“In order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.” Nehemiah 5:2
Millions of Bobolinks feasted on rice crops in the southeastern United States in the nineteenth century. Today’s verse could be either a statement made by the southeastern rice growers, or the cry of the Bobolinks that feasted on their rice during the southward migration. The farmers slaughtered the birds by the thousands, fearing for their crops. The birds were a delicacy of the time, sold as “reed birds” or “butter birds” and served skewered on a stick.
Today, the Bobolink is protected and no longer an item on dinner menus. Seed and grain are still a staple food during migration and during the winter months spent in Argentina. However, insects form a larger part of their diet on the breeding grounds in the northern United States and southern Canada where they nest in meadows and hayfields. They are in fact, quite useful to farmers in eliminating insects that damage crops. The population of this bird is seriously affected by early harvest of hay crops and by modern mowing and raking equipment that mean death to many young birds. They are also susceptible to chemicals and pesticides in South America where they are still sometimes killed as agricultural pests. The Bobolink is named for the male’s song that continuously bubbles from the bird’s throat. The male, with its light yellow head, white back and black underside, is one of very few birds that is light colored on top and dark underneath.
Today’s verse tells of a cry for help during a time of famine. The people pleaded, “In order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.” God heard the cry of the people in the Book of Nehemiah, and He will also hear our cries for help. In Philippians 4:19, Paul states that, “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Let us believe His promises and trust Him to provide for all our needs.