Early yesterday morning Shep and I stepped out into the backyard and were startled by sight and sounds of a large flock of small birds flying around the side of our house. As my Australian Shepherd ran toward the backdoor, I turned the corner to see what was causing the commotion.
A single mockingbird was chasing dozens of cedar waxwings out of his shrubbery. We look forward to these congenial birds migrating across our area each spring, eating the remains of winter berries and our crabapples. The resident mockingbird would not have these intruders taking over his territory, and I was amazed to watch him challenge the invading army as they kept assembling in the treetops to escape his aggression.
That old mockingbird was fearless in his determination. They used their strength in numbers, but I didn’t see them behave aggressively in response. They just made a lot of racket.
My photos don’t show the colorful yellow band at the end of their flat tails or the red tip of their wings. You can barely see the crest on top of their heads. We appreciate the clean-up work these beautiful guests do in their brief visits. It is impressive to see a huge flock cover our crabapple tree and quickly strip it of fruit.
My scaredy-cat dog begged me to take him back in the house, so I didn’t get to see how that battle ended.
My husband and I recently wondered when the waxwings might return. I think they were a little behind schedule this year.
Later, I started thinking about the mockingbird and feeling sorry for him. We’re very familiar with him and his family business in the front yard. My husband calls out to him and feeds him peanuts on the front porch railing. It may be a “her.” I don’t know. There could be a nest in the front shrubbery, so that bird was just protecting his interests. It’s typical behavior, since we watch him do that with other birds that he considers a threat, but I’ve never seen him exhibit that kind of nerve against a huge flock.
I’ve heard kids on the playground stand up to a challenge by saying, “Oh yeah? You and what army?” They know full well they won’t have to face an army as our mockingbird did.
It reminds me of a verse from the Apostle John.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. –I John 4:4
David stood up to the giant Goliath. Paul faced a theater-full of Ephesian men opposing him.
As Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12, our battles are not usually against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers.
But John’s words are potent. We have been commissioned to serve our King with His authority. He has sealed us with His spirit and empowered us to be overcomers. Knowing that, we can walk in confidence.
It’s a good thing I don’t know how many of those spiritual forces I face daily. I want to think none. But the enemies of our soul are the world, the flesh, and the devil. We can’t afford to let our guard down.
Once again, John speaks to this later in the same epistle.
4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? -I John 5: 4-5
Even later, in his last book, as revealed to Him by the Lord Himself, John says,
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. –Revelation 12:11
We can stand up to the world, the flesh, and the devil with confidence in our blood-bought authority and the truth of the Word of God. No matter what, He is faithful. He, by His Spirit, that is within us is much, much greater than he that is in the world.
David expressed his courage and confidence in Psalm 18.
29 For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. 30 This God–his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. –Psalm 18:29-30
I think that mockingbird was willing to fight to the death. I saw his courage yesterday morning, and he seemed to think he was up to the challenge. All I know is, the cedar waxwings are gone today, and he is still here.
Our bird is an excellent example of an overcomer.