Summary: This series is based loosely on the facts and stories found in the "Living Lent" sermon series written by Donald Neidigk.
Living Lent 2 – “The Hen Reveals a Grieving Savior”
**This series is based loosely on the facts and stories found in the "Living Lent" sermon series written by Donald Neidigk.**
We are at the half way point of Lent! Congratulations for making it this far. In fact, something we haven’t done in quite a while… turn to someone next to you and wish them a happy half way point. :) We are indeed in the season of Lent… that is the period before Easter where we focus on Christ and prepare for his passion and sacrifice on the cross. As a church, we are spending this time hearing from… of all things… animals to teach us lessons and help us learn more (or hear once again) about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So far, we heard from a fox on Ash Wednesday… we heard from a donkey… and we have heard from a dove. This week we will be learning a little something from a chicken.
Now, if I were to start out this morning calling you all chicken… would you take that as a compliment or as an insult? That’s interesting to me. Chickens are such useful creatures. We can make fine pillows with their feathers, they provide us with eggs… and their meat is a staple for us. So… switching gears just a tiny bit… let me ask you this question… are baby chicks cute or ugly. Now that’s more like it.
I’m wondering how many of you have ever seen baby chicks interact with a mother hen. If there is a loud sound or some inherent danger… you’ll see all of those little chicks go SCHWOOMPFF and tuck right under momma’s wing. It’s the best place in the world for a frightened chick. That’s something a few of us can relate to as well! What happens when a small child who is a little shy comes into a room that is full of people… SCHWOOMPFF right behind momma’s or dada’s leg. Now THAT is a place of safety. THAT is a place of comfort. Perhaps you can even remember that feeling… right here… in momma’s arms… in dada’s arms… nothing can harm me.
That is something powerful. We rarely ever feel that “safe” ever again after we grow up. Well… it shouldn’t be surprising that this imagery has not been missed by the Bible writers. They say, remember what it feels like to be in the arms of a parent… do you know what it is like for a mother hen and her chicks? It is like that with our Father in heaven. And this illustration of a mother hen and her chicks comes up more than a couple of times.
The first example comes to us from the Psalms. As a king, David was always threatened by war… by evil men… by plots against him… and he could have frozen with fear, but instead he writes words like these:
7 Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. 8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings 9 from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.
And God protected him. Despite the intrigues, despite an attempt to overthrow him by his son Absalom David finished out his reign as an old man, dying in his own bed.
God was faithful to David. God has forever been faithful to his people. No matter how many times they turned away from him… God was and will be forever faithful. Lets just take a quick jog through the history of the Old Testament to get an idea of God’s steadfastness.
In the book of Isaiah, the King of Assyria launched an attack on Israel and instead of turning to the Lord… they turned to the King of Assyria and asked him to be merciful. And they are conquered… and they were scattered from their homeland. Isaiah told them quite simply… that as soon as they stopped relying on their enemies to help them, and turned back to God, God would bring them back home. He would protect them. They'll live safely under his wings again.
And they did, and for a while everything was great again. Until the kingdom of Persia came and defeated them and they were scattered. The people cried out to the LORD for help, and finally under leaders like Ezra and Nehemiah… the people were allowed to return home again. And they lived happily ever after right?
It didn’t take long and the Israelites grew lax in their relationship with God. They took him for granted. They stopped tithing, they offered God their sick and lame animals instead of the prize animals for sacrifice… and immorality was on the rise. And Alexander the Great rode in and conquered the Israel nation. The kingdom of Judah was turned into a Greek colony. The temples were designated for pagan worship. The Jewish men were forced to behave and dress like the Greeks. The worship of the LORD was almost lost. And God’s people cried out to the LORD again. And Judas Maccabaeus was able to overthrow the Greek rule during the Maccabean revolt and never again would the Jewish people be tempted by paganism. So, everything should be great now right?