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Re: Sparrows

"Therefore I say to you, do not be anxious about your life, what you
will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put
on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Observe
the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into
barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value
than they?" (Mt6:25-26)

"Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them
is forgotten before God. But even the very hairs of your head are all
numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many
sparrows." (Lk12:6-7)

"Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither
storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. By how much do you differ from
birds!" (Lk12:24)

"Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young; even Your altars, O Jehovah of Hosts, my
King and my God." (Ps84:3)

Somewhat of an 'object lesson' today...

I live in a city residential neighborhood in a part of town where there 
are lots of trees all over. Neighbors to either side of me have maple 
and chestnut trees. Robins used to make their home in the area. In more 
recent years it has been sparrows. 15 years ago when I first moved here 
there were hardly any crows. Perhaps one or two would fly 'through' on
their way to someplace else.  But the last 2-3 years the crows have
been multiplying in epic "Biblical" numbers. They roost up in the tops
of the various tall pine trees. In fact, lately, the young one in that
tree across the street from my open bedroom window has been waking me
up early in the mornings, with all its squawking. It's -LOUD-!!

As an aside here: Over the past few years I've been reading of the
population explosion of various kinds of carrion birds in various parts
of the world. And as I see the population explosion of the crows in my
own neighborhood, I am made to remember God's words, "Then I saw an
angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to
all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather together
for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings,
the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and
of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave,
both small and great." (Rev19:17-18)  Obviously, for there to be enough
of those birds when it is God's 'meal time', they will have had to have
been reproducing during the years prior to that "supper".

These crows are soooo -huge-. But let's get back to the sparrows. Of
the various birds in this area, the sparrows are the most diminutive.
As a kid, living a couple years on the family farm in N.Dakota, we
would go out to the barn at night with a BB gun and flashlight, and
'pick' them off from under the eaves where they were roosting.  But
where I am today, don't anybody laugh... I actually 'feed' these pesky 
little critters. Going through the Gospels several times recently, I've 
been reminded of God's care, even of sparrows. David noticed that the 
sparrows and swallows would make their homes around God's temple.

I break bread up into little pieces and scatter it out for them. And 
have discovered some things we can learn from the sparrows.

First of all, if I would develop the notion to "be nice" to them and 
put out more bread, do you suppose they were 'happier'? No! On the 
contrary, the more bread I would throw out, the more they would fight 
amongst themselves over it. "Where do wars and fightings come from
among you? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your members?
You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain.  You
fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and
do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your
lusts." (Jacob4:1-3)

Not that the little bit I put out sustains them. It doesn't. I 
purposely don't put out so much that they become dependent upon me.  
Just enough as a little 'treat'. But even in how much I put out for 
this treat, I was reminded of Jesus' exhortation in how we should pray.  
"Give us day by day the bread sufficient for us." (Lk11:3) "Give us our
bread sufficient for this day." (Mt6:11)

And this brings us to the next random observation. When sparrows are 
feeding their young in the nest, Oh, boy, oh boy, do they ever work 
hard! They break up the bread into tiny sizes for each young, stuff 
their beaks full of these little pieces, and fly off, full-tilt, to
their nests. Some of these nests are several yards (houses) away. That
would be like a parent feeding their baby a spoonful of pablum, and
then taking off running full-speed to the area grocery store, only to
have to 'scramble' against other shoppers for the next 'spoonful',
and then run full-tilt back to feed -that- 'spoonful'. And then start
the cycle over again.

And here is the observation. For all the scrambling to collect those 
'spoonfuls', when the sparrow leaves the area where the bread has been 
scattered, to go to the nest, it leaves all that bounty behind. Between 
the time it goes to the nest to feed those beakfuls, to the next trip 
to get more, some other birds may have come along and cleaned out what 
had been left. They cannot "..gather into barns.." store away and hord, 
and yet, "..your Heavenly Father feeds them.."

They are also always on the alert. The slightest provocation will cause 
them all to flutter up to the fence, trees, roofs...until they can 
ascertain whether it is safe or not. They don't much care for it when 
the crows come down and swipe bits of bread. But their #1 enemy is any 
neighborhood cat. They do not seem to have the intelligence to 'train' 
cats as those robins did to my cat years ago; where the robin 
continually dive-bombed the cat, as he continually jumped in the air 
after it, but the robin was always just "this much" shy of the cat's
reach.  After who-knows-how-many of those, the cat nevermore ever went 
after robins.  When I come into the driveway on the motorcycle, some of 
the sparrows will sometimes 'greet' me, fluttering around. But if I go 
sit on the back step (outside), to watch them...they are wary of me, 
when they know I'm watching them.

