Before God made man, he made the animals. On the fifth day, God made the sea creatures and birds, and declared that it was good. On the sixth day, God made the livestock and wild animals, and finally humans. God declared that it was very good.
A child once said, "God worked very hard on making a duck, so you shouldn't hurt 'em." Indeed, God worked very hard on making all his creatures. And because they are alive, they've been given the breath of God Himself. They are worthy of our respect...and amazement.
Take, for example, the humble ant. One can't help but marvel at this tiny creature. An ant's strength is incredible: it can carry between 10 and 50 times its own weight. This would be equivalent to a 5th grader carrying a Ford F-150 on his back for great distances. Consider an ant's ability to communicate with the rest of the hive. If one ant finds a doughnut crumb, in no time at all there would be a gang of them surrounding it. You'd think they had cell phones!
Although ants are unwelcome visitors on a picnic, they are serving their God-given purpose. Ants are nature's garbagemen. They haul away discarded bits of food. Fruit fallen to the ground from its trees disappear over time with the help of the ants, who collect and store up this nutrition. Their sheer number alone is astounding. It is estimated that the weight of all the ants on earth equals the weight of all the people on earth. That's one million ants for every man, woman and child on the plant. And if you've ever witnessed the tender care and protection of worker ants carrying larvae to safety, you'd understand how this number could be so great.
Faced with a human, a single ant is defenseless. A person is able to crush one of these creatures with no more strength than what is required to press a computer key. But when you ponder how much thought and care that God put into creating the ant, it becomes harder to destroy it. The study of ants has led to breakthroughs in medicine, computer networks, and robotics.
“Do you give the horse its strength, or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?" (Job 39:19) This is a personal act from a personal God. Therefore, He takes no pleasure from his creation being harmed. Think about the relationship in size you have to the humble ant. How much bigger is God's size in relation to you? Have you ever upset or displeased God, and how did He treat you? Instead of inflicting harm on a defenseless animal, would you consider showing mercy instead? Do you think God would show you mercy too?
There’s a special place in God’s heart for the humble, both people and animals. “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” (Luke 12:6)
We must regard nature with the same eyes that God has for it. "Everything under heaven belongs to me" (Job 41:11), God said. He made his world and his creatures, thoughtfully and skillfully, and He wants us to enjoy his masterpiece just as he himself does. We must respect and value nature, and praise the One who made it.
“And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:20-21)
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:24, 31)
“Do you give the horse its strength
or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? (Job 39:19)
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11)
Four things on earth are small,
yet they are extremely wise:
Ants are creatures of little strength,
yet they store up their food in the summer. (Proverbs 30:24-25)
Everything under heaven belongs to me. (Job 41:11)
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. (Luke 12:6)