This afternoon my daughter and I spied a hawk as we were pulling in our driveway. It's not everyday that you see a hawk in the city so I quickly grabbed my camera out of my purse. It wasn't until I got inside the house and looked at my shots up close did I realize that he had just made a kill.
This crow had apparently been harassing him. Nevermore...
My daughter and I saw the hawk a little while later soaring above our street. What a wonderful sight.
This whole experience prompted me to look up what the Bible says about hawks. Although God created hundreds of different species of modern birds, hawks are one of the few specifically mentioned in the Bible.
"Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread it wings toward the south?" Job 39:26
This verse sounds a little odd until you put it into context. The person speaking here is God. He is in the middle of asking Job a series of questions. He uses a variety of examples from nature to illustrate his superior power and wisdom over humanity's power and wisdom. In this verse, God is sarcastically asking Job, "Look who's so smart! You think you have all the answers? Are you smart enough to create a flying creature? I didn't think so..."
I have to admit, however, I haven't paid much attention before to the second part of the verse: "it spreads its wings toward the south." "What does this mean?" I wondered.
I did a little research. Apparently, some North American hawks fly south for the winter. But I wasn't convinced that's what this verse was referring to. Keep in mind, the Bible isn't written from a 21st century North American point of view. My question was, what do hawks in Israel or Mesopotamia do (since that would have been the original context of the verse)? It took some digging, but I do think that hawks in Israel migrate south in the winter. So my hunch is that's what this verse is talking about. Going south in the fall/winter also helps to facilitate the bird's molting (shedding) of its feathers so a new set can grow in the spring.
Next time you look up into the sky and see a hawk soaring above you, remember the lesson of the hawk. He is a reminder of the wisdom and power of God. Even on our best day as humans, we fall short in our wisdom to replicate the beauty of God's creation.