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A BIRD'S NEST!

 

DEUTERONOMY 22:6-7

LITTLE COMMANDMENTS ARE IMPORTANT TOO!

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

This Text I first preached years ago, so long now that I can't remember just exactly how I handled it.

But it's still in the Bible!

And the Lord again recently spoke to my heart about this little bird and her nest.

Moses is writing, but quoting Almighty God. "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the mother sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the mother with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the mother go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days." Deuteronomy 22:6-7

Isn't it strange that God would give rules, "laws" really, about a bird's nest?

Of the 613 total commandments in the Old Testament's legal system, this is one of them. That total is from an old rabbi's calculations.

This one seemingly incidental commandment, this "bird's nest" rule, surely does not carry the weight of a "Thou shalt not kill," for example.

But it's still a command from the Lord.

And how are we to apply something like this?

Or should we just ignore it?

Well, maybe we can find an example of another commandment along this line, a rather incidental situation, that is further discussed or even applied in the New Testament.

That would help a lot.

And I think I know of one.

Here it is. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn." Deuteronomy 25:4

An ox plowing in the field and a bird sitting on her nest.

Sounds similar, both are animals doing their jobs!

But with the ox, Paul the Apostle draws some conclusions. Look with me please.

"For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." 1st Corinthians 9:9-14

Wow!

The ox that is treading the wheat can eat some of it if he wants to! Do not muzzle him, do not tie his mouth shut. He will do a better job if he has hope of some food all along!

Then Paul further applies the oxen story, this law. So should Preachers who live and work in the Gospel be allowed to receive recompense, reward, money, for serving the people of God! Just like the ox did!

Goodness!

Here's the same application, still by Paul, still about oxen and Preachers, in 1st Timothy 5:8. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the labourer is worthy of his reward."

Practical spiritual truth, vital truth even, drawn from an obscure passage in Deuteronomy about an ox.

Now what I am suggesting is this. Our "bird on her nest" in Deuteronomy 22:6-7 just may have similarly important lessons to teach us.

I believe it does.

Plus this fact, look how our bird's nest commandment ends. God says if we obey this law ... "Then things will be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days."

Long life?

For obeying Scripture about a bird?

That's the same promise that accompanied another commandment, a much heavier one surely! "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." Exodus 20:12, one of the Ten Commandments!

Hope I've made my case.

This is no silly portion of Scripture. "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the mother sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the mother with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the mother go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days."

That's for sure.

We should really enjoy trying to study this one!

Bible exposition, what a delight it is!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Lord willing, more tomorrow.

 

 

LESSON 2:

The lesson today needs to be considered carefully, cautiously may be a better word. I do not want to be rash or cruel as I apply it.

Our Text is Deuteronomy 22:6-7, where the word "dam" is simply an old English name for a "mother" or a "mom" in today's language.

"If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days."

God just allowed a person to "take" this mother bird's "young ones" away from her! Her little "biddies" or "chicks."

Or just the eggs if birth had not yet occurred.

At first that seems nearly cruel!

No doubt Mom would scream and chatter and maybe even try to energetically defend her nest.

But still, God says, you my have the offspring!

Kill them. Eat them. Enjoy the food. You will have done nothing wrong. That's exactly what the Text is telling us.

Now, do not misunderstand me. This Passage is NOT a prohibition against hunting! Remember, the mother bird is spared. She cannot be "touched!" But elsewhere God allows the Jews to hunt and kill game, for their food of course. Killing the male and female and even the young too, for that matter. And think of the millions and millions of sheep and doves and even goats as well as huge oxen that God has ordered sacrificed at His altar! At the Tabernacle or the Temple in Jerusalem.

The death of wildlife, for some higher purpose, is quite acceptable to God the Creator.

So our Text is addressing something else entirely. Some more specific issue. And I think I see part of it anyway.

Why here take the young or the eggs?

Only the young ones, or just the eggs?

And leave mom, the mother bird, alone?

By direct command of God!

"If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs ... take the young to thee."

But ... "Thou shalt not take the mother with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the mother go."

Then I again ask, why be so cruel to the female bird?

Even if she is still "sitting" on her eggs?

Again, I think there's a spiritual lesson here.

Note again the opening words of the Text, "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee."

The word "chance" is important here. It's "qara" in Hebrew, if it just "happens" in your way, it "befalls" you, casually as you walk.

Even if the nest is "in any tree, or on the ground," but still easily accessible, too easily accessible in fact!

