The Bat


Michael Durham, Getty Images

“And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture … and the bat.” Leviticus 11:13-19 


Today bats are classified among mammals, because they give birth to live young and feed them on milk, but in those days God wanted the Israelites to see them as unclean. People could easily recognize this winged beast, and were clearly told to avoid it.  It is also good for us today to be radical, and loathe everything which God considers evil. 

Bats bite, and can spread serious illnesses, especially rabies. That is a terrible disease, which is often fatal. But isn’t the worst sickness of all actually sin, which destroys soul and body? It is written in Sirach 21:2 - “Flee from sin as from a snake; if you approach sin, it will bite you. Its teeth are lion’s teeth, and destroy the souls of men.” 

There is a story about a long battle between the beasts and the birds. Sometimes it was the beasts that were winning, and sometimes the birds. The bat always fought on the side that appeared to be doing best in the moment, and changed sides when things looked bad. Finally neither side wanted the bat, because they couldn’t trust it. 

We are warned against this double-mindedness (James 4:8). David wrote in Psalm 119:113 – “I hate the double-minded, but I love Your law.” We have the tendency to have two minds, and inclined to be indecisive and wavering,. We want to do what is right, and do God’s will, but we also want to avoid the sufferings which can result from being obedient to God’s law. 

Job 36: 21 reads “Take heed, do not turn to iniquity! For you have more desire for this than to suffer.” (Norwegian translation). But we can pray to God to fill us powerfully with all desire for the good and to be active, [decisive and resolute] in the faith! 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (Norw.)

Bats are creatures of the night. But in the Bible, it says that we are children of the day: we do not belong to the night or the darkness. 1 Thessalonians 5:5. We love the light, and have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness. Ephesians 5: 11

There is a tremendous amount that we can do which is good and useful. We are to be zealous for good works (Titus 2:14) and ready for every good work (3:1). The fruit of the light is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. Ephesians 5:9.

Read also: A clear conscience