|Volume 19 Number 11 November 2017||
Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she. (Job 39:26-30)
As part of the lesson for Job, on how things came into being, God chose to include this passage on the “eagle.” This teaching includes a little about the nesting capability with which God designed this bird. When we look at the birds, we can witness many things that should lead to a renewed awe and reverence for God the Creator. Let’s look at just a few examples of what God has designed for these creatures and learn to glorify God as our Creator as well.
The nest building ability of birds has marveled mankind for thousands of years. The methods, materials and locations that they use to construct their nests is just about as varied as the birds themselves. The nest has one basic purpose, that of giving a place for the young to be raised. These structures can be huge and reused or rebuilt year after year as in the case of Eagles, Hawks and most other raptors. Or, they can be small, inconspicuous and just barely able to hold a single egg as in the case of the Lessor Tree Swift. The materials for the nests go from sticks, rocks and mud all the way to little other than the birds own saliva and feathers. It may include plant materials, manmade objects and even spider silk to help in the construction.
The Tailorbird, a type of warbler found in Southeast Asia, uses its skills as sewers to construct its nest. Using a single leaf or two adjoining leaves, this bird begins by using spider silk to wrap around the leaf to pull the sides together. Then, it punches holes in the leaf margin using its beak. Finding plant stems, bark fibers, cottony seed fibers or spider silk, the Tailorbird sews the “threads” through the holes and teases ends into a ball or crimps them so the two sides are “riveted” together rather than being “knotted” as some have reported. These nests are almost impossible to find as they hang in the trees looking just like other leaves. Amazing that these animals learned how to do that by “time and chance” isn’t it?
The Rufous Ovenbird of South America constructs a strong complex two-chambered mud nest on tree stumps and other projections. These structures are about the size of a football and have a domed entrance that leads through a chamber around to the inner lined chamber. The Lesser Tree Swift nest is so small that the egg itself just barely fits inside. The mother and the baby after hatching must stand on the branch for support and the baby does just fine after a few hours.
The nests of many of the Wren family of birds are dome-shaped and are insulated with as many as 2,000 feathers from the mother’s body. They incorporate many very soft materials that allow the nest to expand as the brood inside the cavity grows. This flexibility of the nest lets some of the natives of the Africa country where they live to use them as purses. The Edible-Nest Swiftlets build their nests with nothing other than their own saliva, which hardens into a crusty thin nest. These nests are collected and used for a traditional Chinese food, “Bird’s Nest soup.”
Indeed as the psalmists has noted “…the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young...” (Psalm 84:3). We should look to the birds and see the incredible intelligence God has shown as He created the things around us.
Ernest S. Underwood
The last chapter of the book of Joshua states, “And Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the Lord, that he had done for Israel” (Joshua24:31). About thirty pages farther in my Bible I read, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). As one ponders these two passages, he is made to wonder what brought about such a difference in the people of Joshua’s day and those in the latter part of the period of the Judges. At least two things are obvious.
The attitude of the people toward God’s Word had changed. In the days of Joshua, the people respected the Word that God gave. Notice this attitude expressed.
And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. Whosoever he be that rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of good courage. (Joshua 1:16-18)
How different this attitude was to the one where “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” One group did that which God commanded; the other did as it pleased. It is interesting to note that those of the latter group expected God to be pleased with them.
Every single problem that exists in the church of the Lord today is there because people have the attitude of “doing his own thing.” The marriage-divorce problem with its attendant false teaching, the “let’s have a party” and craze for numbers at all costs, the cultic groups, the “Christians in all churches” and other related positions, and the use of the instrument of music in worship are all the result of an attitude. It is an attitude of disrespect and rebellion. It is an attitude that says, “My way, my situation, regardless of what the Scriptures say. As long as I am satisfied, as long as I feel good about it.” When church members today adopt the attitude of those in Joshua’s day, every act of disobedience, every display of immorality and every case of outright rebellion will cease.
The second thing that is obvious is that of leadership. Joshua was a leader. The men who outlived him were also leaders. Because they exercised proper leadership, the people were able to accomplish what God intended for them to accomplish. Where there is no leadership, or where the leadership is too afraid or too lazy to function in its proper role, there will be unrest, indecisiveness and rebellion. Leaders must lead! They, like Joshua, must be of good courage. They must not view their position as one of prestige, but rather as one of service. They must lead in the proper direction—in harmony with God’s Word. Jeroboam was a leader, but he led in the wrong direction. When the proper leadership exercises its proper function, the attitude of the people will be as it ought to be. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).