And that's the point!

This mother bird has build her nest in a careless place, a place much too readily available to passers-by!

She has not been careful!

She took the "easy" route to home construction!

She had not sufficiently protected her young.

And that's why God allows her this hardship, the loss of her babies.

Sound cruel?

Wait a minute.

Today parents are doing the same thing!

Too carelessly placing their children in harm's way, spiritual harm I mean.

Not harboring the children from evil or danger.

Allowing any kind of music, no questions asked!

Or any sort of reading material, pictures and all!

Or television, cable unrestricted, no time limits either!

Be careful!

Someone may come along and "rob" you of your children!

Someone like the devil!

Or some pornographer!

Or molester!

There are places in trees, way high up, out of sight, that nests can be constructed and children reared, if you're a bird!

And the ground? Never a good idea, I'd think!

Mom bird here paid a great price for her silliness, her laziness, her nonchalant attitude.

And mothers and dads today are still doing the same thing!

Let's all stop and take notice.

Take inventory.

Where are you building your nest?

Are your "young ones" protected well enough?

If the devil gets them, at least make him climb the highest tree around to do so. Don't leave your most precious possessions exposed to needless danger!

Protect them now!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Wow!

This is what I would call a "sobering" lesson.

Share it with someone you know.  Maybe we need a class down at Church called "Nest Building 101." Or is it all just plain common sense, if we would stop and think a little bit?

 

 

LESSON 3:

The Text before us is unusual. To say the least. It's about a mother bird, and her young babies.

The Lord told the Israelites that if they "happened" by a bird's nest, in an easily reached tree or amazingly, on the ground ... they could not harm the mother bird, but could take at will the eggs or any young birds.

That's the law by which the Israelites must operate in that specific situation. When finding such a nest "by chance."

Now if they were out hunting, deliberately, for food ... they could "take" anything they could eat, on the "clean" animals list anyway. Male or female, it didn't matter.

Here is the story in the King James Version. "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam (mother) sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee." Deuteronomy 22:6-7

I think I see another spiritual truth embedded in these two verses, much like Paul did in the law about oxen treading the grain.

To the Jew, in this case, God says "You may have the eggs." Or "You may have the chicks. But not the mother!"

Read it this way.

You hay have some of this food, but not all of it.

Wow!

Eggs? All right.

Babies, tender to eat? That's permissible too.

You all quit crying! We Americans eat tons and tons of cattle and pigs and chickens every week! Something died for you to enjoy your hamburger or nuggets, or bacon.

God, in our Text, says: "Jews, eat and enjoy."

But you can't have it all!

The mother bird is not to be eaten!

She lives!

Or God will call any blatant disobedience just what it is, sin!

And either punish the perpetrator for it.

Or withhold from him future blessings.

Wow again!

Here's a glimpse at the Bible theme of moderation!

Reserve, careful control, even in eating!

Eat some.

Leave some for others.

Leave some for future needs.

Do you see what I'm saying?

"Let the mother bird go, and take the young to thee."

Do not be greedy!

Do not be a glutton.

Diet, eat carefully!

Sparingly.

Not gorging yourselves.

Not "stuffing" oneself!

This philosophy of food is what allowed Jesus to stay by Jacob's Well there in John chapter 4, waiting for the Samaritan woman to come. While the famished Disciples had to go into town for food!

Moderation at table!

This is also why Jesus could one day say, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of," speaking of spiritual sustenance.

It's probably also why our Saviour could go forty days without a "bite" in the wilderness, tempted of the Devil, according to Matthew 4:2.

When I eat, must I have it all?

Are my eyes sometimes bigger than my stomach?

I think I've started meddling, and quit preaching maybe!

Do I have to go to the all-you-can-eat buffet every time?

Or might I order off the "healthy food" menu occasionally? With its smaller portions no doubt!

Israelites, this is important.

Americans, you too!

Eat the eggs.

Or the young.

Leave the mother alone.

Here's that principle again, elsewhere in Scripture. "Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it." Proverbs 25:16

And yet again. Jesus in Luke 21:34, "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting," where "surfeiting" translates "kraipale," meaning "to seize, to carry off by force," implying "overeating!" To claim way too much for oneself!

That last verse perfectly fits our "bird's nest" context!

And what about this one? "Feed me with food convenient for me. Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD?" Proverbs 30:8, that word "convenient" means "in proper proportion!"

