Sparrow by Ray

Jenny Has a Good Word for Some Sparrows

The Song, White-throated and Fox Sparrows.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

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Listen to the story read.

CHAPTER 3. Jenny Has a Good Word for Some Sparrows.

The morning after the fight between Jenny and Mr. Wren and Bully the English Sparrow found Peter Rabbit in the Old Orchard again. He was so curious to know what Jenny Wren would do for a house that nothing but some very great danger could have kept him away from there. Truth to tell, Peter was afraid that not being able to have their old house, Jenny and Mr. Wren would decide to leave the Old Orchard altogether. So it was with a great deal of relief that as he hopped over a low place in the old stone wall he heard Mr. Wren singing with all his might.

The song was coming from quite the other side of the Old Orchard from where Bully and Mrs. Bully had set up housekeeping. Peter hurried over. He found Mr. Wren right away, but at first saw nothing of Jenny. He was just about to ask after her when he caught sight of her with a tiny stick in her bill. She snapped her sharp little eyes at him, but for once her tongue was still. You see, she couldn’t talk and carry that stick at the same time. Peter watched her and saw her disappear in a little hole in a big branch of one of the old apple-trees. Hardly had she popped in than she popped out again. This time her mouth was free, and so was her tongue.

“You’d better stop singing and help me,” she said to Mr. Wren sharply. Mr. Wren obediently stopped singing and began to hunt for a tiny little twig such as Jenny had taken into that hole.

“Well!” exclaimed Peter. “It didn’t take you long to find a new house, did it?”

“Certainly not,” snapped Jenny “We can’t afford to sit around wasting time like some folk I know.”

Peter grinned and looked a little foolish, but he didn’t resent it. You see he was quite used to that sort of thing. “Aren’t you afraid that Bully will try to drive you out of that house?” he ventured.

Sweet Voice the Vesper Sparrow, Little Friend the Song Sparrow – Burgess Bird Book ©©

Jenny Wren’s sharp little eyes snapped more than ever. “I’d like to see him try!” said she. “That doorway’s too small for him to get more than his head in. And if he tries putting his head in while I’m inside, I’ll peck his eyes out! She said this so fiercely that Peter laughed right out.

“I really believe you would,” said he.

“I certainly would,” she retorted. “Now I can’t stop to talk to you, Peter Rabbit, because I’m too busy. Mr. Wren, you ought to know that that stick is too big.” Jenny snatched it out of Mr. Wren’s mouth and dropped it on the ground, while Mr. Wren meekly went to hunt for another. Jenny joined him, and as Peter watched them he understood why Jenny is so often spoken of as a feathered busybody.

For some time Peter Rabbit watched Jenny and Mr. Wren carry sticks and straws into that little hole until it seemed to him they were trying to fill the whole inside of the tree. Just watching them made Peter positively tired. Mr. Wren would stop every now and then to sing, but Jenny didn’t waste a minute. In spite of that she managed to talk just the same.

Song Sparrow by Ray

Song Sparrow by Ray

“I suppose Little Friend the Song Sparrow got here some time ago,” said she.

Peter nodded. “Yes,” said he. “I saw him only a day or two ago over by the Laughing Brook, and although he wouldn’t say so, I’m sure that he has a nest and eggs already.”

Jenny Wren jerked her tail and nodded her head vigorously. “I suppose so,” said she. “He doesn’t have to make as long a journey as we do, so he gets here sooner. Did you ever in your life see such a difference as there is between Little Friend and his cousin, Bully? Everybody loves Little Friend.”

Once more Peter nodded. “That’s right,” said he. “Everybody does love Little Friend. It makes me feel sort of all glad inside just to hear him sing. I guess it makes everybody feel that way. I wonder why we so seldom see him up here in the Old Orchard.”

“Because he likes damp places with plenty of bushes better,” replied Jenny Wren. “It wouldn’t do for everybody to like the same kind of a place. He isn’t a tree bird, anyway. He likes to be on or near the ground. You will never find his nest much above the ground, not more than a foot or two. Quite often it is on the ground. Of course I prefer Mr. Wren’s song, but I must admit that Little Friend has one of the happiest songs of any one I know. Then, too, he is so modest, just like us Wrens.”

Peter turned his head aside to hide a smile, for if there is anybody who delights in being both seen and heard it is Jenny Wren, while Little Friend the Song Sparrow is shy and retiring, content to make all the world glad with his song, but preferring to keep out of sight as much as possible.

Jenny chattered on as she hunted for some more material for her nest. “I suppose you’ve noticed,” said she, “that he and his wife dress very much alike. They don’t go in for bright colors any more than we Wrens do. They show good taste. I like the little brown caps they wear, and the way their breasts and sides are streaked with brown. Then, too, they are such useful folks. It is a pity that that nuisance of a Bully doesn’t learn something from them. I suppose they stay rather later than we do in the fall.”

