small bird on a twig

What Kind of Bird Are You? – Birds in the Psalms

 August 17, 2021

If someone asked you what kind of bird are you, what would be your response?

I would choose a sparrow. Sparrows are small and insignificant. They are not showy like some birds. Nor do they draw attention to themselves. They are commonplace. Yet Jesus notices them.

Sparrow in Scripture

Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin (penny)? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.  Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows (Mt. 10:29-31).” (also Luke 12:6, Mt. 6:25-34)

The Psalms tell us: “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.” (Psalm 84:3) “I watch, and have become like a sparrow that is alone on the housetop.” (Psalm 102:7)

In Proverbs, the sparrow darts about, avoiding capture. “Like a fluttering sparrow, like a darting swallow, so the undeserved curse doesn’t come to rest.” (Proverbs 26:2)

And in Hosea, the people tremble like sparrows. “They tremble as a sparrow out of Egypt, And as a dove out of the land of Asshur, And I have caused them to dwell in their own houses, An oracle of the Lord.” (Hosea 11:11)

Other References to Birds in the Psalms

The writers of the Psalms were in-tune with nature. They used nature images repeatedly, including birds. The Psalmists watched birds soar overhead, feasted on quail in the dessert, and used turtle doves as a symbol of peace.

  • They asked, and he brought quail, and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.” (Psalm 105:40)
  • And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalm 55:6)
  • When you lie down among the sheepfolds, You are like the wings of a dove covered with silver, And its pinions with glistening gold. Though you lie down among the sheepfolds, the wings of the dove are covered with silver, and her feathers with shimmering gold.” (Psalm 68:13)
  • In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain.” (Psalm 11:1)
  • He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.” (Psalm 147:9)
  • I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.” (Psalm 50:11)
  • We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!” (Psalm 124:7)
  • Where the birds build their nests, And the stork, whose home is the juniper trees.” Psalm 104:17
  • The birds of the air nest beside the springs; they sing among the branches. The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees. Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.” (Psalm 104:12)

Birds as an Image of God’s Protection

God protects his people and carries them under his wings. “For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.” (Psalm 91:3-6)

In Luke, Jesus wants to gather the people of Jerusalem like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Luke 13:34)

What Kind of Bird Are You?

In Isaiah those who serve the Lord shall be like eagles. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) I love the image of being transformed into an eagle and soaring off to heaven.

What kind of bird are you? An eagle, a sparrow, a quail, a dove, a raven? Regardless of which bird you chose, you are precious in God’s eyes. God has a home for you.

This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and and receive a free copy of  Still Dancingthe second book in my Dancing through Life Series.      click here to sign up

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