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Friday, February 13 2015

Psalm 84: What Were Sparrows Doing In The Temple?

"Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young ... Blessed are they that dwell in Thy House: they will be still praising Thee"

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply" (Genesis 1:28 KJV) is a well-known blessing that was spoken to the first humans (see The Thinker From The Soil). It was however also spoken to the other living creatures of the LORD's Creation even before humans existed. "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply" was spoken first to birds and sea creatures - including, as we will read, to sparrows (see also By Him Were All Things Created and What Makes Physical Life Possible?).

Asian Sparrows

"1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day." (Genesis 1:20-23 KJV)

Unlike many humans, the other creatures of the LORD's Creation are not foolish or arrogant atheists (see The Only Place That Denies God's Existence; also What Prophecy Do Atheists Fulfill For Themselves?). They know the LORD.

"12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 12:8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

12:9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? 12:10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:7-10 KJV)

Sparrows (in Hebrew tsip-pore, meaning to hop) are classified among the "clean" birds because they are primarily seed eaters who do not eat disease-carrying creatures or carrion (the primary purpose of "unclean" birds, such as vultures and owls, is to cleanse nature from rodents and dead animals; see the Fact Finder question below to understand the LORD's health rules about "clean" and "unclean").

"11:13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, 11:14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; 11:15 Every raven after his kind; 11:16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, 11:17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, 11:18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, 11:19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat." (Leviticus 11:13-19 KJV)

"Unclean" birds were kept out of homes and towns, while "clean" birds, such as sparrows, were welcomed.

"102:6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.

102:7 I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top." (Psalm 102:6-7 KJV)

Asaph was a Levite (see The Songs Of Asaph) who was given to serve at the Temple after it was constructed by Solomon (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Temple; see also What Did John The Baptist's Father Do At The Temple?). While "unclean" birds kept their place in the wilderness, "clean" birds such as sparrows were permitted to live and nest in the Temple of the LORD ("the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself"). There, Asaph not only saw them, but heard them singing joyfully in worship of their Creator.

"84:1 To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

84:3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. 84:4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

84:5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. 84:6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. 84:7 They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

84:8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. 84:9 Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.

84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

84:12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee." (Psalm 84:1-12 KJV)

Fact Finder: How is it that the LORD's "clean" and "unclean" laws are about everyone's health?
See What Makes Creatures Clean or Unclean?


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This Day In History, February 13

1462: The Treaty of Westminster was completed between Edward IV of England and the Scottish Lord of the Isles.

1542: Catherine Howard, the 5th wife of Henry VIII, was beheaded for alleged adultery.

1575: Henry III of France was crowned at Rheims.

Galileo 1633: Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for trial before the Inquisition. In 1992, the Vatican acknowledged that the excommunicated Italian astronomer had been right in saying that the earth orbits around the sun, not vice versa as the Church of Rome had earlier taught - a mistake that the leaders of the Church of Rome might not have made if they had based their beliefs on the Word of God e.g. see No 'Flat Earth' In The Bible (see also What Are The Hunter and The Seven Sisters Doing In Heaven? and The Maker Of Mystic Mountain).

1668: Spain recognized the independence of Portugal under the Treaty of Lisbon.

1689: William of Orange and his wife Mary, daughter of the deposed James II, were declared joint sovereigns of Great Britain and Ireland.

1689: The British Parliament adopted the Bill of Rights.

1759: At a session of the Nova Scotia legislature in Canada, the first vote by secret ballot in the British Empire was held.

1788: In Britain, the trial of Warren Hastings began. Governor-general of India, he was charged with "high crimes and misdemeanors" in a case which took 7 years to complete.

1793: Britain, Prussia, Austria, Holland, Spain and Sardinia formed an alliance against France.

1858: Sir Richard Burton and Captain John Speke became the first (known) Europeans to discover Lake Tanganyika in East Africa.

1895: The Lumiere brothers were granted a patent in France for their machine "to film and view chronophotographic proofs" - one of the earliest projectors.

1909: The "Young Turk" revolution gathered added momentum when the Grand Vizier (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate and listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) was overthrown in Constantinople.

1927: Brooks Adams died at age 79. The U.S. historian (and grandson of President John Quincy Adams) developed the correct theory that "by its nature and substance, U.S. democracy was foreordained to degradation and decay."

1945: The Royal Air Force Bomber Command devastated the German city of Dresden with night missions by 873 heavy British and Canadian bombers. The attacks were followed by 521 U.S. heavy bombers flying daylight missions.

1955: Israel took possession of 4 of the Dead Sea scrolls (listen to our Sermon The Dead Sea Scrolls).

1960: France became the fourth country to possess nuclear weapons.

1961: A supposed 500,000-year-old rock, discovered near Olancha, California, was found to have a modern-day spark plug encased within it. It became known as the Coso Artifact.

1974: Author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1970, was deported from the Soviet Union and deprived of Soviet citizenship.

1984: Konstantin Chernenko succeeded Yuri Andropov as General Secretary of the then-declining Communist Party of the Soviet Union (the Soviet Union itself was by then soon to cease to exist).

1990: An agreement was reached to reunite Germany, again (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

2012: The European Space Agency (ESA) made the first launch of its Vega rocket from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.



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