November 07, 2023

Caring for the Vulnerable

Deuteronomy 22:6-7

If you come across a bird’s nest beside the road, either in a tree or on the ground, and the mother is sitting on the young or on the eggs, do not take the mother with the young.

—  Deuteronomy 22:6

While walking near a lake one day, our family discovered a camouflaged nest of eggs that a killdeer, a small shorebird, had laid in the ground. It was breathtakingly beautiful, but it was also unprotected and exposed among the rocks.

Among the many Old Testament guidelines for holy living, some instructions in Deuteronomy told God’s people what to do if they found such a nest. At that time it was considered okay to take the eggs or the young hatchlings, but it was not acceptable to harm the bird that laid them. That was a simple principle of conservation: if the eggs are taken, the bird can lay more eggs, but if the mother bird is taken or destroyed, she can’t produce any more. In times of hunger, it might have been tempting to take both the bird and the eggs, but the prevailing wisdom cautioned people to use restraint, even if they were desperate.

These instructions aren’t only about conservation, though. We can trust that if God cares for birds, he cares far more about us, whom he made in his image. Jesus made this clear when he said to his followers, “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31). He was explaining God’s care for them when they were threatened by enemies. Similarly, God cares for you, body and soul, when you feel exposed and in danger.

Lord, thank you for protecting us when we are weak. Help us also to protect those that are vulnerable. Amen.

About the author — Julia Prins Vanderveen

Julia Prins Vanderveen works and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, Trevor, and their three sons. Julia has served as a copastor with Trevor at a church in Vancouver. She is a campus pastor and a humanities teacher at the Vancouver Christian School.

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