A Command To Think About Birds
Did you know that God has told us to study the birds?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26
Birds in South Africa
Our teammates, Alan and Deanna Heathcote, take really good pictures of birds. 🙂 They have built up quite a collection of detailed photos of different unique birds found in South Africa and they post them on Facebook. I love to look at them. I asked if I could share a few of my favorites, and they gladly said it was ok.
This is my personal favorite, the Lilac Breasted Roller. They say you can find 23 colors on this bird that is about the size of a Robin. It is called a “roller” because during mating season the males fly up high, pull in their wings and tumble down through the air as though facing certain death, and then spread their wings and pull out at the last minute! And all the girls go, “Whoah! What a guy!”
This the Pied Kingfisher. It has the uncanny ability to hover over the water and then dive down and get a fish.
Deanna even shared some spiritual lessons that we can learn from birds. I added the pictures of the Southern Double-Collared Sunbirds.
1. God’s Care:
- Not one of them falls to the ground without His knowledge/will (Matthew 10:29, Luke 12:6)
- They have their food provided by Him (Matthew 6:26).
- I like the mention of sparrows because there are sparrows in the township, and they build nests in the wall next to the church. I often think how lovely it is that even the poor folks there can see a sparrow and be reminded of the truths of these verses.2. God’s Creativity/Infinity:
- As you seek to identify a bird, you have to notice things which may distinguish it from another: color of the eyes, legs, or bill; or placement of certain colors on feathers.
- There is also variety in whether the male and female have the same or different plumage. In some cases, the difference is quite subtle (e.g. the Pied Kingfisher, the male has an extra line of black on the feathers across his chest).
- Also there can be drastic or subtle changes between juvenile and adult. These are Southern Double-Collared Sunbirds, in which case the youth looks like he lost in a game of paintball.
- In the Speckled Mousebird, the juvenile has a bill with a light-colored upper mandible and a black lower mandible. Once an adult, the color is reversed.
- Why did God create such variety? It certainly doesn’t seem necessary. I often think that it is because He created the world knowing the mental abilities He would give to mankind and the ability to study and seek out His wonders. (Psalm 111:2)3. God’s Purposes:
- He gave each bird its own diet, habitat, call, breeding pattern, social habits, “personality” (shy/hiding vs. easily spotted; quiet vs. chatty), nest style/placement, etc.
- He constructed each one with a bill, feet, feathers, bone structure, etc. to suit the “lifestyle” He chose for them.
This a male Malachite Sunbird. The fluorescent green is certainly eye catching especially if seen in the sunlight.
Joshua, our son, gave me a video once of different South African birds and their individual calls. I found it so relaxing to watch the birds and hear the sounds they made. We sure have an incredible Creator.
I once saw a Hoopoe like this one pick up a worm that it found and promptly give it to another bird beside it. Fancy head plumage and a willingness to share – surely a winning combination! 🙂
So What’s The Connection?
How can studying birds make us thankful? The Lord said that we could receive hope from looking at the birds because we are worth so much more to the Lord than birds. If He cares so tenderly for even the smallest sparrow, just imagine the concern He has for us.
You, my friend, are being cared for by the same Lord God that provides for the birds. That is something to be very th(i)nkful for.
He says that He has numbered all the hairs on our head (Matthew 12:30). He knows everything about us, even what we are going to say next (Psalm 139:4)!!
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He cares for me.
I am th(i)nkful for birds and the lessons they teach us on how to trust in our Creator God.