By: Sarah Bishop

Posted: June 17, 2023

Category: Daily Devotional

Zephaniah 2:13-15

“ 13And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and he will make Nineveh a desolation, a dry waste like the desert. 14Herds shall lie down in it, every wild animal; the desert owl and the screech owl shall lodge on its capitals; the owl shall hoot at the window, the raven croak on the threshold; for its cedar work will be laid bare. 15Is this the exultant city that lived secure, that said to itself, “I am, and there is no one else”? What a desolation it has become, a lair for wild animals! Everyone who passes by it hisses and shakes the fist.”

It’s rare in this day and age to be able to step outside at night in total darkness and silence. When we do have those opportunities to be so, the shadow of an owl’s wings or the echoing of their hoots are a startling reminder of the wildness of nature. As today, scientists have identified over 200 species of owls in the world, the presence of at least three species in this desolation reminds the listeners just how baren it will be, indeed. Zephaniah, one of the lesser prophets, speaks of doom for the land of Judah for forsaking God, but also for other nations emphasizing that God is in control. Even in lands thought to be lush and fertile will not always be so, as God reverses fortunes. While owls may be signs of desolation and emptiness in Biblical times, I am reminded in today’s world they are invaluable to keeping mice and rats in check. This is one wild animal I am excited to see at night.


Creator God, of both light and darkness, we see your beauty in the silence and wildness and also in the order and light of your reconciling love for us. May we continue to deepen our commitment to you and live in renewed discipleship of our Lord, Amen.