When You Feel Out of Place

Posted by Philip A. Schipper on Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Psalm 102:6,7 - I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.  I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.

Life has a way of bringing people to the place where they feel as if they cannot go on.  The writer here, is speaks as a patriot who is LAMENTING over the condition of his beloved homeland.  IT HAS AFFECTED HIM DEEPLY.  This is not some “little trial” or some “trivial problem”.  The condition of the nation of Israel has reduced him to an almost a skeletal condition.  He expresses the feeling that all his days result in “smoke” (v. 3) - they amount to nothing.  

He is so distraught and heartbroken that he is forgetting things that you don't have to work to remember.  Verse 4 tells us that his emotions are so greatly affected that he is forgetting to eat.  Eating is not something that generally needs to be scheduled - there is a prompter called “hunger” that reminds us to take some nourishment.  I may forget my name and the names of those in my family, but I probably will not have trouble remembering to eat.

He likens himself to 3 species of fowl - a pelican, an owl and a sparrow.  Two of these birds, the pelican and the owl, are unclean birds according to Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  The writer seems to indicate that he can relate to the feeling of being "unclean".  The child of God is constantly defiled living in this "present evil world".  Thanks be to God that He made provision for us to be cleansed by the "washing of water by the Word."  What I found interesting in this passage is the place where these birds were located.  

1. There will be times when we FEEL OUT OF PLACE - v. 6

A Pelican is a coastal sea bird.  It's dwelling place is typically piers and pilings.  Pelicans subsist upon fish as their food source.  But notice where this pelican is found - “of the wilderness".  There is no sea in sight.  This pelican is in an unfamiliar place. 

An Owl is a forest dwelling bird.  It is a predatory bird that flies and hunts at night.  It preys upon small rodents and other smaller mammals as its food source.  But notice again where this owl is found - “of the desert”.   There is no tree in sight. It has no where to roost and no place to hunt.  This owl is in an unfamiliar place.  

Both of these birds, if they are going to be nourished, are going to have to rely on their CREATOR to do so, because the place in which they find themselves is not conducive to their diet.  

We, as these birds, often find ourselves in an unfamiliar place.  For the Believer, this world is NOT OUR HOME.  Oh how we ought to thank God for sending us some food from HOME - the WORD of God!

2. There will be times when we FEEL OUT OF TOUCH - v. 7

I would like to make several observations about this sparrow.  It is alone.  Sparrows most always are seen in flocks and have a mate for life.  This sparrow is ALONE.  Their mate is gone.  Their friends are gone.  Perhaps its mate has died. The joyous song of the sparrow has been replaced by a mournful sound.  It is possible that its song has been silenced altogether.  LONELINESS now characterizes its life.  

Notice too that it is upon the housetop.  Sparrows are most often observed close to the ground.  They are vulnerable to predators, but with large numbers of them together, there is safety.  This solitary sparrow is WATCHING from the housetop.  

There are times when God isolates us and takes us to a place where we see things from a different perspective. God lets us see things that few ever notice.  This usually comes in a time when we feel all alone.  When we have been hurt and feel like no one cares, it is then that God burdens us to pray for the one who has been the source of that hurt.  Those times are not afforded to us so that we might criticize, but that we might pray and intercede - verse 17.    

So few are willing to pay the price so that others might know the blessings of God.  Are you willing to give prayer a "higher place" in your life?  It may mean that you feel out of touch with people.

3. There will NEVER be a time when we are OUT OF REACH - v. 12, 19, 20

What joy to know that He remembers us!  He hears our groaning, that mournful sound when words fail us.  
The writer finds his strength not in the state of his condition, but in the steadfastness of his Creator.  He found his solace in WHO GOD IS.  In the words of the noted evangelist and missionary, George Muller - "If the Lord fails me at this time, it will be the first time."


Tags: pelican owl sparrow