A Lesson from the Stork
by James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D.
“Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7)
The migratory behavior of birds is fascinating. If it only occurred once, we would call it a miracle. Yet we see bird migrations twice a year, so we are desensitized to the Creator-designed magnificence of these journeys.
Geographically, Israel sits center stage among the great continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Many birds migrate from European and Asian winters to Africa, with the migrations reversed prior to summer. Yet which bird is famous for its early return home? The stork! So faithful is the stork that its very name (Hebrew chasidah) means “faithful one”!
Jeremiah lamented the ignorance and unfaithfulness of God’s people, and during his lifetime Israel was called to exhibit faithfulness to God. Except for a faithful remnant, Israel refused to repent, bringing the prophecy of judgment. Sadly, most of Israel stayed in the path of oncoming judgment, neglecting their opportunity to escape the just consequences of their sin. God chastised Israel’s unfaithful and ignorant behavior, contrasting their failure to “return” to Him with the wisdom and faithfulness of the returning migratory birds.
God’s people need to learn a lesson from the early-to-return-home stork, for our true and safe home is none other than God Himself. When we drift away from Him, distracted by the world (or ourselves), let us be quick to recognize that it is time to admit our wrong (1 John 1:9) and return to Him, our true refuge. JJSJ