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What the Beast Teach - 11.19.2023 Bulletin

What the Beasts Teach

The Bible is replete with men and women of God performing mighty acts of valor, standing for the faith, resisting the devil and doing their part to fulfill God’s designs. This is only fitting, seeing as humans are God’s ultimate creation. But we should not forget that even the humble beasts have their part to play in God’s universe, and there are many instances in scripture that focus on animals and their deeds or their aspects.

Consider many of the famous offerings we hear about. From Abel to Abraham. From Moses to Solomon. While these animals could never take away the stain of sin, they served as our schoolmaster for what would ultimately be fulfilled through Christ, the Lamb of God. Through all the blood offerings of the Old Testament we learned that sin must be addressed by blood, and nothing less can suffice, as Cain’s offering of fruit also shows. Jesus’ blood is the ultimate offering for sin, yet we would not have been prepared to understand and accept that fact if we did not already know that sin must be resolved through a blood offering; though it would require something far greater than a bull or a goat.

Consider Noah’s ark, which famously carried a great many animals. While God cares far more about a human life, this shows us that He also cares about His lesser creations and wished to preserve them for the post-flood world as well. There were cows and goats on the ark, there were also rats and cockroaches, and yes, dinosaurs too. That God loves His animals is also echoed in Jonah 4:11 “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons…. and much livestock?” Humans are always God’s priority, but it is clear that God also cares for and provides for the beasts He put on this Earth with us.

Of course, I would be remiss to not mention one of the most famous animal stories of the Bible, that being Balaam’s donkey. It’s hard to imagine a more humble messenger of God than a donkey, but it happened. It’s also hard to imagine how Balaam thought it appropriate to argue with his donkey rather than be surprised that she talked. Yet of all things that have been used to enact God’s will, a donkey stands among them. Truly, God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Two of the most impressive creatures God has ever put on His Earth are of course the Behemoth and Leviathan. We read of these in Job 40 and 41, and considering God had already told Job of several other “Real” animals, I see no reason to doubt that Behemoth and Leviathan were actual creatures that actually existed. Their descriptions make them sound quite like what we would today call a dinosaur and a sea dragon respectively. Oftentimes I’ve wondered what was the point of creating such mighty beings. Consider Job 40:19 and 41:33. When you think about the other incredible animals we have today such as electric eels or blue whales, could it not be that God created some creatures simply to show His might? And to show that He ultimately can do anything? Is God unable to create a fire-breathing sea dragon? To ask is to answer.

Even in the New Testament we see animals taking part in God’s plans. When Jesus was baptized by John, the Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove. During the triumphal entry, the Lamb rode upon a (different) humble donkey, rather than an impressive warhorse. Animals were featured in many parables, such as the shepherd seeking his one lost sheep. They were used as examples, like a camel going through the eye of a needle.

God did not put mankind alone on Earth, but gave us many furry, scaly, feathery creatures to live with. Should we be surprised then that they too have been used by their God just as we have?  From these and many more examples, it is clear that animals are more than simply sources of food or companionship for us.  As is true of all things, they ultimately have their part to play in God’s grand design just as humans do. 

Written by Daniel Young

 

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