“Yes,” replied Peter. “They don’t go until Jack Frost makes them. I don’t know of any one that we miss more than we do them.”

“Speaking of the sparrow family, did you see anything of Whitethroat?” asked Jenny Wren, as she rested for a moment in the doorway of her new house and looked down at Peter Rabbit.

Peter’s face brightened. “I should say I did!” he exclaimed. “He stopped for a few days on his way north. I only wish he would stay here all the time. But he seems to think there is no place like the Great Woods of the North. I could listen all day to his song. Do you know what he always seems to be saying?”

“What?” demanded Jenny.

I live happ-i-ly, happ-i-ly, happ-i-ly,” replied Peter. “I guess he must too, because he makes other people so happy.” (listen-©xeno-canto)

Jenny nodded in her usual emphatic way. “I don’t know him as well as I do some of the others,” said she, “but when I have seen him down in the South he always has appeared to me to be a perfect gentleman. He is social, too; he likes to travel with others.”

“I’ve noticed that,” said Peter. “He almost always has company when he passes through here. Some of those Sparrows are so much alike that it is hard for me to tell them apart, but I can always tell Whitethroat because he is one of the largest of the tribe and has such a lovely white throat. He really is handsome with his black and white cap and that bright yellow spot before each eye. I am told that he is very dearly loved up in the north where he makes his home. They say he sings all the time.”

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) by Ray

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) by Ray

“I suppose Scratcher the Fox Sparrow has been along too,” said Jenny. “He also started sometime before we did.”

“Yes,” replied Peter. “He spent one night in the dear Old Briar-patch. He is fine looking too, the biggest of all the Sparrow tribe, and HOW he can sing. The only thing I’ve got against him is the color of his coat. It always reminds me of Reddy Fox, and I don’t like anything that reminds me of that fellow. When he visited us I discovered something about Scratcher which I don’t believe you know.”

“What?” demanded Jenny rather sharply.

“That when he scratches among the leaves he uses both feet at once,” cried Peter triumphantly. “It’s funny to watch him.”

“Pooh! I knew that,” retorted Jenny Wren. “What do you suppose my eyes are make for? I thought you were going to tell me something I didn’t know.”

Peter looked disappointed.

The heart of the wise instructs his mouth And adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:23-24 NASB)

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Jenny seems to be in a kinder mood in this chapter. She has kind words about three different Sparrows. Can you name them?

What kind of sparrow was Little Friend? What kind of songs does he sing? Where does he like to live? What color cap does he have?

Our second sparrow is pictured at the top. Where was Whitethroat headed? What color is his cap? What does his song sound like? (When people use word to descrbe a song, that is called – Mnemonics.

Who is the largest sparrow? What color is Scratcher’s coat? Why is he called “Scratcher”?

Jenny is using nice words about the sparrows this time. Don’t you like to have good words spoken about you? Do you use nice words when talking about someone?

Read the two verses and think about how the Lord wants your speech.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. (Psalms 19:14 NKJV)

Bonus – A Fox Sparrow Scratching

Links:

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Links:

Bully the English Sparrow, Chippy the Chipping Sparrow - Burgess Bird Book ©©

 

  Next Chapter – Chippy, Sweetvoice, and Dotty.

 

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 

Burgess Bird Book For Children

 

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes flavifrons) ©WikiC

  

 

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Birds of the Bible – Worry and Sparrows II

House Sparrow by Ray

House Sparrow by Ray

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, see the introduction and part 1 and now part two here.

Better than the Birds

Luke 12:6-31

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?

Thick-billed Raven (Corvus crassirostris) ©WikiC

Thick-billed Raven (Corvus crassirostris) ©WikiC

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.

(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:

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? (Luke 12:24 NKJV)

What a great encouragement not to worry. Thanks, Pastor Davey for part 2 of your great message.

See:

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Bible Birds – Hasting’s Sparrow Poem

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) by Ray

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) by Ray

So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31 NASB)

Some years ago King Edward the Seventh visited Norwich. The school children were drawn up in a line to meet him, and when he passed along they cheered just as loud as ever they could, and they sang “God save the king” with all their heart and soul. But after the monarch had passed by one little girl was found in floods of tears. The teacher, trying to comfort her, asked, “Didn’t you see the king?” “Ye—es,” sobbed the girl, “but he did—didn’t see me!”

An earthly king, no matter how kind and willing he may be, cannot see everybody, but the great King of kings sees and knows and loves each one of us as though that one were the only person in the world. He knows you far more intimately than your father or mother does. He is never too busy looking after the world to forget one of you. It doesn’t matter how plain you are, or how poor, or how little thought of, God cares for you. He cares for the plain, despised sparrow, and He cares far, far more for you.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) by Nikhil Devasar

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) by Nikhil Devasar

I’m only a little sparrow,
A bird of low degree;
My life is of little value,
But the dear Lord cares for me.

