The Owl:  A Symbol of Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault,

and it will be given to him.  James 1:5

In the Bible, the owl is mentioned usually in connection with desolation foretold for nations and their proud cities.  Zephaniah prophesied that Nineveh would be left “utterly desolate and dry as the desert” (2:13) and that the call of the desert owl and the screech owl “will echo through the windows” (2:14).  Isaiah foretold of another doomed land, “The great owl and the raven will nest there” (34.11).  Because owls lived in the ruins and caves of desolate, forsaken places, the psalmist said when he was feeling alone and distressed, “I am…like an owl among the ruins” (Ps. 102:6).  In the Bible (for example, Micah 1:3-8) the owl is associated with God’s judgment on unbelief, because its haunting sound in the night can scare us.

We today picture the owl as solemnly wise, and human beings are told to take its wisdom to heart.  A much better source of wisdom is the Bible.  It has a body of sacred literature known as the “wisdom” books–Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon.  Such “wisdom” is more than learning; it includes understanding, spiritual insight, and discretion, which stem from one’s right relation to God and result in the right relation to others.  In Proverbs 1:7-8 we read, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge… Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

The highest wisdom is found in the Holy Scriptures, for, as St. Paul declares, they “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15)

So we need to increase our wisdom of God’s grace.  Jesus Christ became “for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).  In Him we have all we need.

Prayer Suggestion:  Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your wisdom, particularly the wisdom of putting full faith in Jesus Christ.

Excerpt from: Each Day With Jesus – Daily Devotions Through the Year by Rudolph F. Norden” –July 26