Wow!

A hen or other mother bird, teaching us about moderation!

Self control!

Limiting my intake!

More so probably, limiting my desires!

Thank you Lord for the practicality of Thy precious Word!

Now, let me practice it today.

What do you all think?

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

One of the most observable features of our Text, Deuteronomy 22:6-7, is this, the amazing "loyalty" or outstanding "love" on the part of the mother bird toward her endangered young ones.

Let's look again. "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam (mother)sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee."

Even in the act of someone "taking" her offspring, the mother bird does not run away! She flees not the intruder, even at the risk of her own death!

There's not even a slight hint in the Text about her doing anything but staying right with her young!

Love!

Maternal love!

Loyalty!

A love not universally exhibited in today's world!

And I do not mean to get "bogged down" here, but millions upon millions of American mothers have "killed" their own young! Legally so by our perverted abortion laws, but still the little ones are dead!

This little bird did not elect to do that!

She loves her little ones!

Animals do exist that kill their own, especially when "raising them" is not convenient! But we don't talk about those kinds of animals, those mothers! They are not presented as examples, not good examples!

In short, this little "dam," this "mom" bird is definitely not, as Jesus would have said, not a "hireling!" 

Wow!

Just substitute "birds" for "sheep" here. "But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." John 10:12-13

Am I that loyal to my family?

Are you?

Are you Pastors loyal to your Church people?

Are we employees loyal to our jobs, our bosses?

Is each of us loyal to our friends?

Or are we turn-coats?

Two-faced?

Well, whatever those answers may be, this little bird was beautifully faithful, no matter the cost!

Yes, she may have been careless as to where she placed her nest in the first place, but that fact does not detract from her "staying by the side" of her babies!

Thank God!

By the way, I sure am glad I have a loyal Saviour!

He redeemed me and has never left my side through these years! Even when troubles come!

Someone once defined such loyalty like this. "Using adversity to test my commitment to those God has called me to serve."

I'm giving that definition by memory and it may not be word-for-word, but it's close enough.

In the hard times, when the predator is approaching, will I run?

Or will I stay, no matter what?

Standing by my responsibilities!

Jesus stood by his Duties, on the old rugged Cross that day!

That we might be saved!

This poor little mother bird here lost her young.

But she did not lose her integrity.

She remained true to her calling, her nature, her God-given job! She bravely did not flee!

And that may be, as we shall see tomorrow, the very reason God spared her life anyway!

Oh, what Lessons the Old Testament teaches!

If we will only enroll!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

The unusual thing about this Text, Deuteronomy 22:6-7, is that the Lord allows the baby birds to be "taken," which means "killed and eaten" we presume, but the Jewish man or woman raiding the nest can in no wise harm the mother bird!

Not at all!

"If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the mother sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the mother with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the mother go, and take the young to thee."

The mother bird, undoubtedly upset, has just lost all her babies, or maybe even the eggs she was incubating!

So she is certainly the next "target" for the intruder, but God says "No!"

Stop it!

"Thou shalt not take the mother with the young. Thou shalt in any wise let the mother go."

Wow!

Then, I can surely say this much.

God feels strongly about this issue.

He demands safety for this female bird.

Which I think illustrates an even greater principle.

God respects Womanhood!

Motherhood too!

The "weaker" of the two sexes is not to be abused.

Ladies, you are "special" to your Creator!

By the way, in our Text, where is the Daddy bird?

Long gone!

Not at the nest.

Not mentioned in the Text, not at all!

Mom is all alone.

A lady caring for her nest.

And God protects her!

I think he would have protected her, under similar circumstances, even if she had no little birdies at all!

The lady bird, specially watched by Almighty God!

It's amazing to me that this particular Bible Study Series is being concluded quite near Mother's Day Sunday, 2010. If the Lord allows me, I'm going to try to preach it then, as a tribute to you ladies.

God loves you too, dear women of the land!

Yes, God protects Jews!

And yes, God protects Preachers!

This is true too, God protects orphans.

But, every bit as much, God protects the ladies!

Maybe especially when they are hurting, grieving or upset, as was mother bird here in our Scripture.

And I will mention this too, in a nation, any society on earth, before the devil  can completely destroy the moral fiber of that people, he must taint the ladies! He must rob them of their virtue and love and loyalty.

And he's very close to doing that in much of Western culture today!

Ladies, you are important.

And while many would "run over" you, God forbids it!

