Silly Bird 

Hosea 7:11
“Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense— They call to Egypt, They go to Assyria.”

There are times in Scripture when God will resort to name calling, not as a way to be mean, but as a means of illustrating the behavior of His people. There is that famous passage in Matthew 16 where Jesus calls Peter, Satan. He does this because like the devil, Peter was attempting to stand between Jesus and the cross. Whenever a person obstructs the work of the cross, they are supporting the work of the devil. Here, God uses a different analogy. It may not be quite as striking as referring to a disciple as the devil, but it paints a very clear picture of how God viewed the nation of Israel. He saw them as a silly bird, without any sense. A parallel illustration could have been to compare them to a squirrel, who seems to run around without any real clue of what it is doing.

Israel’s folly was expressed in their unwillingness to trust in the Lord. Instead of resting on the promises of God, they looked for other things to trust in. They believed an alliance with Egypt would protect them from the threat of Assyria. They soon found that trusting in anything other than the Lord, would be like leaning upon a stalk of grass, in hopes of being supported. Israel is not alone in trusting in things that cannot support us. We are constantly faced with difficulties beyond ourselves and often choose to worry, instead of trusting in the promises of God. In essence, we are saying,  God cannot be trusted, but our own intellect and hard work will provide a way out of the mess we are in. Oh, silly bird, you are not smart enough, strong enough, or consistent enough to resolve the issues of life. In fact, all the worrying you do will never produce the results you desire. Jesus put it this way,

Matthew 6:27
“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”

Worrying about anything in life is like worrying about being too short. At the end of the day, all the worry in the world will not add an inch to your height. Now I realize that planning and preparation are necessary in life, but I also realize, that we are masters of masking worry behind other things. It is time to take our lives, offer them to God, and trust in His promises, as we seek to fulfill our calling.

Pastor Jim

 

Crutches

Ezekiel 29:6-7
“Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the Lord, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. When they took hold of you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; when they leaned on you,you broke and made all their backs quiver.”

One of the common criticisms of Christianity asserts it is a crutch for weak people. I would disagree with that accusation based upon its premise. You see, anyone making that statement is failing to see that we, as humans, are all weak and in need of something outside of ourselves to help us along the way. The question is not whether Christianity is a crutch, but whether it is a reliable one. Ezekiel’s message to Israel was that leaning on the strength of Egypt, when threatened by attack from Babylon, was like using a reed to support their body weight. The visual is clear, a reed does not have the strength to support their weight.

This passage is particularly interesting to me, as I hobble from airport to airport with a broken ankle. Because of the break, my left leg can bear no weight. I am dependent on crutches to hold me up. When I reached security, I had to place my crutches on the belt and was handed two wooden canes that bore evidence of not being trustworthy. Instead of leaning all my weight on them, I chose to hop through the line, as though I were playing a childhood game.

It is not a question of whether you have a crutch or not. The question you must ask is, whether your crutch is suitable to bear the weight of both life and death. Things like family, intelligence, physical strength, resolve or riches, might be a sufficient crutch for the struggles of life, but they will not support us in death. The only way to prepare for eternity is to trust in the saving work of Christ.

Pastor Jim