A Wandering Bird
As a bird that wandereth from her nest,
so is a man that wandereth from his place.
1. This proverb makes one simple comparison: a man who wanders from his place is like a bird that wanders from her nest.
2. The illustration Solomon uses is one we have all seen many times.
3. The purpose of the proverb is to cause us to think about HOW this analogy is true.
4. In what way(s) is a wandering man like a wandering bird?
A man that wandereth from his place.
1. The term Solomon uses for “man” here can refer to a man or a male. But it can also refer to “whosoever” – “anyone.”
2. It is best understood is a general sense here: anyone who wanders.
3. The “place” from which he wanders most likely refers to his home—especially in light of the fact that it is being compared to a bird’s nest.
4. Thus, in a very general sense, Solomon speaks here of “anyone” (man, woman; husband, wife, or child) who wanders from their home.
5. In order that the proverb has maximum application, Solomon does not add the particulars.
a. We are not told why he wandered.
b. We are not told where he wandered.
c. We are not told when he wandered.
d. We are not told what he was looking for.
e. Thus, the proverb can be applied in all kinds of settings.
6. A husband or wife might wander from their nest because they are unhappy in their marriage.
a. They might be looking for someone else.
b. They might be looking for a way to escape.
c. Sometimes men don’t want to go home after work, so they head to the barroom.
d. Sometimes unhappy spouses meet other unhappy spouses in their wanderings.
e. Nothing good comes from that kind of wandering.
7. A young person might wander from their home.
a. Perhaps they are tired of the rules or they want more freedom.
b. Perhaps they think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
8. Wander: To flee; depart; to escape; to take flight; to wander; travel in a more or less random manner.
a. Solomon pictures someone not just leaving home, but it appears to be wandering about.
b. Wandering implies a certain amount of restlessness.
c. It speaks of a lack of clear direction.
d. Wandering implies a lack of discipline.
e. It implies a lack of forethought. It was not well thought out; not well planned.
f. It could have been after a fight—without thinking it through.
g. It could have been on a whim—without thinking it through.
h. It could have been to escape unpleasant circumstances at home—without realizing that the grass is NOT always greener on the other side of the fence.
i. It is possible to wander out of the frying pan and end up in the fire.
j. Those who wander about usually don’t even know what they want. They don’t know what they are looking for.
k. All they want is a change. They are restless, impatient, and ready for a change. They have grown tired of the same old same old.
l. They may feel imprisoned and want freedom.
m. There may be an inward desire for something new… anything new…
n. This proverb speaks to that inward sense of restlessness… a desire to wander… It speaks to a lack of roots and stability.
As a bird that wandereth from her nest…
1. Anyone who wanders from their place (home) is like a bird who wanders from her nest.
a. The analogy is simple to understand.
b. But in what WAY is a wandering man like a wandering bird?
c. Solomon observed animals just as he observed human beings.
d. He must have seen birds wandering about often. He thought about their wanderings too.
2. Wandering birds appear to be aimless.
a. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to their actions.
b. They flit from one branch to the next. They never seem to stay in one place for any length of time.
c. The restless spirit described in this proverb results in a LIFE that is aimless… wandering about… never satisfied… always looking for something else…
d. Some believers are like wandering birds in their church membership. They wander from place to place and never settle down anywhere… they never commit themselves to one assembly… they don’t become members… they never lay any roots… they want to be free from commitment.
e. This is a very unhealthy heart attitude. That road leads nowhere—like a wandering bird.
f. The restless, aimless, wandering heart attitude is dangerous on many different levels.
3. Wandering birds are exposed to more danger.
a. A bird is much safer in his nest.
b. Jer. 48:28 states that some birds made their nests in the cleft of the rock… a place of safety.
c. But when the bird is out in the open, flying about, it is vulnerable and exposed to predators.
d. When men run away from marital problems and wander from place to place, they too are exposed to dangers.
e. There is the danger of adultery… the danger of ruining your family… the danger of damaging your children…
f. There is a danger of being devoured by our adversary the devil.
4. Wandering birds sometimes are snared by traps.
a. Prov. 7:21-23 – Here Solomon speaks of a man going after a harlot.
b. Note that he likens this man to a bird who wanders into a snare – a trap. Wandering birds stand the chance of being trapped.
c. So too wandering men stand the chance of falling into the trap of adultery… and a whole ungodly lifestyle that goes along with it.
d. Traps are real. And there are lots of different kinds of traps.
e. Our adversary is clever. Wandering is dangerous—that’s the point of this proverb.
f. Rather than wandering because of a restless heart and marital problems, DEAL with that restless heart!
g. Matt. 11:28-29 – Come to the Lord and He provides REST for your soul. He is also the Wonderful Counselor! He can restore relationships.
h. Wandering about is not the solution to the problem. It only exacerbates the problem.
5. Wandering birds are unaware of what’s going on in their nest.
a. The bird that continually wanders from place to place is neglecting the nest.
b. The young ones suffer as a result.
c. Parents that are away from the nest too often—wandering from place to place—run the danger of neglecting the little ones.
d. The nest needs to be attended to. To care for the needs of the home you have to BE there.
e. “A child left to himself bringeth his mother (or father – added) to shame.” (Prov. 29:15)
f. Parents who wander from their nest and neglect the home life do so to the detriment of their children. It will come back to bite you some day.
6. Wandering birds often forget how comfortable their nest was.
a. The one who wanders may be restless and agitated with conditions at home, but he may not realize how well off he had it there!
b. Prov. 21:16 – “The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.”
• The man who wanders out of a good place could end up in a place much worse! (The congregation of the dead!)
• There was a little boy who wandered away from his home in Hampstead a month ago—and evidently had a habit of doing so.
• His wandering turned out ok. He was found. But it could easily have had a very unhappy ending.
• Wandering doesn’t always lead to a good place.
c. Wandering from the home is an especially bad idea.
d. God instituted the home, and even with all of its difficulties, it is still far better than wandering.
e. Some men just don’t like being at home. They can’t handle the problems. Thus, they turn to the barroom. Or they become workaholics. Or they busy themselves in 1001 activities that keep them away.
f. Solomon’s point is that this is an unhealthy attitude.
7. The “nest” is a place of safety and security for all in the nest.
a. The home was designed for the good of the entire family.
b. Wandering away from God’s institution has consequences.
c. There is something to be said for the man who learns his “place.”
• God has placed us all in our “place.”
• In our home – we have a place.
• In our local church – we have a place. “God has set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased Him.” (I Cor. 12:18)
• In our job we have a place. In our community we have a place.
• The desires of our hearts are not satisfied by restless wandering—constantly looking for a better “place.”
• The desires of our hearts are satisfied by resting in and blooming where God has planted us.
• The plant that is constantly uprooted and transplanted does not bear much fruit. It needs to settle down and develop roots.
• A change of circumstances or a change of environment does not solve problems. But a change of heart does!