Birds and Flowers

How Much More He Cares For You



Dr. John Hoole – September 17, 2017



Matthew 6:25 NKJV


25     Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?


Anxiety and worry have been around for a long time.  In Jesus’ day, anxiety was everywhere, just as it is today.  Like us, the people standing on the mountain-side as Jesus preached had to deal with the problems of paying their bills, feeding their families, pleasing their employers, raising their children, paying their taxes and saving for the future.


Maybe some of you can relate to the Charlie Brown cartoon that shows Linus dragging his blanket.  He looks at Charlie, and observes, “You look kinda depressed,”  “I worry about school a lot,” Charlie Brown replies, then adds, “and I worry about my worrying so much about school.”  As Charlie and Linus sit on a log together, Charlie makes his final observation: “My anxieties have anxieties.”  In our world, stress has become a way of life.  And most, if not all, Christians are guilty as well.  The list of things we worry about is endless.


The question could easily be asked:  “What good has ever come from worrying?”  I have heard many say, “I am worried to death about this or that.”  I have never heard anyone say “I am worried to life.”


Far too many of us have accepted worry and anxiety as a natural part of our lives.  It doesn’t have to be that way.


In Matthew 6, Jesus gives us several illustrations to show us how unnecessary worry is.




Matthew 6:25-31 NASU


25     " For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

26     " Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

27     "And who of you by being worried can add a single  hour to his life?

28     "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,

29     yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

30     "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

31     "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'




1.     Watching Birds & Trusting God


In verse 26, Jesus gives the first illustration concerning the futility of worry.

Matthew 6:26 (NKJV)


 26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?


Let’s also look at how Luke records these words of Jesus.


Luke 12:24 NKJV


24     Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?


There are many birds in northern Galilee, and in all likelihood, He pointed into the air at some passing birds, and said, “Look at the birds of the air….”  He called attention to the fact that birds do not have intricate and involved processes for acquiring food.


I've heard it said, "The events of life sometimes keeps us from living life."  We sometimes get so caught up in all the stuff going on in our lives we don't live life as it should be.   The cares of this life, money, clothes, food, relationships, jobs, health, etc. often cause us to worry too much.  We've all been there and perhaps we are right now.  In these times what should we do?  How about "bird watching!"


Did you know that God is a bird-watcher?  We see that in the verses we just read in Matthew 6.  But, God’s watch of them is shown in many other Bible verses.


Job 12:7, 9 NKJV


7       But now ask . . . the birds of the air, and they will tell you;


9       Who among all these does not know That the hand of the Lord has done this,


Over 3,500 years ago, the ancient patriarch Job realized that the birds of the heavens have much to tell us about the handiwork of God.  But their characteristic behavior also makes them ideal subjects for illustrations and metaphors.  In the Bible, many of the references to the birds of the heavens teach us important lessons about life and our relationship to God.


Psalms 50:11 NKJV


11     I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.


Job 38:41 NKJV


41     Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food?


You find birds all through the Bible.  They brought bread to the prophets (1 Kings 17:2).


         Abraham had to shoo them off his sacrifice (Genesis 15:11).


         A pigeon goes with Jesus on His first visit to the temple (Luke 2:22-24).


         God is likened to a bird who carries the Israelites on her wings (Exodus 19:4).


         Also, is He likened unto a bird, under whose wings we can take refuge (Psalm 91:4).


         Jesus compares Himself to a hen (Matthew 23:37).


Inhabitants of Jerusalem were familiar with swallows, which customarily built their nests under the eaves of building.  Were  you aware that some built their nest in Solomon’s temple?  It is likely that the swallows that nested in the temple area each year found it a place of safety.


The composer of Psalm 84 – one of the sons of Korah, who served in the temple for one week every six months, noticed those nests in the temple area.  He writes that he longed to be liker the swallows that had a permanent home in Jehovah’s house.


Psalms 84:1-3 NKJV


1       How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts!

2       My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

3       Even the sparrow has found a home, And the swallow a nest for herself, Where she may lay her young —  Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God.




Answer: 32


There are two Old Testament chapters that list exactly 20 birds by name.  You find them in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy14.  These chapters give a list of unclean birds that should not be eaten.


I'm sure most, if not all, of you have watched birds at some time.  A couple things to notice about them is:


• Birds are not controlled by worry.

• Birds are not consumed with things.


We might say, birds just live the life they are suppose to.  Why? They are provided for.


