Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
God created the animals on the sixth day (Gen. 1:24-25). From that time throughout the rest of the Bible, He mentions them for a variety of purposes. They feature prominently in various biblical accounts: the serpent in the garden (Gen. 3:1ff), the dove and the raven on the ark (Gen. 8:7-12), Israel’s quail (Ex. 16:13), Balaam’s donkey speaks (Num. 22:28), a great fish swallows Jonah (Jon. 1:17), the father’s fatted calf (Luke 15:23), Peter’s rooster (Mat. 26:75), and, of course, so many others. They are used in a figurative sense from cover to cover, too.
- The devil is likened to a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8), a serpent and a dragon (Rev. 12:9).
- The false teacher is likened to a wolf (John 10:12; Acts 20:29) and to dogs (Ph. 3:2; Rev. 22:15).
- The apostate are likened to the leopard (Jer. 13:23) and the dog and sow (2 Pet. 2:20-22).
- The wicked ruler (Herod) is likened to a fox (Luke 13:32).
- Jesus is likened to both a lamb (1 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:12) and a lion (Rev. 5:5).
- The saved are likened to sheep and the lost to goats (Mat. 25:31-34).
- The patient, but weary, are likened to the eagle (Isa. 40:31).
- The thirsty for God are likened to the deer (Psa. 42:1).
- The divinely-provided for are likened to the birds of the air (Mat. 6:25; 10:29).
Whether for food (Gen. 9:3) or food for thought (Prov. 6:6), God provides the animal for us to consider. They depict the intimacy of marriage (Song 4:5; 7:3) and the ferocity of judgment (Hos. 13:7-9). They illustrate plenty (Ezek. 34:23) and desolation (Jer. 9:11). They picture joy (Isa. 35:6) and sorrow (Mic. 1:8).
There are great lessons to be learned upon the pages of inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16-17), messages that guide and influence our eternal destiny (John 12:48). There are facts to be instructed by, internalized, and interpreted. Yet, in addition, God has allowed the heavens to declare His handiwork (Psa. 19:1). Creation reveals a Creator who weaves lessons into the characteristics of His creatures. It is just one of the infinite marvels of our great God, endlessly complex and inexhaustibly incredible! How great is our creative God!