When I was around 10, I went to a Safari type animal place called Alligator Land in Florida. While we were there, I had one of the most worrisome moments of my life. We had just purchased our first VHS video recorder and I was in charge of the camera. My dad, who always wears a hat, brought us over to the ostrich area. These two ostriches were running around in the enclosed area, but it was not “caged.” Meaning, that the only thing between us and them was a three rail, split rail fence. So, if you got too close, the Ostriches could not only reach you, but “Grab” your shirt… or even, your hat… One of the Ostriches jumped at my father and tried to grab his hat… He successfully avoided the “attack”… Then he decided to “egg them on” by tossing his hat from hand to hand… He was whining for a while, then one of the Ostriches snapped into the air, grabbed his hat and ran it deep into the back of the Ostrich cage…. The ostrich threw it on the floor and stomped on it… Almost to “show my dad”. This was my dad’s FAVORITE hat… He couldn’t live without it… SO he decided to jump into the Ostrich cage (Don’t try this at home, this is highly irregular and not recommended…. ) Dad quickly says, “Chad, roll the videotape…” Before my mom or I could tell him to “STOP” he jumped the fence, grabbed the hat and then tried to OUTRUN the Ostriches… Mom and I were worried sick!!! My video camera work looked like this… (Nice and steady) and then (Drop camera to the ground) Dad, watch out for the Ostrich…!!! Dad!! Dad… seconds later, he jumped back over the fence with his hat safe and sound… The video I shot only showed my right knee cap… I am convinced that video would have either won us $1 million dollars on America’s Home Video or landed my father in prison. After he returned to safety, my mom and I informed him how worried he made us and how unsafe it was to try to outrun one of God’s fastest birds…
The connection between worry and birds is mentioned several times in the Bible. The connection between Ostriches and God’s care is also in the Bible… You see God teaches us that…
WORRY IS FOR THE BIRDS
Let’s look at Ostriches, Sparrows, and Parrots
1. Ostriches Run Under God’s Care
In Job, God describes an Ostrich that forgets to watch over her young… and yet He, the heavenly Father watches over her. And though the Ostrich is not wise… God watches over her and God loves to watch her run… she runs so fast she can scorn the horse and it’s rider with her speed.
Job 39:13-17 “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s? 14 For she leaves her eggs on the ground, And warms them in the dust; 15 She forgets that a foot may crush them, Or that a wild beast may break them. 16 She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers; Her labor is in vain, without concern,
Ostriches Don’t Watch Over Their Young. Ostriches live in family groups consisting of one cock and several hens. During breeding season, the male will mate with the dominant female and one to four other hens. Each hen lays between two and eleven creamy white eggs in a communal nest which can be nearly 10 ft (3 m) across and is simply a hollow in the ground formed by scraping and body weight. When egg laying is complete there are usually ten to forty or more eggs in the nest; the most ever recorded was seventy-eight. Only about twenty can be incubated, however, so the dominant hen will reject any surplus eggs by pushing them out of the nest. She always ensures, however, that her own eggs remain. Note that what we have here is a perfect example of the ostrich leaving — indeed, forsaking — the eggs “belonging” to her as dominant hen of the communal group, to the dust out where they can be trod upon. The cocks and the hens take it in turns to incubate the eggs; the hens sit on them during the day and the cocks at night. This shift system lasts for an average of forty-two days until the eggs hatch. When the chicks emerge into the world, it is the male who cares for them. So it seems momma is “hardened” against her young ones after all — Dad is the one who does the job of parenting after hatching.
The behavior with eggs is even further confirmed by Brian C. R. Bertram’s The Ostrich Communal Nesting System (1992).
17 Because God deprived her of wisdom, and did not endow her with understanding. 18 When she lifts herself on high, She scorns the horse and its rider.
God notes that she lacks wisdom… and yet, God notes that what He did give her was the ability to run. God tells Job that he watches over her as she runs… When she lifts herself on high, she scorns the horse and its rider…. God is bragging on the ostrich. He tells Job how much he loves to WATCH her run. WATCH her do what she was meant to do. God WATCHES over his creation.
Last month, we had one of our first Saturday worship services for the year. I shared some insights from my trip to Israel. And talked about trusting God — even in the face of worries. As the service finished, Mark WHitacre was sitting in the audience. I had heard the name. He was the man who the movie THE INFORMANT, with Matt Damon was based on. He shared with me how God helped him during one of the most anxious times in his life. Since he has agreed to come to Horizon and speak at our next series, I won’t tell you the whole story, but just this. He was responsible for one of the biggest corporate price fixing frauds in US history. He went undercover with the FBI for two years after turning himself in. Months before going to prison, he tried to commit suicide multiple times. A man from a Christian group called CBMC came to his house and offered to lead him in a Bible study — to show how Christ could help him in the midst of his losing his freedom, his family, his marriage, his 13 million dollar a year salary, and spending 7-10 years in prison. Mark shared with me how real and powerful the peace he received from God in the midst of the most anxious and worrisome time in his life. Though he was functionally alone, he knew he was not truly alone anymore, and suddenly understood what Jesus is saying, “Worry is for the birds…” And the birds know something he needed.. God watches over them.
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