He's defending your honor!

"Thou shalt not take the mother with the young. Thou shalt in any wise let the mother go."

But is this all that important, Brother Bagwell?

Yes!

Certainly!

So important that God attaches to its obedience the same promise He linked to another "family" command.

"Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." Exodus 20:12, one of the Ten Commandments.

And now ...

"Thou shalt not take the mother with the young. Thou shalt in any wise let the mother go. That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days."

It must be critically important, taking care of this mother bird!

Long life goes along with providing her welfare!

Here's another time God promises special blessing for caring for the lady!

"Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel; that your prayers be not hindered." 1st Peter 3:7 just told the man that if he properly honors and loves his wife, his prayers will be more powerful!

Respecting the ladies!

Do not hurt them!

By command of the Lord God Almighty!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Now someone help me.

Is this material, although not yet completed I realize, suitable for preaching? Could it maybe somehow encourage a lonely lady, an abused lady, a sorrowful lady?

The Lord gave me a precious godly Mother. And two godly Grandmothers. And a darling Wife, a living example of a righteous woman.

I guess I have a soft spot in my heart for ladies who are under-appreciated. Is that a word? Ladies who are not honored like they should be!

Perhaps I have said too much today. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price, her value, is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10

Amen!

 

 

LESSON 6:

The commandment we've been studying is quite unusual.

What one can and cannot do when he or she, of all things, confronts a mother bird with her young ones.

"If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam (mother) sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee." Deuteronomy 22:6-7

But maybe even more strange than the command is the reward that is promised for obeying it! God says, Do this, this "bird" thing ... "that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days."

Wow!

Promises like these, there are two embedded in that short little clause, are usually attached to the major portions of the law!

Like, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." Exodus 20:12, an extremely critical command! The order of society itself depends on it.

Or like this encouragement to build the "Fear of the Lord" into one's life! "The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened." Proverbs 10:27

But can "prolonging one's days" be that dependent upon how one handles a bird's nest?

Apparently so!

Here's what I think is happening.

There are such things as big commandments and little commandments too, in the Bible. Jesus expressed it this way, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." See, there are "weightier" matters of the law of God. That must mean there are also "lighter" ones too.

Surely "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is more important than "Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds." Exodus 20:14 and Deuteronomy 22:9

I surely think so.

But we are back to our original question.

Why such a magnificent promise for keeping such an incidental command?

Don't harm this mother bird and you will live a long time!

Here's the answer.

God wants us to obey Him in the big things, for sure. But now we have evidence that He also wants complete compliance in the little things as well! Nearly the insignificant things!

They "why" of obedience is easily determined in "Thou shalt not kill."

But not so easily seen in "Thou shalt not wear a garment of woollen and linen together."

God wants obedience when we understand "why" we should do what He says. And God also wants obedience when we don't understand "why" we should follow through.

God wants obedience in the big things. And He also wants it in the little things, even down to laws about the little birds. Just because he said so!

He wants our submission so intensely that He, obviously, is willing to attach big rewards to little commandments!

He just did so!

Now all this can be applied in our lives, and should be ... until Jesus comes again!

What "little thing" in my life today is not "in line" with God's Word?

What "minor infraction" are you condoning in your life?

What amazing thoughts and habits and confessions this little Lesson, this Bible Text, could provoke.

Oh me!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

One of the amazing things about our Text this week has been the fact that God cares so much for, well, for birds!

Yes, some birds are to be taken and eaten. Their meat preserves life, from it we get nourishment. That's in our Passage too.

But on the other hand, one of the birds is specially protected! God virtually threatens anyone who hurts her!

You can capture the little ones, the little birds. But leave the female, the mother bird, alone!

God even promises to bestow a unique blessing upon the Jews who obey His injunction, His "love the birds" regulation!

And oh, what a blessing it is! But more about that tomorrow, the dear Lord willing.

"If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days." Deuteronomy 22:6-7, where obviously the word "dam" means the mother bird.

Maybe I am off on a tangent today, but here goes anyway.

God not only loves us humans.

He loves His creatures too, the animal world.

One of the things that made God "happy," if I can use that word about the Lord, "happy" over the repentance of Nineveh in the days of Jonah ...  was the fact that not only would the people now live, so would the animals!

Listen to the Lord reason with His Prophet, His pouting Prophet! "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" Jonah 4:11, the very last verse in the Book of Jonah.

God cared for the "cattle!"