Two observations from this. Even though they know that I put the bread 
out there, they are afraid of me. Just like, people who know of God are 
afraid of Him. They claim to understand that God is the One who 
provides our sustenance, but they are afraid of Him, as though He might 
harm them..? "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to 
your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good 
things to those who ask Him!" (Mt7:11) "Every good gift and every 
perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, 
with whom there is no change or shadow of turning" (Jacob1:17)

But their vigilance is something we should emulate. "Be sober, be 
vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring 
lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1Pt5:8)  Those sparrows, if they 
were to have any cognitive abilities, might 'worry' that, even though I 
was feeding them, that if they got too close, I might eat them. There 
are many spirits today that promise all sorts of prosperity. They want 
to feed us with bread crumbs and have us fluttering around them. But 
satan seeks to devour us. The church of Ephesus was commended for 
"testing" those "who say they are apostles and are not" (Rev2:2) We are 
told to "not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they 
are from God" (1Jn4:1)  

We must be vigilant in this testing. Just this past week I have 
exchanged e-mails with a person who has been trying to persuade himself 
that a particular church is OK, even though they have "just one little 
problem" (they speak in tongues). Everything else about them seems 
wonderful, and all the people seem to be so much "in love" with the 
Lord, and wanting to serve Him. When "everything else" seems so right
on, how could "one little demonic manifestation" matter?

Let us take our cue from Gideon. (Judges ch6) The Angel of Jehovah
comes to him.  Even performs a sign which Gideon requests. (vs17)
Gideon wants to be sure it is really God speaking with him. Unlike
Zacharias who was in unbelief at the message of Gabriel regarding the
promise of John the Baptist, and was struck mute until the fulfillment; 
Gideon's heart is pure. And when Gideon needs to prove the fleece both 
ways, to 'make sure' the first time wasn't a fluke, God honors his
caution. Thing is, today, people see what they think are "signs from
God" and go rushing headlong into demon worship. We need more Gideons.
We need more sparrows.

Now, even though sparrows can be agressive to keep neighboring 'tribes'
(of sparrows) away, and work hard at feeding their young; they are 
oh-so gentle when feeding their own young. They can be thrashing those 
pieces of bread around to break them up into smaller beak-sizes. But
when they get up to their waiting, fluttering, young...they
ever-so-carefully place their food-laden beak into the little one's
beak to feed it. And even if the little one goes thrusting forward for
"more", the parent is gentle and tolerant.

In the same way, when we confront evil, we must "put away" the 'evil
person' (1Cor5:13) and various forms of evil (Eph4:31). When being
confronted by the "rulers" and "authorities" of the "darkness of this
age" we do so with "all the armor of God" as we "stand firm"

But when nurturing one another we do so with the "same care for one
another" (1Cor12:25)  The servant of the Lord who is "able to teach" is
also to be "gentle" (2Tim2:24)

Now, there are times that some sparrows will chase each other around,
for the piece that is in the other's beak.  There will be 'many' pieces
of bread out there, but they go for the one the other sparrow has. We
are told "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with
such things as you have. For He Himself has said, By no means will I
ever leave you nor ever forsake you." (Heb13:5)

Yes, I know these are 'just' sparrows. But God cares for each one of 
them. He knows when one falls (Mt10:29), like that one I found a couple 
weeks ago that a cat must have gotten to. For you who are like me,
where we don't have much hair left, even what little we have, they are
all numbered. And in God's sight we are "of more value than many
sparrows" (Lk12:7)

We are exhorted to ".. seek first the kingdom of God and His
righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Mt6:33) 
Paul could say, "I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" 
(Phil4:11) This is what Jesus taught to pray, to request for ourselves 
that which is sufficient for our needs. As Paul said, "And having food
and clothing, with these we shall be content." (1Tim6:8)

Notice where the psalmist starts out in the context where he was
noticing the birds nesting in "even Your altars" (Ps84:3)  "My soul
longs, yes, even faints for the courts of Jehovah; my heart and my
flesh cry out for the living God" (vs2)

Related Topic: I'm a Sparrow, too! See?