The Screeching Owl
Psalm 102: 1-28
Text verse 6:
I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.
Never in all my years in the ministry have I heard or even read a sermon that was preached on the owl.
And yet the Scriptures contain a powerful message concerning the owl for us.
When we mention the owl - we immediately associate the owl with Wisdom -
In fact it is the symbol of something Wise -
The owl is often used to portray a Teacher or some other learned person like a Professor.
The Bible - the KJV which I use - mentions the “owl” some 8 times and the word “owls” 6 times.
The picture of the owl in Scripture is that of an unclean bird and is used in the Scripture to
portray loneliness, ruin, desolation, sadness and of mourning.
Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked:
I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.
The first mention the the owl is found in:
And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl.
This is part of the list of unclean birds and animals.
The book Die Bybel Verklaar (The Bible Declares) says that the owl may have
been considered unclean as a result of the state and the vile stench of its nest.
Before I continue, I feel compelled to ask:
What is the state of your home and your personal life ?
There is a Scripture that is of great concern to me.
Song of Solomon 1:6
.......... they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
We need to remember:
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
Don’t be like the owl - with its vile smelly nest.
Be a Joshua and say:
......... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
THE NIGHT MONSTER
But the verse of Scripture mentioning the owl which spoke the most to me is found in:
The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island,
and the satyr shall cry to his fellow;
the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.
But Pastor there is nothing special in this verse.
That’s what I thought until I compared the translation of this verse with the New American Standard Version Bible.
Lets read it again but in the NASV
Isaiah 34: 14
And in the desert creatures shall meet with the wolves, The hairy goat also shall cry to its kind;
Yes, the night monster shall settle here and find herself a resting place.
The screech owl is called the night monster in the NASV. Refering back to the KJV I now noticed
something I had previously missed, the margin reading states that the screech owl could also be
translated as the night monster.
And then I understood, the screech owl is a picture of that night monster that afflicts us all from time to time !
The owl is a nocturnal bird and therefore it is not surprising that the Bible should refer to it as the
Night Monster - the screeching owl.
But Friend listen to:
But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he
shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.
The Hebrew word translated owl in this verse of Scripture, I have been told means:
Hisser - to blow or to hiss !
It is interesting to note that the Wycliffe Bible Encyclopaedia saying that this is because of the
snoring or panting sound which it makes when breathing.
Indeed it is the screeching owl - the night monster !
That snoring which keeps one tossing and turning at night is indeed caused by the night monster !
Some have even said that the hooting of the owl sounds like a deep moaning sound !
Has the hissing, moaning, snoring of the screeching owl - the night monster kept you awake at night ?
Pity the poor parents of the owl - a young owl can devour 6 mice at one time.
Perhaps it is your concern for your family that is causing the night monster’s
- that screeching owl’s - hissing tokeep you awake at night.
Tossing and turning because you don’t know where the finances are
coming from for your most basic daily needs.
Listen to the words of Jesus:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
We need to remember the words of David:
I have been young, and now am old;
yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
Has the hissing, moaning, snoring of the screeching owl - the night monster kept you
awake at night with worry about that sickness in your body?
If so you need to remember:
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that
which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes,
I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians:
for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
Has the hissing, moaning, snoring of the screeching owl
- the night monster kept you awake at night -
because of a guilty conscience?
Listen what John writes in his epistle:
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Perhaps, you are feeling like Job:
I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
Our Text verse reminds us that the owl dwells in the desert.
The Psalmist in his lonely affliction felt like a little owl of the desolated places.
It is not therefore surprising to learn that the Arabic name for the owl mentioned in our text
verse means “the mother of ruins” !
Has the hissing, moaning, snoring of the screeching owl - the night monster kept you awake at night
- because you have felt that your life is in “ruins” and everything around you is “desolate” !
You find yourself alone in the wilderness of despair.
Friend, there is hope because of the promises of the Lord contained in the Word of God:
........... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
1 John 4:4
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he
that is in the world.
And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
The Zulu people in South Africa believe that the owl is a bird of ill omen and connected with
witchcraft and the evil one and because of this belief they will drive an owl away.
You too need to drive the screeching owl - that night monster away by turning to the Lord, by
trusting Him for you every need, by standing on His promises and by walking in His way !
THE LITTLE OWL
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopaedia tells us that the Little Owl mentioned in our Text verse is the
most common owl in all Israel and that it dwells amongst the ruins, tombstones, rocks and
thickets. But even more interesting it says that its voice sounds like that of a dying person.
An old Afrikaans superstition taught that whenever one saw an owl on a rooftop,
that it was an omen that one could expect a death in that house.
Friends, the Screeching owl with “the voice of a dying person”, reminds us of the Scripture:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Friend, where will you spend eternity ?
Jesus told His disciples:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also.
But a few moments later He added these words:
Jesus saith unto him, (Thomas)
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Friend, have you committed your life to Him and are you walking in HIS way ?
Only by turning to Jesus, can you be sure of your Eternal life !
Pastor CSJ Claassen
PO Box 99
9460 SOUTH AFRICA
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