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What the Bible says about God's Sovereignty Over Animals
(From Forerunner Commentary)

The Bible also reveals God as sovereign over animals. Since men can use animals like the horse, mule and dog to do his will, it naturally follows that the Creator's use of them is even greater and more purposeful in illustrating His power in bringing about His purpose. Notice Genesis 2:19: "Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name." God brings animals before Adam to be named. Genesis 6:20 adds, "Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive." God directs even carefree birds and mindless insects to come to Noah. Genesis 9:2 introduces something new: "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand." This implies that the dread is new, something God added to alter their relationship with mankind.

Amidst the plagues on Egypt, God uses and controls even the tiniest of creatures:

Or else, if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand. And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land. (Exodus 8:21-22)

Before this, God brought forth huge numbers of frogs. But the significant element here is that He chooses to demonstrate His dominion through refusing to allow small flying insects, seemingly free to go anywhere they wished, into Goshen, the dwelling place of the Israelites. The same sort of distinction occurred in the plague of murrain. Egypt's cattle became diseased by a virus or bacteria and died; Israel's remained untouched and healthy.

One of the more remarkable occurrences is in when He caused Balaam's ass to speak (Numbers 22:28-30). Several other passages show Him involving animals in the affairs of men. In I Samuel 6:1-12, God directs back into Israel the two milk cows pulling a cart laden with the Ark of the Covenant. I Kings 17:2-6 records ravens sent from God feeding Elijah. In II Kings 2:23-25, God sics bears on Elisha's 42 tormentors. He shuts the lions' mouths when Daniel is thrown among them (Daniel 6:22). He prepares a great fish to swallow Jonah and compels it to vomit him up on shore exactly where He wants him (Jonah 1:17; 2:10). In Matthew 17:27, He causes a fish to bring Peter a coin so both Jesus and Peter could pay their taxes. Finally, in Malachi 3:11, God declares, "'And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,' says the LORD of hosts." Here, God selectively exercises His authority and power over the tiny organisms that can destroy the fruits of His people's labor to prosper them and not another—even during a plague! God is watching and acting for the benefit of His name and His people.

All this does not mean the laws of nature have no effect. The Bible presents a broad general concept. The uniform laws of nature, given by God, combined with the state of our relationship with Him determines, to a great measure, whether He will bless or curse. This is not the entire picture, though, because His spiritual purpose always overrides everything, and He is Sovereign over all. It is entirely possible for us to be obedient to God's will and have a good relationship with Him, and still suffer or seem not to prosper as we would normally expect, as the example of Job shows.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Four

Related Topics: God's Sovereignty Over Animals


 

Exodus 8:16-19

The third plague, striking Egypt unannounced, hit the Egyptians in their religious ritual: They were a scrupulously clean people, believing that dirt and vermin made them impure and defiled. They bathed and shaved their bodies regularly to maintain their purity and superiority, but infected with lice, they could not worship in any temple. In addition, this plague struck the beasts also (verse 17), many of which were sacred animals kept in their sanctuaries. So, not only were the Egyptians defiled, but their gods and temples were defiled also.

Pharaoh's magicians could not duplicate this third plague in even a small way, so they admitted that Israel's God was greater than any of theirs (verse 19). God showed these pagan people that He controlled the creation and could do with it as He wished. The plagues on Egypt continued in this manner in sets of three, in which Moses and Aaron announced the first two and the third would descend unannounced.

Mike Ford
Animal Idolatry

Deuteronomy 28:7-12

Is God involved? He is anything but passive, constantly participating across the full spectrum of the life of His people specifically and the whole earth generally. The Bible certainly does not show nature automatically producing great benefits merely according to natural laws. If it did, then the Bible would have to show the uniform laws of nature as sovereign, not the Creator God. In addition, God would be guilty of at least gross generality when He claims He does this or that.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Five

Amos 4:6-11

God's people were very busy making money, accumulating things, and practicing their religion. But God was also very busy—sending famines, droughts, blights, locusts, epidemics, warfare, and possibly earthquakes in judgment for their unrighteousness (Amos 4:6-11). He hoped that they would heed these "minor" warnings before He sent the rod of His anger against them (Isaiah 10:5).

Rain fell on one part of the country and not on another. When it rained, it rained too much, causing floods. In other places just enough rain fell to deceive the people into feeling a sense of hope—that it was not so bad after all.

We see this in the United States. Natural disasters—insurance companies call them "acts of God"—are growing more frequent and more intense, killing many and causing billions of dollars in damage. Floods ravaged the Midwest in 1993, while drought killed crops in other areas. After a year or so of good rainfall, California fell back into drought conditions—only to suffer from floods a year later! Fires rage over thousands of acres after periods of drought, destroying forests and homes. Sudden earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, and extreme temperatures destroy homes, businesses, and lives.

It never seems to get quite bad enough to send the nation into a real tailspin, but it is just enough that, like the Egyptian Pharaoh of the Exodus (Exodus 7:13-14), we continue to harden our hearts. We fail to repent. If the unrepentant attitude continues, the "natural" disasters will intensify, bankrupting the nation economically. Since money seems to be the nation's foremost god, the true God will hit where it hurts most.

The vast majority of Americans have become so far removed from God that they lack the eyes to see and the ears to hear the warnings He sends. Educated in a system that fundamentally denies God, they lack understanding. They interpret God's warnings as natural events—just nature running her course. An earthquake or flood or drought is viewed as "nature doing her thing."

Rather than heed the warning and repent, Americans turn to their other false gods—science and technology—to bail them out. "Design better levies to protect us from floods," they cry. "Seed the clouds to produce more rain." "Engineer stronger buildings to withstand more powerful earthquakes." "Science will someday give us the ability to predict—even stop—earthquakes." Americans have eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear (Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:14-15).

In these disasters, God is saying something quite different—something vitally important. He is warning the people that they have a responsibility, and if they fail to live under their covenant with Him, He has the power to correct them so that they will repent. So, in fairness and mercy, God lays a simple choice before them: "Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!" (Amos 4:12). Their choice is either to face their sins and repent, or face the wrath of a just God.

To bring about His purpose, God is active in His creation, especially among His people, whether physical or spiritual Israel. "If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?" (Amos 3:6). Is God involved in our lives? Do things happen by chance to the people of God? This world would have you believe that God really is not aware, that He does not care or even exist! But He says, "I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things" (Isaiah 45:7).

Is God involved? "Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:29-30). Do we see God working in our lives? Events do not happen accidentally to God's people, of whom God is very aware. He is very concerned and thus very involved.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part One)

Luke 5:6-9

A large school of fish miraculously appears alongside Peter's boat just when Jesus says, "Let down your nets." Some may not view this by itself as a miracle. Yet, David writes: "You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all thingsunder his feet, all sheep and oxen—even . . . the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas" (Psalm 8:6-8). As Creator, Jesus knows where the fish are in the Lake of Gennesaret, a power Peter obviously lacks. Christ, as the sovereign Lord of the earth and its seas, could have commanded thousands of fish to leap onto shore, but He directs them into the man's net. The combination of the precise place, time, and mass of fish following Jesus' instructions qualifies this as a genuine miracle, one witnessed by many.

Note that this first miracle of fish (Luke 5:1-11) happens at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and the second occurs near the end (John 21:3-11). Both miracles take place on the Sea of Galilee after a night of fruitless work.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: The Great Catch of Fish


 




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