Birds of the Bible

These harbingers of spring also play an important role in Scripture.

Posted in , Mar 19, 2019

Sparrow in the spring

The birds are making a racket in my neighborhood, true harbingers of spring. It made me think of all the birds that appear in the Bible. Here are just a few examples:

“The dove came back to him in the evening, grasping a torn olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the waters were subsiding from the earth” (Genesis 8:11). Remember when Noah was in the ark and sent out first a raven, then a dove to see if the waters of the flood were receding? The dove returned with the olive leaf, an image of the promise of peace, then and now.

“Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young…” (Psalm 84:3). The Psalmist often sings of the birds as examples of how all of God’s creatures find shelter with God. Can we expect any less?

“The flowers appear on the earth, and the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land” (Song of Solomon 2:12). The sound of the birds is a marker of the seasons. The turtledoves—in my neck of the woods, they’re pigeons—wake me up in the morning. Rejoice in that.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Don’t you love watching an eagle fly on the wind? We can be like them. Waiting for the Lord. Waiting is a form of flying.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times” (John 13:38). Peter promises that he will stay with Jesus till the bitter end. He will not abandon the Lord. And yet he does, as Jesus promised, three times before the cock crows on Good Friday. The image of a roster is often found on church steeples, a reminder of God’s continual forgiveness.

Has a bird ever reminded you of God's love? Leave a comment below to share your story. 

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