A Bird Always in Flight

Proverbs 26:2
“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.”

The small bird, known as the chimney swift, is unmatched in its flying ability. These little birds are so adapted to the air that they have only small, weak feet that do not permit them to walk or perch like other birds. In fact, their Latin name even means “without feet.”

Several chimney swifts inside a chimneyWhen swifts do come to rest, they do so against a vertical surface like a wall. They are often found resting inside the protection of chimneys, which led to their English name, chimney swift. A large flock of swifts may sight a chimney and begin circling it in smaller and smaller circles. Finally, the birds closest to the chimney enter it, followed by the rest. One person reported seeing a flock of 10,000 swifts enter one chimney over a period of 37 minutes!
When David was cursed by Shimei, he realized that the curse would be of no effect because he was innocent of murdering members of Saul’s family. In Proverbs 26:2, his son, Solomon, compares unjust curses to a bird which never lands, meaning that when people speak evil of us, or curse us, if what they say is untrue or unjust, their words will have no effect. It is God’s wisdom to think of unjust things that are said about us as being like the swift, always in flight and never landing upon us.

Dear Lord, when people speak evil of me or wish the worst for me and their feelings are not justified, help me to remember that You are all the comfort I need. And when I really do offend someone, give me a repentant heart. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Tom Malone, “Swifts are masters of the air but nearly helpless on ground,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sunday/June 4/1989/3E. Photo: Several chimney swifts inside a chimney in Perryville, Missouri. Courtesy of Greg Schechter. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.