When I was young, I had a book that identifies birds of many types.  You and I might call a sparrow a sparrow, but according to this book they mention some 17 species of sparrows.


Suppose I went sparrow watching and from the information and pictures in this book, I determined that I was looking at a sharp tailed sparrow or a vesper sparrow, would I have any reason to doubt it?  It would seem foolish to deny the facts in the book that shows and tells that I am actually looking at a vesper sparrow.  They may both be part of the sparrow species, but they are enough different to tell them apart.


Unlike the book about birds, the book I hold in my hand is the Bible and it states that, like a bird, God cares for me and therefore I can trust Him no matter what.  I have no reason to worry or doubt it.


In Job 38, we find God really putting Job on the spot with a long list of question.


                   •        Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? (vs. 4)

                   •        Have you walked upon the recesses of the deep? (vs. 16)

                   •        Do you fully understand the expanse of the earth? (vs. 18)

                   •        Do you know where light dwells? (vs. 19)

                   •        Does the rain have a father? (vs. 28)

                   •        Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons (vs. 32)

                   •        Do the lightning bolts report to you? (vs. 35)


The answer to each question is not verbally given, but it is implied that God, Himself, is the answer.


And in the very last verse (vs. 41), God addresses birds by asking: “Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God” (NIV).  Again, the answer is not specifically given here but it is given in  Psalm 147:9 (NAU).  He gives to the beast its food, {and} to the young ravens which cry.


God provides nourishment for the raven.  If God takes care of such a relatively insignificant creatures as birds, how much more will He take care of those who are created in his image and who have become His children through faith.


Luke 12:6-7 (NKJV)

6  Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God.

7  "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.


Here is the bottom line … God cares and provides for us. The book says so!  So why should I doubt it with worry and anxiety as if He doesn't?


In 1 Kings 17:1-7 we find Elijah having prayed for a drought over the whole land of Israel.  And now, he, along with the entire nation, had to live through it.  But Elijah, the man of God, is not left to his own resources.  No, God sends birds (ravens) to feed him.  Here’s what I draw from this story.  In the driest times of my life, God is still caring and providing for me.


The point that Jesus is making is not that the birds do not work.  It has been said that none works harder than the average sparrow to make a living.  The point He is making is that they do not worry.  There is none among them straining to see the future – like there is among mankind.


Some of you have heard this poem.


Said the robin to the sparrow:

   ‘I would really like to know,

Why these anxious human beings

   Rush about and worry so.’


Said the sparrow to the robin:

   ‘Friend, I think that it must be

That they have no heavenly Father,

   Such as cares for you and me.’


We can learn a lot from that convicting poem.  Birds are not created in the Image of God (Gen 1:27).  Nor have they been recreated in the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).  Birds do not have the right to be called Children of God (John 1:12).  Birds are not joint-heirs with Christ throughout all eternity (Romans 8;17).  Birds are not seated with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).  And birds do not have a place prepared for them in heaven (John 14:1-3).


Let’s not be put to shame by sparrows and robins.  Surely we can trust God as much as they do.  If God gives and sustains life for birds, will He not take care of us who are His children to whom He has given all his good promises.

Philippians 4:6-7  (NKJV)


Peter tells us we can cast our cares upon God because God cares for us.  Trust God!  Here's a good place to start … look at the birds!


2      The Flowers of the Field


The second illustration given by Christ on the uselessness of worry is found in verse 28.


Matthew 6:28-29 NKJV


28     So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;

29     and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.


While there are a number of shrubs, trees and vines that have blossoms, there are only three flowers given by name in the Bible.  One of them is mentioned in this verse.  Curiously, all three are mentioned in the Song of Solomon.  They are: Rose, Lily, and Henna (some translations render this flower as Camphire).


Notice that Jesus uses two very common, ordinary necessities of life – food and clothes -- as illustration about worry.  Like He did with the birds, Jesus point to their surroundings -- this time to flowers that were in abundance in the fields and on the hillsides of Galilee.


Those beautiful decorations of nature make no effort to grow and had no part in designing or coloring themselves.  Even the naked eye can see much of the amazing detail, shading, and coloring of a flower.  Under a microscope it shows itself to be even more marvelous and intricate.  Yet, He goes on to say that the splendid and regal robes of Solomon the King was no match to the beauty with which He clothes these flowers.  And yet, anyone hearing him could have freely picked dozens of these flowers.


