For the Birds Prov 1:17 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Birds are an often used metaphor in the Bible. So, the title of this message is “For the Birds.” We are going to look at references to birds only in Proverbs and see what we can glean from these metaphors. There are five references that we are going to study today. We will take them in chronological order.
Prov 1:17 – “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.” In the context of this verse we find sinners enticing a fellow to walk in the way with them and Solomon admonishes him to refrain his foot from their path. The reason is that he can see the danger that is coming. According to verse 18, the sinners lay wait for their own blood. In other words, their criminal way is going to ensnare them and destroy them. As it is vain to spread a net in the SIGHT of any bird, because he won’t fly into it, likewise, if sinners could SEE that their way is going to ensnare and kill them they wouldn’t do what they do. But they just don’t see it that way. So, Solomon helps us to see the trap that we would get into by following them so that we won’t die like they are going to die. Did you know that the average gang member lives to be only 20 years and 5 months old? Look at that “net.”
Prov 6:5 – “Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.” The context of this verse is “surety.” What has ensnared this “bird” is that he has opened his mouth and agreed to stand good for his friend in the event that hid friend fails to make good on his agreement to another person. The typical scenario here is a loan guarantee or a co-signature. Solomon said that in the event you have obligated yourself on behalf of another person you need to get out of that obligation just as quickly as you can; and I would add, unless you fully intend to jeopardize your friendship and to pay the obligation without recourse.
Prov 7:23 – “Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.” Here is the case of a bird that doesn’t see the snare and is flying headlong into it. The context of this verse is a young man void of understanding who is taken by a strange woman. She flattered him into lying with her and he thought that was the end of the story. That’s not the end. According to verse 27, death and hell are the end of that life and the poor sucker didn’t see it coming. How many young men are in hell today after pursuing a promiscuous life? Only eternity will tell.
Prov 26:2 – “As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” Have you ever seen swallows flying? They just dart in and out from place to place. You can hardly keep your eye on them. The metaphor here is a comfort to us if we have ever been “cursed” by anyone. The Lord assures us that the curse “causeless” shall not come. Divine curses have and will come [Gen 3:17; Gal 3:13; Matt 25:41] but the curse of a man won’t. Don’t give some curse of man or some curse of a religious organization a second thought. Just look up and take comfort that like that bird flying over your head, it will never land on you.
Prov 27:8 – “As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.” Birds that wander from their nests, for the most part, never return. The dove that build their nests in our neighborhood never return to them after their young are hatched and gone. Likewise, a man who leaves his place isn’t coming back. For instance, there are many men who have, unfortunately, been unfaithful in their marriages but they have repented of their infidelity and they are still married today. God bless their wives. However, there are others who have left their wives for another woman. They aren’t coming back. Many a man was called to preach and after a while he left the ministry. He won’t be back. Many a young man has left home early. He’ll stay gone, too. There are certainly exceptions to the rule [i.e. the prodigal son], but in the vast majority of cases, once he’s gone, he’s gone forever.
Conclusion: take a lesson from these birds. Sinners who entice you are going to be ensnared by the very thing they are inviting you to do. Guaranteeing and cosigning notes, making bail and the like put you in bondage; don’t get into these. Chasing women is a great way to wind up in hell. Don’t sweat the curses that don’t come from God. Stay in the place where God wants you to be; don’t wander away from it.