Lessons from the Quail – be content, not greedy

QuailThe bird “Quail” is explicitly mentioned in the Bible. When God promised the Israelites, provisions in the wilderness to satisfy and sustain them, in addition to man’-na (bread), he sent them “quails” as meat (Exodus 16:13). The Israelites gathered this daily as anything leftover toward the next day was spoilt, signifying in a sense, God’s daily provisions.

Interestingly, the same account of God provisions are recorded in the Book of Numbers as well, in Numbers 11:31-35, but with a little more information. This time, the Bible records that as the people were eating the quails (while it was still on their teeth), God smote the people with a plague and those who lusted (who were greedy and not satisfied for the food, gathering it for themselves, constantly grumbling against God and his servant, Moses) died and were buried. (Numbers 11:33,34).

Hmm, what can we really learn from these two accounts, in which the Quail is mentioned?

  1. God provides our daily needs. His name is Jehovah Ji-reh (God, our provider)
  2. We must not grumble against God and his people and must learn to be content and satisfied with what God has given us, thanking Him for His provisions, giving Him the glory
  3. We must not be greedy, storing up for ourselves but trust that God will meet our needs according to His riches in glory. Giving is the antidote to Greed.

Exodus 16:3,4,13 (KJV)
And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

Numbers 11: 31-34 (KJV)
And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.
And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.
And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.
And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.


Lessons from the Pig – set apart and committed

PigFor a moment, think about a pig. Now think of a pig wearing a nose ring of Gold. Even the very image in our mind is pretty unappealing, isn’t it?
The Bible compares in Proverbs 11:22, that a woman without discretion is like a gold ring (jewel) in a pig’s snout. This I dont believe, is a warning just to the female (woman) gender, but to all mankind. As the bride of the Lamb, it includes all of us, who trust and believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior of the world. I don’t think, anyone will question me, if I was to state that we can ALL (male and female) be without discretion.

We see nose rings being worn even today in many parts of the world. You can certainly see them on women from the Indian sub-continent. This practice is however an age old practice. Although, today it is primarily worn  prevalent to adorn or accentuate one’s beauty, the origin of the practice and the reasons as to why it was worn in ancient times has far greater significance.  A nose ring was symbolic of being set apart and of commitment.

When Abraham sought a wife for his son Isaac, and commanded his servant to look for a daughter-in-law among his own people, interestingly the first thing that the servant does when he finds Rebekah by the well is he puts a  nose ring on her (Genesis 24:47) as a indication of setting her apart for his master’s son, after finding out who she was. To Rebekah, this would mean that she would need to be thenceforth committed to Isaac. Likewise, the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 16:12, paints the imagery that God put a nose ring on Israel and all of God’s chosen people who trust and believe in Jesus Christ, adorning us, while at the same time, setting us apart for his Son (Jesus Christ). This to us means that we should be committed to Jesus.

Any other way would mean, that we are like a woman without discretion, as a pig wearing a golden nose ring. Not very appealing, is it?

Point(s) to ponder:

  1. Let us remember that we are are set apart for God
  2. Let us remain faithful and committed to God
  3. Let us not be pigs wearing nose rings 🙂

Proverbs 11:22 (Bible in Basic English)
Like a ring of gold in the nose of a pig, is a beautiful woman who has no sense.

Lessons from the Ox – leadership antithesis

WhiteOxEzekiel 1 records a fascinating account of the prophet of God on whom God’s hand was (verse 3), seeing a thrilling vision with the heavens being opened (verse 1)
He describes the four living creatures, he sees, with precise details. While each aspect of his description can be expanded upon in volumes, I want to focus on a few important aspects as it pertains to the Ox (a Bible animal).

Ezekiel describes the likeness of the faces of the living creatures was as follows – each had four faces, one was that of a man, the second was that of a lion, the third was that of an ox and the fourth was that of an eagle (verse 10). This is another testament to Colossians 1:16-17, which records that it is by Jesus and for Jesus, that all things have been created and do exist. Let me explain
Jesus –
in Matthew is described as a king, the Lion of Judah (face of a lion)
in Mark is described as a servant (face of an ox – an ox is animal of burden signifying servanthood)
in Luke is described as the son of Man (face of a man)
in John is described as the Son of God (face of an eagle representing habitation on high and divinity)

So what can we learn from the Ox?
Servanthood. Jesus said he came to serve and not to be served. He not only took the form of a man, but humbled himself as a servant (Philippians 2), even to the point of death. Imagine that, the creator serving his creation – an antithesis to all we know of a master/servant or leadership relationship.

Likewise we will be commended to follow in Jesus’ example – as diligent as an Ox serving its master. Remember, the final accolade will be (for those who serve), “Well done, my good and faithful SERVANT“.

Ezekiel 1: 1,3,5,6,10,11
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
3 The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.

Colossians 1:16-17
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Lessons from the Night hawk – incessant, hidden, audible

NighthawkLeviticus 11:16 and Deuteronomy 14:15 are the only instances in the Bible in which the night hawk is listed, as a bird amongst prohibited or unclean birds.
Three distinctive characteristics of the night hawk that we can learn from are
1.  it ability to incessantly keep singing that bewilders the hearer as to how a bird can hold its breath for such a prolonged period of time.
2. it sits longitudinally to the branch it perches, making it almost impossible for a viewer to see where it is and only its cry gives away it’s presence and
3. it’s cry is so distinctive that it can be identified by it voice

    So what can we learn from the night hawk?