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver (Plocepasser mahali) ©WikiC

White-browed Sparrow-Weaver (Plocepasser mahali) ©WikiC

I know there are many sparrows;
All over the world they are found;
But our Heavenly Father knoweth
When one falls to the ground.

Sind Sparrow (Passer pyrrhonotus) by Nikhil Devasar

Sind Sparrow (Passer pyrrhonotus) by Nikhil Devasar

I fly through the thickest forest,
I alight on many a spray;
I have no chart or compass,
But I never lose my way.

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) ©USFWS

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) ©USFWS

I just fold my wings at nightfall
Wherever I happen to be;
For the Father is always watchings
No harm can happen to me.

Savannah Sparrow Fifty Point-Canada by Ray Barlow

Savannah Sparrow Fifty Point-Canada by Ray Barlow

I am only a little sparrow,
A bird of low degree,
But I know that the Father loves me.
Dost thou know His love for thee?

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The thoughts and poem are from The Children’s Great Text of the Bible by James Hastings. Part of the commentary on Matthew 10:31.

See:

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Birds of the Bible – Worry and Sparrows

House Sparrows visiting National Aviary Parrot Show by Lee

House Sparrows at National Aviary by Lee

While listening to Wisdom For The Heart on BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network) last week, 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 one here.

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.

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:

See Worry and Sparrows – Part II

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Bible Birds – Sparrows I

Russet Sparrow (Passer rutilans) by Nikhil Devasar

Russet Sparrow (Passer rutilans) by Nikhil Devasar

In the Bible, the Sparrows are mentioned in 7 verses. Check out these from the NKJV:

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. (Psalms 84:3 NKJV)

I lie awake, And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop. (Psalms 102:7 NKJV)

Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, So a curse without cause shall not alight. (Proverbs 26:2 NKJV)

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. (Matthew 10:29 NKJV)

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31 NKJV)

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. (Luke 12:6 NKJV)

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7 NKJV)

Sparrows are not always thought of very highly. Many people think they are just “little brown birds” and are of no use. But is that what the Scriptures says in those verses? No.

What can you learn from those verses?

The sparrow has found a ____________

The sparrow is found on the __________________

How does the sparrow fly? (see Proverbs 26:2) _______________

Who is aware of or allows a sparrow to fall to the ground? ______________

Are sparrows forgotten by God? ______________

How many sparrows were sold for one copper coin? ________

For two copper coins? ___________

Who is more valuable, you or a sparrow? _____________

We will talk more about Sparrows in the next Bible Birds – Sparrows II. For now, here are a few pictures of different Sparrows around the world.

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Bible Birds – Sparrows

Wordless Birds

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Birds Of The Bible – Gull With A Broken Wing

Laughing Gull Imm injured wing

Laughing Gull Imm injured wing

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (Matthew 10:29 KJV)

Yesterday, Dan and I went to Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland, FL for a little birdwatching and to just enjoy the day. It was around 77 degrees and a few clouds were hanging out. Just another beautiful day from the Lord. After walking as far as I could, we turned around and retraced our steps back along the southern shore of the lake.

My legs are doing much better, praise the Lord, but I still have issues. I stopped to rest a minute and spotted a Laughing Gull along the shore. Something in its appearance didn’t seem right, so I got up to investigate. (They have benchs along the way.) What I found was that the Gull had a wing hanging down and I assume it was broken. It appears to be an immature Laughing.

Laughing Gull Imm injured wing

Laughing Gull Imm injured wing

The bird walked up by the tree and kept dragging it’s wing as you can see in the third photo.

Laughing Gull Imm injured wing

Laughing Gull Imm injured wing

I know that verse has been many used times here with the Birds of the Bible articles, but it still applies so well. That verse popped into my thoughts while observing the Gull’s situation. The verse mentions the Sparrow, but all birds were created by the Lord and it applies to them as well. I do not believe that He is only aware of just Sparrows that fall. God is ever-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful, so how could God NOT KNOW?