And in the wilderness those forty days, when Jesus was being tempted of the Devil, Mark tells us: "And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him." Only Mark relates this fact, Mark 1:13, ever so briefly.

We don't know much about these particular beasts, but this is for sure. They were animals. And the dear Lord was not being mean to them during those days either! I think they had recognized their sweet Creator and wanted to be with Him, by His side, loving Him and as best as creation can, worshipping Him too.

Why not? Isaiah has the trees some day worshipping Jesus! "The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12

Wow!

Furthermore, in the future Millennium, God's reign on earth for a thousand glorious years, He does not forget the animals! "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." Isaiah 11:6, God loves His little animals!

The Book of Proverbs even addresses this matter.

"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." Proverbs 12:10

In other words, a godly man will care for his animals, never mistreating them! But even when a wicked man thinks he is being kind, he never is! He will mistreat his livestock and not even know he's doing so!

Wow!

God cares for animals, even mother birds!

And in Heaven?

Well, I don't know.

I used to say that, for sure, no animals were there, not in Glory. After all, they cannot enjoy eternal life.

Of course I used to know all the answers! I do not any more. The more I study the Bible, the less I feel competent to address any of its great truths.

One day after telling a little boy that there would be no animals in Heaven, he turned to leave. Then quickly asked me this in departing, "How come then Jesus will some day ride a white horse out of Heaven, if none are there?"

Well, how about that?

Let me close this way.

God is so kind, so thoughtful, so loving, so graceful that He not only loves us, men and woman and boys and girls ... He loves the animals too!

What a great Heavenly Father we have!

At home I have a cat. Not mine, I inherited him. The house is empty now, just the Lord and me ... and the cat.

I have repeatedly said that the cat cannot stay.

But I just cannot bring myself to call the county to come get him. Animal control, you know.

And I am not emotionally strong enough to take him to the vet and let the doctor euthanize him, either. I can't handle that.

To put him out would be to kill him. He is not used to the wild. Never spent a day out there in his whole life.

So, guess what?

I must be kind to him. The Lord would at least do that much. So I reckon at home for a while it's still going to be the Lord and me ... and the cat!

Maybe God will bless my kindness!

How so?

I don't know again.

But here's what He promised to do if you are kind to a mother bird, "It will be well with thee, and thou mayest prolong thy days!"

Maybe he will do that for a cat owner too.

Good enough!

God loves animals!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Crazy Lesson?

Then write and tell me so.

But I still plan to love all God's creation, animate and inanimate. They all bear His fingerprints one way or another!

And yes, I have someone go by the house every day when I am away preaching, and feed the little kitty!

 

 

LESSON 8:

I've been trying to get to this part of our Text for a week! Those last few words, where God promises a special reward for obedience.

Even for obedience to such a seemingly insignificant commandment! Not hurting a little mother bird!

In essence, God says take care of this little creature, "That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days." Deuteronomy 22:7, at the end of the verse.

All this bounty from God?

For being kind to an animal?

Perhaps.

But more so I think, for doing what God said, even in such a minor situation.

Let me piece together our whole Text. "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, thou shalt not take the mother with the young ones. But thou shalt in any wise let the mother go, and take the young to thee."

That's it.

And if you do this, you may expect directly from the Lord two things. First, things will go well with you! Second, God will prolong your days!

Wow!

Here are the words involved. A brief exposition of this compound sentence,  "That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days."

The verb "may be well" translates "yatab," as a qal imperfect. That just means it's in the "active" voice. This is not suppositional, but factual. It's not what we'd call a subjunctive. This will happen, these good things! The "imperfect" in Hebrew means the verb's movement, the action, is on-going. Constant, not short lived!

These are perennial blessings, as long as one obeys!

And "yatab" means "to be pleasing, to be well, to be good, to be glad." Even at times the idea of "being joyful" is included.

Here's a short Bible prayer, asking God to "be well" to the Israelite people. "Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem." Psalm 51:18, where "do good" is a direct translation of "yatab."

Obey me, says the Lord, in the little things even, and I will "do good" to you, promise!

God rewards submission!

He rewards our following His Word!

Next, not only will things "be well" with us, but also "Thou mayest prolong thy days."

What's this?

"Thou mayest prolong" is "arak." This is a hiphil verb, showing cause. There is a reason God will give this man or woman prolonged days. And that reason is, of course, obedience! It also is grammatically a durative verb, as specifically written here. God keeps on and keeps on prolonging those days!

