“I will… moan like an owl.” Micah 1:8
Some birding friends had seen two Northern Saw-whet Owls at a park fifty miles from my home. Since that would be a life bird for me, my friend and I made arrangements to go see the birds on a cold Saturday morning in January. After arriving at the park we spent a half hour carefully searching the grove of pines where the owls had been roosting. We finally found one of the little saw-whet owls perched in the dense cover of a small pine tree. The owl was not at all afraid of us, and we were able to take close-up photographs without causing it any apparent distress. The owl let us approach so closely I think I could have reached up and plucked it off its branch with no difficulty. Northern Saw-whet Owls are the smallest owls found in the eastern United States. They are strictly nocturnal, but can be seen roosting in dense conifers during daylight hours. This owl gets its name from the sound it makes. The early lumberjacks in the north woods heard the owl’s call and were reminded of the noise that is made when a saw blade is sharpened with a whetstone. These owls also make a long series of single “toots” that are repeated almost endlessly late at night.
In today’s Bible verse, Micah gives his reaction to the prophecy he was given by God: “Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl” (Micah 1:8). Micah was greatly distressed by the judgment he saw coming because of the sin of the people of Israel. How many of us are so distressed over the sin in the world today that we cry and moan like wild animals? Sometimes the ways of the world seem so hopeless that we become desensitized to the sin that is everywhere around us. Yet, there is hope. As Micah said of the remarkable love of God, “Who is a God like you, who pardons and forgives…?” (Micah 7:18). Receive God’s pardon and forgiveness today.
Father, give me the love and compassion that will lead me to moan and wail for the sins of the world. Amen.