We are blessed to live in a part of God’s creation where we have a great variety of displays of the beauty of His handiwork, both in the awesome mountains, lakes, streams, trees, and wildflowers, and in the birds and animals that either live in the area or pass through on their amazing migratory routes. We have a bird feeder in the back yard that attracts a great many species throughout the year. I keep track of what time we see the various species each year and it’s often close to the same time each year. A few seem to hang around all year. We currently have lots of black-capped chickadees, flicker woodpeckers, Oregon juncos, fox sparrows and, of course, many crows. We recently had some beautiful, noisy stellers jays. Occasionally we even have some Eastern blue jays stop by. We often see bald and golden eagles soaring overhead as well as ravens and vultures.
Then we have our resident white tail deer herd that pretty much just hangs out in the neighborhood every day. There are 15-20 when they all show up at once, but about 7 of them seem to live on our place. We have even given several names because they have quite distinctive features. It’s fun to watch them interact and observe the “pecking order” that always exists among them.
The Bible is full of illustrations from God’s creation too, giving us insight into our relationship with Him or teaching us spiritual lessons. Here are just a few examples:
1) “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which having no chief, officer, or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest” (Pr. 6:6-8). (A lesson in industriousness)
2) “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly” (Pr. 17:12 cf II Sam. 17:8). (Dealing with a fool is like facing a sow bear separated from her cubs)
3) “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge…” (Psa. 91:4 cf Mt. 23:37). (God will protect us like a mother hen protects her chicks by covering them with her wings).
4) “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Mt. 6:26). “He gives to the beast its food, and to the young ravens which cry” (Ps. 147:9). (God feeds the birds, not by a miraculous supply of food but through natural processes involving the earth and the birds’ use of their faculties. Similarly, the child of God, though sometimes the recipient of a miracle, is usually cared for by normal means and we know that He who cares for the birds, will surely care for us…cf I Pet. 5:7).
5) “A horse is a false hope for victory; nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength” (Ps. 33:17). (We are to put our ultimate confidence in God, not in our own or anyone else’s abilities or strengths.) “He does not delight in the strength of a horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His lovingkindness” (Psa. 147:10,11). “Some boast in chariots, and some in horses; but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God” (Psa. 20:7).
6) “I resemble a pelican of the wilderness; I have become like an owl of the waste places” (Psa. 102:6). (That may seem like a strange verse, but David is praying to God in his affliction and distress and compares his situation to a pelican or an owl that finds itself out of its normal environment and security)
7) “Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his folly” (Pr. 26:11). (Peter quotes this disgusting proverb in his denunciation of false teachers, and adds one of his own, saying, “It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A dog returns to its own vomit,’ and a ‘sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire'” (II Pet. 2:22).
8) “Beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt. 7:15). (Jesus says that false teachers will appear outwardly as though they are part of your “flock” of believers, but are really wolves in disguise and will turn on you. We know all to well of the problems with ravenous wolves in our area–both kinds, actual and spiritual! Jesus told His disciples, “Behold, I send you out as sheep, in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves” (Mt. 10:16). The Apostle Paul warned the elders of the church at Ephesus: “Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made your overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be on the alert…” (Acts. 20:28-31a).
9) “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions” (Dt. 32:11). This is part of the “Song of Moses” in which he speaks of God’s protection and training of Israel. That first flight for a fledgling eagle has to be quite frightening. The nest is high on the face of a cliff, or atop the branches of a big Ponderosa pine or Douglas fir tree. The young birds first stretch and flap inside the nest; they ultimately climb onto the edge of the nest; then they jump up a bit, flapping their untested wings again. Often, the mother eagle has to give them a push
to force them to launch into that first flight which is usually quite feeble and erratic; but at just the right moment, the mother eagle swoops under the struggling fledgling and allows it to settle onto her back for a return to the nest. That procedure may happen several times before the young successfully launches into its soaring flight that we all know as the trademark of the majestic eagle (cf Isa. 40:31). God sometimes takes us to the edge of our comfort zone too and often has to give us a push to get us out to try out our wings. But know this–He will always be there to bear us up lest we fall (cf I Cor. 10:13; Heb. 13:5).
God has placed all kinds of “object lessons” around us. As you go about your day, let Him show you some neat spiritual lessons through His amazing creation.