"Arak" by definition, according to the dictionaries, "to continue, to postpone, to tarry," God is actually lengthening a person's time on earth!

Mercy, two things!

Both living longer!

And a greater quality of life during those extended days as well!

"That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days."

God sure makes it worth while to obey Him, doesn't He?

According to Deuteronomy 22:6-7 anyway.

Folks, that's just one more reason why we need to know God's precious Word. To learn those commands. And their correlated promises too!

For example in Joshua 1:8 we are told: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

See the command here, meditate in God's Word.

See the reward here, prosperity and success!

Wow!

From birds to books ... it is a blessing to obey our Heavenly Father!

Now let's all go do it, line upon line!

Only Jesus could truly say, in John 8:29, "I do always those things that please the Father."

But we can still try!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9:

Paul once uses this phrase, "without natural affection."

In Romans 1:31.

It's in that list of terrible sins that plunge a society into the depths of absolute perversion.

When a people reach this point, "without natural affection," Mothers no longer love their children! Nor sons and daughters their Parents! Husbands and wives will casually divorce, without any remorse whatsoever. Really, the general rules and historical bounds of civilization begin to evaporate. 

Soon, anything goes!

Do you see it?

No telling where this may lead.

"Without natural affection."

What's that got to do with our Text, Deuteronomy 22:6-7, you may be asking? About that mother bird and her young biddies? You know. "Take care of mama bird, even if you eat her young ones. Do not harm her, even if she unwisely built her nest in some exposed place!"

Here's what I'm saying.

God might have placed such huge blessings upon the Jew who obeys this strange little command for the very reason I'm discussing, maintaining "natural affections."

Not violating the affections God gave her, the little bird.

Not taking advantage of her potential love and loyalty for any future family she might have.

Not killing her God-given desires, inherent to her sex.

As a possible mate to another bird, a male!

As a possible mother to more little ones!

Do not harm her!

If you do, you just may die younger than normal!

Or you might face hard times, send as punishment from Almighty God!

"If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the mother sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the mother with the young. But thou shalt in any wise let the mother go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days." Deuteronomy 22:6-7, the whole passage.

The reason I think "natural affections" might play a part in God's statutes here now needs to be explained, best I can.

First the definition of "astorgos," or "without natural affection." It actually means "without family love!" The verb root is "stergo" and means "to cherish dearly."

It's the Greek experts who tell us that it is very often used in a family context.

Natural love as originally bestowed by our Creator.

By our Lord.

Respect that principle with this little mother bird, and you will be rewarded.

Disrespect that, kill her, or rob of of any possibility of having future young ones, and you will be punished, severely!

Now here's why I think that's so important.

The whole "natural affections" principle as seen in the Bible is very dominant, nearly ubiquitous. 

A common everyday example might be best.

A boy wanting to lure his girlfriend into a sexually loose situation, by appealing to her motherly instincts. "If you really loved me, you would do what I want. If you felt sorry for me, knew how discouraged I've been, you would  agree to my plan."

He is luring her into sin by "playing" with her emotions, her "natural affections." And that's wrong!

A young person can do the same thing to a parent. Playing on their love for wrong purposes.

Or a husband to a wife. "Honey, if you really loved me like you promised to do at the altar, you would go with me to that night club or whatever." Or, "You would let me _____________," always some wicked thing!

God says to leave a person's natural affections alone!

Here's another natural affection, God instilled from Creation.

Men are attracted to women.

Women to men, it's a law of nature.

Tamper with that, and you will be wrecking the "natural affections" principle that God build into the universe!

And you're headed for trouble!

Judgment from God!

These things are apparently very important to the Lord!

So, let mother bird alone now.

You've taken her young ones already.

She must be allowed to brood again, to have more. It's how God created her. It's an expression of her "natural affections."

Wow!

God, let us keep our natural affections! Let us not lose them or sell them or squander them ... until Jesus comes again!

This may be why our little "bird's nest" paragraph is found in the Bible to begin with, as an illustration of a greater Truth!

Let's all go now and be kind to some member of our family!

That hardest-to-love one, perhaps!

Illustrate today your "natural affections."

Very important Lesson!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

So we say "Good-bye" to the little bird.

And all the things she has taught us over the past nine days.

I almost feel grateful to a Bible Text! Better yet, the the God Who wrote it and placed it in His Book!

Amen!

 

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