Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!
Temperatures are coming down in our Arizona desert, making for great walking in the early mornings and evenings. Canadian geese in lovely V-shaped formations are honking their way back to a lake near our home. They are rejoining the bald eagles that endured the summer heat. A great horned owl has taken up winter residence in a tree outside our window, hooting his three signature hoots during the night. I delight in these marvelous wonders of God’s creation and in watching for His presence with us.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the father of the scientific method, saw God in His creation. Bacon said: “God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called creation.”
The Lord Jesus encouraged the study of God’s Scripture book and the study of God’s book of creation. Jesus followed the wisdom tradition of ancient Israel that looked to creation for God’s teaching. It is exemplified in Proverbs 3:6ff: “Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways, and be wise.”
Put on your walking shoes, venture out in God’s wondrous world and consider. God’s fingerprints are on everything you see! The word “consider” in todays’ Scripture, “Consider the ravens…Consider the lilies”, is a translation of the Greek katanoeo. It is a rich, multi-layered word variously translated “to perceive, observe, understand, consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind on.” William Barclay notes that katanoeo “…means to fix the attention on something in such a way that its inner meaning, the lesson that it is designed to teach may be learned.” (Daily Bible Study) Jesus means for us to look at the Canadian geese, the eagles, the lilies, and learn the lesson God designed to teach us in them. Consider!
When translators first searched for a word to translate the Greek katanoeo they found it in “consider.” It is an old word that literally means, “to look at the stars.” It is made up of the Latin sidrus that means a “star.” The word “consider” goes back to days before the telescope when early astronomers would lie on the ground for hours and look up at the sky and consider. So, Jesus commands us, “Consider the ravens.”
In considering the ravens it is important to keep in mind that the Law of Moses regarded ravens as unclean animals (Leviticus 11:15; Deuteronomy 14:14), and the people regarded them a nuisance. Yet, consider, your heavenly Father cares for them! So, Jesus asks us to consider: “Of how much more value are you than the birds!”
The old English hymnist Isaac Watts considered God in all of His creation, and rejoiced:
“There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known, And clouds arise, and tempest blow, by order from Thy throne; While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care; And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.” [From, “I Sing the Mighty Power of God”]
Something to consider:
- Take some time to look at the night sky, the moon, the stars and constellations. What feelings stir in you as you look? What lessons do you see God teaching you? Take a few moments to talk to God about all of this.
- Study a sunrise, or sunset, and note the feelings that stir in you. What do you sense God saying to you in what you see and feel? What do you want to say to God about all of this?
- Take time to closely examine a flower; pay attention to the colors, the shapes and the tiniest detail. Consider the lessons that God is teaching you there. Talk to God about this.
- Go for a walk or a drive in your car, asking God to open your eyes to His presence in what you see. Enjoy!
Grace and peace,