On His Providential Care, Birds, and Psalm 147

This morning I came across this poem during my devotional time.  I love it when the Lord effortlessly connects my different worlds together through a passage.  This morning, He did so through Psalm 147 and Spurgeon’s commentary on the psalms:

“He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.” -Psalm 147:9

Lately we have been studying birds at our feeder.  David has become particularly fascinated with them, so we are reading about John James Audubon, looking through our field guides, observing birds, and coloring pictures of different types.

This verse in the psalms brought to mind some of Jesus’ comments on birds, which are some of  my favorite passages in scripture:

“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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  -Matthew 6:26-34

and this one….

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”  -Matthew 10:29-31

I think his point here is not to devalue birds in any way, but to point us to His meticulous providential care over all aspects of His creation.  Clearly He is a God of great specificity and detail–DNA, the architecture of snowflakes, the marvelous way that our bodies are put together, all of these things, for me, point to His care over the details of His creation.

Shakespeare saw it too, which is why he put these words in Hamlet’s mouth:

Horatio:
If your mind dislike any thing, obey it. I will forestall their
repair hither, and say you are not fit.

Hamlet:
Not a whit, we defy augury. There is special providence in
the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to
come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the
readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is’t
to leave betimes, let be.
Hamlet Act 5, scene 2, 217–224

I’m so thankful to serve such a God–His hand and eye is over ALL of the earth, including our own little worlds.  He certainly does not always act in ways that we can comprehend, and His ways are not  always easy ways, but all the same present, He is present–the buck stops with Him.

Oh–I almost forgot the poem from Spurgeon’s commentary that got me on this jag to begin with– and then I’ve got to go teach those children ; )

Behold, and look away your low despair;
See the light tenants of the barren air:
To them, nor stores, nor granaries belong,
Nought but the woodlands and the pleasing song;
Yet, your kind heavenly Father bends his eye
On the least wing that flits along the sky.
To him they sing when Spring renews the plain;
To him they cry in Winter’s pinching reign;
Nor is the music, nor their plaint, in vain.
He hears the gay, and the distressful call,
And with unsparing bounty fills them all.
Will he not care for you, ye faithless, say?
Is he unwise? Or, are ye less than they?
James Thomson, 1700-1748.

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The Character of God is Revealed by His Creation

Evolution may be atheistic; but the doctrine of creation logically demands worship; and hence, as the tree is known by its fruit, it proves itself to be true. Those who were created by command are under command to adore their Creator. The voice which said “Let them be,” now saith “Let them praise.”   -Spurgeon

Once there is a Creator, an original “mover” or whatever you wish to call God, then His work demands a response.  How can we look at the majesty of His creation and not lift our eyes to worship Him?  I like his comment here too:

“The highest praise of God is to declare what he is. We can invent nothing which would magnify the Lord: we can never extol him better than by repeating his name, or describing his character. The Lord is to be extolled as creating all things that exist, and as doing so by the simple agency of his word. He created by a command; what a power is this!”  -Spurgeon

The order of creation, the way that time and the universe orderly continue to work out His plans, testify to His attributes and praise.  Thus, it makes sense to me when I read yesterday that our yes should be yes and our no, no; we should keep our promises humble because we have so very little under our own control.   We do not have the power to change the color of even one of our hairs, to add one day to the scope of our earthy lives or an inch to our stature while here.   We are fragile needy people who should not make promises that we cannot keep or guarantee:

“But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” -Matthew 5:34-36

I think Christ and the Psalmist’s point in both cases is to allow the glory of His creation and what He can do dominate the landscape of our minds.   As we acknowledge and witness His greatness, we are able to see our own position with right eyes and a right heart.

“His almighty power upholds all things in their spheres, securing the march of stars and the flight of seraphs; and thus the music of the upper regions is never marred by discord, nor interrupted by destruction. The eternal hymn is for ever chanted; even the solemn silence of the spheres is a perpetual psalm.” -Spurgeon

When we look up at the stars and feel very small, we can feel lost, even insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe.  We should look up with eyes that appreciate Him and glory in the thought that He created us with some resemblance to Him at all.  We hold a privileged place in His creation.   We are granted the ability to be self aware and other-aware.  Let us not waste the gifts we have been given or make so much of ourselves that we can’t see Him for who He is.

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Another thought on this creationist/evolutionist perspective–this time from Psalm 147:

“And the wonder of the peculiarity is enhanced by thoughts borrowed from the wonders of nature. We know a thousand times more of the nature, formation, and purpose of the snow than the Psalmist did. But that knowledge is dearly earned if our science destroys our faith. What amount or precision of scientific knowledge can compensate us for the loss of the spiritual sensibility, Which in all the wonders and beauties of the Creation brings us into personal contact with an infinitely wise mind and an infinitely loving heart?” – Hugh Macmillan, in “Two Worlds are Ours,” 1880.