Weekly Pastoral Message prepared by Rev. Murray Adamthwaite
for Sunday 26th July 1998
From the Pastor: Animal Lessons VII
"He gives to the beast its food, and to the young ravens that cry." Psalm 147:9|
Australia is well served with members of the crow family: the crow proper,
the jay, and the common magpie. However, the much larger raven does not
occur here, whereas it is common in the northern hemisphere. In the Near
East it was and is found frequently: it has a large wing-span of up to two
feet, it nests often on rocky crags, and feeds on carrion. this scavenging
habit is the most noteworthy feature of this bird: not normally a bird of
prey, it depends on the enterprise of other animals for its food supply.
In several Bible texts the raven is held up as an example of God's
providential care. It is well expressed in Cowper's lines:
Will give His children bread."
(Methodist Hymn Book, Hymn 527)
On one occasion, however, it was the other way around: the ravens fed one
of God's people, viz. Elijah, (1 Kings 17:6). Either way, it was God's
providential care at work. This does not mean, a la the raven, that we
will have to forage for food and the necessities of life, though there have
been overly pious saints down through the centuries who have imagined that
that is the truly holy way of life. Rather, just as the raven is cared
for according to its habits and lifestyle, so also we will too according to
ours. This will not normally mean luxury, but it will mean sustenance.
At times, however, God's people have been called on to endure great
privations for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. At such times such
peolple may well feel like ravens scrummaging for the essentials of life,
but He has promised just the same, "I will never leave you, nor forsake
you" (Hebrews 13:5). Thus, in whatever circumstance, stay free of the
love of money and obsession with things, as the world around us is
obsessed. Do you know that contentment?