Despite their beauty, however, flowers do not last long, as we are told in verse 30.  Along with the grass of the field, they are alive today and tomorrow they are thrown into the furnace.  KLIBANOS (furnace), the Greek word translated furnace, is better translated “oven.”  Such ovens were made of hardened clay and were used primarily for baking bread.


When a person wanted to hurry the baking process, they would use dried grass and flowers gathered from nearby fields.  When these dried plants were thrown in the oven, there would be an almost instantaneous increase in temperature because they would burn very quickly.  Jesus said that after their brief beautiful existence, this was their only beneficial use.


But if God bothers to array the fields with beautiful but short-lived flowers, how much more is He concerned to clothe and care for His very own children who are destined, not for a short life, but eternal life.


At the end of his illustration, Jesus says it shows little faith, even when we worry about thing which we need to survive.  You might find it interesting, as indeed I did, to note that Jesus used the phrase “O ye of little faith” four time.  And each time He did, it was also in relation to worry about food, clothing, or life span. (See Matt. 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28)


The “A Fortiory” Argument


To drive home his point on the fact that it is a waste of our time to worry, Jesus gives us a number of real-life illustration and examples.


Before we get into these illustration, we need to catch into our heart a thought Jesus weaves through the fabric of this sermon.  You see the color of this thread come to the surface on at least three occasions.  To capture the full picture of this tapestry, we need to re-read the entire passage.


Matthew 6:25-31 NKJV


25     Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

26     Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27     Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28     "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;

29     and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30     Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31     "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'


On three occasions, Jesus emphasizes what worth he places on each of us.  He says, aren’t you greater by far than these things that do NOT worry, yet are provided for.


In the field of apologetics, or the laws of logic, this is called an A FORTIORI argument.  Fortiori is a Latin phrase meaning, with stronger reason.  In a system of debate or that of logic, it takes an accepted fact and by comparison produces another inescapable fact.


An a fortiori argument comes into play when comparing a greater with a lesser.  It asks the question, “If that greater thing can happen, how much more will a lesser thing happen also.”  “If that, how much more this.”


You may not know the terminology that goes with such an argument, but I am sure you are aware of the Scriptural passages giving example of such an argument.  For instance, take Romans 8:32 NKJV


32     He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?


The argument is this – if God gave up his own Son for us, won’t He also give us those things that are lesser gifts?


Matthew 7:11 NKJV


11     If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!


Can’t the Father (Who is greater) give good gift if we (the lesser) are able to give good gifts, even though we have an evil nature?


Matthew 10:28-31 NKJV


28     And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

29     Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.

30     But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31     Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.


Jesus argues from the lesser (birds)_ to the greater (men).  He predicated that God is sovereign over the lives of birds, which can be bought for a penny.  Since this is true, will He not much more guide and direct the lives of men and women, who are made in the image of God?


I am reminded of a story that illustrates this argument.  A young man had been raised in a rural, farming community.  He went off to college and got a job in the city, but after a few decades had the urge to return to his roots.


He drove back to the rural community and actually found some of the old farms still being cared for by people he had grown up with as a child.  Somewhere in the conversation, someone asked how he was able to find them, since all the roads and landmarks had changed since he was a boy.  He said, “Well, I actually found the old roads and followed them around.  You remember that old bridge made of big logs and heavy timbers where we used to go fishing?  I came through there.”  To which his old acquaintance said, “I’d be careful about that bridge.  I don’t know how safe it is anymore.”  Over the next few weeks he went out to visit these same friends, using the same old road only this time, the bridge did seem to creak a little too loudly as he drove over it and every time he went that way he became a little more fearful of the bridge’s safety.


One day he decided to stop the car, climb down the embankment, and inspect the timbers.  He was only down under the bridge a few moments when he heard the loudest racket he had ever heard over his head.  He quickly climbed up the bank to the road, just in time to see a fully loaded logging truck heading down the road on the other side of the bridge.


Most assuredly he did not say to himself, “I just witnessed an A FORTIORI moment.”  But I am quite sure that he ceased his inspection, and exclaimed, “If this bridge can hold that loaded logging truck, how much more will it also hold me in my little car.”


The same argument is being presented in Matthew 6, and He emphasizes the point by mentioning it three times.  In verse 25 He begins by pointing out that God gave us life and if he gave us life, surely we can trust him for the ingredients of life.  Surely we can trust him to give us the food to sustain that life.


If God gave us bodies, surely we can trust him for raiment to clothe these bodies.  If God is able to give us a priceless gift,……surely we can trust him for things less costly.