We know that verse was used to encourage those being persecuted (v.23) to not fear, knowing that the Father is aware of what they were experiencing. They did not need to worry about someone who could destroy their soul. (v.28) The passage goes on to reassure them that they are more valuable than sparrows or birds.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31 KJV)

Not sure if Gulls “worry.” but that immature bird was in a very precarious situation. Without that wing he (or she) was very vulnerable to what could happen to it. There was a Red-shouldered Hawk flying by and I believe that that might be the tree it landed in when we went by the first time. I was trying to get its photo, but it flew off. I didn’t notice the Gull then. When we noticed the bird on the way back, the Hawk was still flying in the area.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says this about verse 31: “for their (the persecuted) Father was truly concerned for them and aware of their circumstances. He is aware of the death of a sparrow which is worth so little. Two sparrows were sold for a mere penny (assarion, a Gr. copper coin worth about 1/16 of a Roman denarius, a day’s wages). God the Father also knows the number of hairs on a person’s head (Mat_10:30). The apostles were instructed not to fear for they, being far more valuable to God than sparrows, were seen and known by Him. ”

Believer’s Bible Commentary: “10:30, 31 The same God who takes a personal interest in the tiny sparrow keeps an accurate count of the hairs of the head of each of His children. A strand of hair is of considerably less value than a sparrow. This shows that His people are of more value to Him than many sparrows, so why should they fear?”

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 KJV)

We should not be afraid to tell others about the Saving Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, nor that we believe that God is the Self-Existent, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Ever-Present, Loving (He gave His Son to die for our sins.), Creator of the world and all these birds, critters, and us.

What will be the fate of the Laughing Gull? I have no clue, but God already knows all about its situation, but better yet, He knows all out us and our situations and circumstances. He cares and wants us to put our trust in Him.

Sharing The Gospel

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure. (Isaiah 33:6 KJV)

See more Birds of the Bible

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Birdwatching and Still Kicking Up Dust

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) shot thru window with screen by Lee

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) shot thru window with screen by Lee

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalms 16:11 NKJV)

Some birdwatching has been going on around the yard and neighborhood. Every once in a while, I do get away from the computer and look around, though only nearby. Yet, I have been seeing some interesting birds, especially some I have never seen in the yard. I was watering a new tree when I heard a sound I didn’t recognize at first. After searching and praying that it would come into view, I spotted a Pileated Woodpecker on a power pole. Been here 5 years and it is the first one spotted from the yard. Then I spotted 2 Chipping Sparrows yesterday and 3 today. (also a yard first) Today an American Goldfinch showed up on my feeder. All 3 of those species were new to the yard. They were kept company by 2 Cardinals, Boat-tailed Grackles, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Eurasian Collarded Doves, Mourning Doves and Red-winged Blackbirds.

Blue-winged Teal by Dan at Circle B

Blue-winged Teal by Dan at Circle B

Dan took some photos today out at Circle B Bar Reserve while I was busy. He said there was lots of activity and many photographers taking advantage of that activity. One photo in particular caught my interest and I have included it. He also had some neat photos of an immature Black-crowned Night-Heron, but they aren’t available yet.

I am still working on updating the Birds of the World section to the IOC World Bird List, ver. 2.7. I have over 91 Families updated and started working on the Index also. The Species List of the First Name of the Birds and Genus is updated “A” through” Z”. So at least you can find the birds.

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) by Lee thru window

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) by Lee thru window

As I have been updating, I have been adding photos to some of the families. Some of the Families that we have written about lately have also been updated even though they are beyond the 91 completed.

Thrush – Turdidae was updated when Return Of The Robins was written.

Meliphagidae Family mentioned in Ian’s Bird Of The Week – Yellow-spotted Honeyeater

Strigopidae Family mentioned in Formed By Him – Kakapo

Since the last update, Birdwatching and Still Updating, I have now completed these bird species:

Kingfishers are next on the agenda.

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Not By Chance

Not a Chance by Creation Moments – 11/17/10

Psalm 148:7-8 “Praise the LORD from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths; fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word…”

Is there any such thing as chance or luck? Does anything ever happen randomly? Many people don’t realize that the Bible speaks to these questions.

In late August 1992, a tornado swept through a small Wisconsin town and caused a great deal of destruction. That made it newsworthy enough. However, the destruction it wrought on one church in town received special notice on some national newscasts. Pictures showed the church in ruins. But the altar still stood, barely visible in the rubble. Most astonishing was the fact that the Bible still stood on its stand in its customary place on the altar. The undamaged Bible was open to where Psalm 77 reads,

The clouds poured out water, the skies sent out a sound; your arrows also flashed about. The voice of your thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightnings lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.

Does that sound like chance?

Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) Reinier Munguia

Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) Reinier Munguia

In Matthew 10, Jesus tells us that God is so involved in His creation that not one of the billions of sparrows in the world falls to the ground without His knowledge. Psalm 148 tells us that the entire creation praises God in everything that happens. God is so personally involved in the creation that He even instructs each wind about the speed and direction to take.

Was it simply luck that the altar was spared and the Bible was open to Psalm 77? God is involved in every detail of the creation. Let’s praise God that there is no such thing as luck!

Prayer:
Dear Father, I thank You that there is no such thing as luck because You are so intimately involved in the creation. Help me to cleanse my mind and speech of the pagan ideas of chance and luck. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.