Wednesday, December 13, 2006

#76 "Cattle, Raven, The Stars and You"

December 12, 2006
"He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call." (Psalm 147: vs. 4 and 9)

A construction crew was building a new road through a rural area, knocking down trees as it progressed. A superintendent noticed that one tree had a nest of birds who couldn?t yet fly and he marked the tree so that it would not be cut down. Several weeks later the superintendent came back to the tree. He got into a bucket truck and was lifted up so that he could peer into the nest. The fledglings were gone. They had obviously learned to fly. The superintendent ordered the tree cut down. As the tree crashed to the ground, the nest fell clear and some of the material that the birds had gathered to make the nest was scattered about. Part of it was a scrap torn from a Sunday school pamphlet. On the scrap of paper were these words: "He careth for you".
Psalm 147, verses 4 and 9 give us an awesome reminder of the care that God has for us. It continually amazes me when I look up at a clear, night sky that my Heavenly Father placed each one of them there and He knows them each by their name! Isaiah 40: 26 tells us to "Lift [our] eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." If He cares to know each star by its' name, how much more does He know your name? If He cares for their welfare, (not one is missing), how much more do you think He cares about the things that concern you? He knows you individually. He knows your uniqueness. Your hopes and dreams, fears and concerns. After all, He made you. He knew you before you were ever born and has a plan for your life since eternity past. A plan just for you. He cares for you!
Ravens are not appealing birds. They are members of the crow family. We find them disgusting for the most part. They eat road kill. We see them a lot on roadsides when it's garbage day. We see them picking through and eating trash. They are a dirty looking kind of bird. When we see a dead crow on the road (one that was too slow getting out of the way of a car as it feasted on a dead squirrel) it does not touch are hearts like seeing a dog or cat, or a cute little bunny does. There is no outpouring of sorrow at the death of crow. Yet that is the kind of creature that God says He provides for. He hears that cry of the raven, the cry of the crow. Jesus said in Matthew 6: 26, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" He cares for you.

And cows, well, they're cows! What more can I say? Not the most beautiful animals. They chew their own vomit. And they don't follow very well. Sheep will follow...cattle have to be driven. They are stubborn and willful. Yet God provides them with their food. Will He not provide for us even more, in spite of our stubborn, willful ways? He cares for us! This is a pretty simple concept to grasp. No big theology here. But if we do not grab hold of it, own it and BELIEVE it, we will fall prey to the devil, and believe instead, the lie that God doesn't care. Remember the devil IS a liar! You are an immortal soul. When a crow or a cow dies he is gone, life is over, he exists no more. But when your present life passes, you will not cease to be, but you have begun a life of eternity. When we pass from this life to the next we have just begun to live forever. Please understand that you will outlive the mountains, you will outlive the sun and the stars. Psalm 8: 5 says that God made you "a little lower than the heavenly beings (or than God) and crowned you with glory and honor. You are worth much, much more than any beast of the field or bird of the air!
Verse 9 tells us that the cattle and ravens are provided for "when they call". Are you calling? Are you praying? Are you crying out to God for the answer to your circumstance? He WILL hear and answer you. You are cared for much more than cows and birds! He hears them...smelly, stinky, garbage pickers, cud chewers....He will hear you! He is your Father. Are you a parent? For those of you who have children of your own, do you not get greater joy in giving your children gifts than in feeding your dog? Do you not find more satisfaction in providing for the needs of your children than you do for your pet? So how much more gracious and good is God than we are? Not to say that we do not love our pets, but are not our loved ones immensely more important and precious to us? Thus it is with God, all of His creation is precious to Him, yet are not those made in His image more so? "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7: 11)
Whatever you're facing today...whatever struggle...whatever sin...whatever problem...God knows. He answers. He cares. And this Psalm shows us what exactly He provides. It says that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He is great and mighty in power. He sustains us. He protects us [He strengthens the bars of your gates]. He blesses His people. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat...the finest of His provision. He gives you His Word, His precious promises. And most important of all...He gave us Jesus...His only Son, who died on a Roman cross for our sins to give us abundant life here on earth and eternal life in Heaven with Him. Forgiveness, salvation, sanctification,and justification were all bought with the price of the blood of Jesus and given to us as a free gift. Really if God never gave us one other thing...Jesus would be enough. But He chooses to continue to lavish His grace, His mercy, and His loyal, hesed love on us, because He is a wonderful Father.
Look up at the stars tonight. Notice the birds outside your window. Unless you live on a farm, you probably won't see many cows...But let these always be a reminder to you of the love and care of your Heavenly Father. If He cares for them, my friend, how much more does He care for you?
Donna Schultz
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