    1. Do we pray incessantly as we are asked to. Paul, the Apostle admonishes believers to “pray incessantly (without ceasing)” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
    2. Are we aligned (sitting longitudinally) with the word of God, hiding in the word of God, so that we may be caught in the sight of those who seek to turn us away from God. The psalmist says that to hiding the word of God in our hearts, will hide us from the sins that try to encumber us (Psalm 119:11)
    3. Can we be identified by our voice?Are we known by what we speak? This is of paramount importance. Our words can build others or break others. The Bible says that we are accountable for every word that we utter (Matthew 12:36-37). James cautions us to control our tongue (James 3). There is a time to be silent (Be Still and know that He is God in control) and there is a time to speak (with the boldness of the Apostles when we are in the business of sharing the Gospel). How are we known by our voice?

    1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)
    17 Pray without ceasing.

    Psalm 119:11
    Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

    Matthew 12:36-37
    36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
    37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

    Lessons from the Moth – ephemeral to eternal

    MothThe moth in the Bible has been used to describe the ephemeral nature of life. The Hebraic word that describes the moth is literally a derivative from the root that mean ‘to fall away’ like moth eaten garments.

    Job 4:19 reads “How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are cursed before the moth?
    Isaiah 50:9 reads “Behold the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up”

    Closer introspection of these two texts reveal three wonderful hidden truths

    1. the creation of  man,
    2. the aging  and falling away (natural death) of man and
    3. the glorious Truth of Salvation.

    The creation of man –
    We were created in the imago dei [image of God], formed from the dust of the ground (Gen 1:27; Gen 2:7) and we hold in our clay-molden (jars of clay) bodies, the excellency of the power of God, and the glory of God which is Jesus Christ (2 Corinthian 4:7). Our created bodies dwell in houses of clay and our foundation is the dust (Job 4:19)

    The aging and falling away of man –
    Isaiah 50:9b states that these jars of clay (our bodies) shall wax old as a garment; that the moth will eat away.  It has been appointed unto man that he should die once and then enter into judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Our days of life are not only numbered, but each day is recorded in God’s calendar and will come to pass. While on this journey on earth, however, let us remember not to count our days but make our days count.

    The glorious Truth of Salvation –
    Isaiah 50:9a states that the Lord God will help us and questions the reader as to whether there is anyone who shall condemn us.  Jesus (Lord God) is the ONLY way and our helper. In him, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). He did not condemn the woman caught in  the act of adultery or the malefactor on the cross. If we ask him to, He will accept us, just as we are, unclean and unworthy. He can transform our ephemeral (short-lived) lives into eternal living (with him). Ask him to, now, if you have not already done so.

    Romans 8:1 (KJV)
    1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    Lessons from the Lamb – one for all

    Lamb Of GodGod created man to have a relationship with him; Man disobeyed (sinned against) God; This separated man from God; For man’s sin, a price had to be paid! God wanted to punish sin, and not the sinner (man) and so He had to come up with a way;
    This is where the lamb comes in –  As a payment for sin, a lamb (that is perfect without any blemish) had to be sacrificed; But this payment (sacrifice) had to be paid every year;

    Man continued to sin and sacrifice, sin and sacrifice ad infinitum;

    God had to do something and his love for man was so great, that he took the form of the son of Man, and became the Lamb of God;
    He came to earth in the form of a baby, named Jesus, which means that He will save His people from their sins; (Note : His people, their sins)
    But when John the Baptist, a harbinger prophet, who was pronouncing God’s redemptive plan that will break the circle of sin and sacrifice saw Jesus, He did not call him Jesus, but instead, recognized Jesus to be the Lamb of God (that taketh away all the sins of the world). He said, Behold Jesus (look at Him)  – the Lamb of God (withouth blemish, perfect in all)

    This Lamb of God (Jesus) was slain, and his vesture dipped in blood, a blood that purifies you and me from all our sinfulness. Before Jesus died on the cross, where he was crucified so that we (man) may not be punished, he said – Tetelastai, meaning It is finished, paid in full. The payment for sin was complete and no other sacrifice is necessary for man to be restored into the relationship with God. His sacrifice is one for all.

    Are you in relationship with this God, who loves you dearly? Do you know the the Lamb of God?

    If not, let me reiterate
    the cry in the wilderness by a prophet (John the Baptist)  – Look at Jesus, the Lamb of God, who can take away all our sins.
    the call of a messianic prophet (Isaiah) –  Come reason with Jesus and he will make us clean (righteous) before God.

    John 1:29
    The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

    Isaiah 1:18
    Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

    P.S: The image in this post is a photo I shot in Brazil and the inscription in it is in Portuguese, which states God’s promulgation to mankind, that Jesus (pictured as the Lamb of God) is His Son with whom He (God) is well pleased. Click on the picture for a clearer view.

    Lessons from the Kite – kind irrespective

    RedKiteLeviticus 11:14 and Deuteronomy 14:13 both enlists the kite or any of it’s kind as unclean birds, that must not be consumed and in fact abhorred by the people of God.

    Again, I don’t believe that this is in any way discriminatory against the kite itself, but it has in the undercurrent an important lesson that we must not overlook. Note how, God says, the kite or any of its kind (paraphrased).
    Likewise sin (which is unclean and unholy) and any of its kind is all sin and therefore unclean. Many a times, we console ourselves into thinking that, what we deem as a small sin (such as a white lie etc) is okay because it does not hurt us or it may not hurt anyone else. However, sin or any of its kind (big, small, white, black, yada yada yada) are all to be detested (abhorred) and we must not partake (consume) of it.

    Deuteronomy 14:2,3 and 13
    2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
    3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.
    And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,