The Wandering Bird (2)
Brian D. Dykstra, teacher at Hope PR Christian School in Walker, MI
Proverbs 27:8: “As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.”
What happens when we wander from our place? We could leave a place of spiritual safety for one of temptation. Temptation and sin are no less dangerous for us than predators are for birds. Leaving the place of godly instruction leaves us to be instructed by the world and its ideas about right and wrong.
A bird who wanders from her place is foolish. For the young to leave the safety of the nest is to expose herself to all kinds of dangers. For the adult to leave the nest also exposes her young to danger and starvation.
A man who wanders from his place is just as foolish. He is exposed to temptation. The effects upon the family are also great. Without a father and mother in their appointed places giving direction to their children, children wander into ways of sin because of a lack of spiritual direction and sound instruction. What is happening to the children of the world who are raised under the instruction of television? Are their hearts in good shape? Many men in the world are more interested in the good times the world has to offer than being in their places in their homes. Are American families in good shape?
David is an example of what happens when a man wanders from his place. He was the king of God’s people. It was his duty to lead the people in battle against their enemies. His place was also that of being an example of godly living because everyone knew of his attitude toward God.
Yet David wandered from his place. In II Samuel 11, he was a bad example as king. He left his place at the head of the army and stayed in Jerusalem for a time of pleasure and relaxation. He left himself open to temptation. He was also on the roof on his palace at a time when he should not have been. His weak flesh was led into terrible sin which had effects on David for the rest of his life.
David neglected his place as a child of God. A servant told David that Bathsheba was another man’s wife. His duty as a child of God was then to leave her alone. After falling into sin, his place was to confess his sin. He did not confess because he wanted to preserve his reputation in the eyes of the people. In order to preserve his social standing, he finally resorted to murder. His place as king was to protect his subjects, not make them victims of adultery and murder.
On the first day of school this year, I had the 5th graders do a quick writing assignment. I asked them to give me the name of an example of faith. Then they had to give me a few sentences about why this person is such a good example of faithful living.
Their answers gave me some interesting reading. First, it was good to see their knowledge of the Bible. We did not have to have a long discussion about what faithful living means. We did not have to think long and hard in a desperate search for some names we have heard in the Bible. The assignment was handled easily and well.
Some of the names given are very familiar to us. Some of the people mentioned were Moses, Elijah, Noah, parents and ministers.
Parents, this speaks well of your children. Their knowledge of the Bible demonstrates you have taken seriously the baptismal vow to see to it that your children are brought up with God’s Word as the most important part of their lives.
However, this list of examples of faithful living overlooks something very important. The people mentioned earlier did great things. They led God’s people for 40 years in the wilderness. They performed miracles and spoke boldly to ungodly kings and queens. They built an ark in the face of opposition of all the rest of the world. Why do we forget the examples of faith near us? Why weren’t more parents mentioned? Most of your fathers are at work now. Do they get up and go to work every morning because they love their jobs so much or do they go to work in faithful obedience to God’s decree that as heads of their families they are to be diligent and provide for the needs of their families? That is your father’s place.
Now, think about mom. It was not that long ago, even for the 9th graders, when all of you were small bundles of responsibility who could not do anything for yourselves. When mom was tired from a long day of work around the house, do you think she joyously leaped out of bed at four in the morning, for the fourteenth night in a row, to care for her squalling baby? Just for another example, think of all the meals she cooks. How often are her efforts appreciated? What keeps this woman going day after day? The pay? A chance for a promotion? Or is she dedicated to the raising of covenant children and putting her hope in the promises of God’s Word? That is your mother’s place.
What about the examples of faith found in godly friends? I mean, true godly friends, not the ones who encourage you to walk in the ways of the world but the ones who will not encourage you to commit sin, who will warn you about the dreadful effects of iniquity. How easy is it to stand for what is godly even in a Christian school? It takes faith to warn our friends about sin. Yet that is your place.
To live a life of faith, to serve God in your place, does not mean that you have to do something astoundingly great. The bird did not have to be the highest or fastest flier of its species to be in its place. It simply had to stay in the nest. You don’t have to spend a few hundred years building an ark to live in faith. You don’t have to kill a lion with your bare hands to show your faith! To stay in your place does not mean you have to be thrown into a fiery furnace, heal the sick, raise people from the dead, write a twenty-two volume Bible commentary or the twenty-first century version of Reformed Dogmatics. We do not have to do the spectacular in order to serve God faithfully in the place He has given us. We must perform our daily, simple Christian duties in whatever place God has given us.