Some of God’s pets (Psalm 116:24-26)

The Bible begins by affirming that the earth and all its inhabitants were created by God who conferred in fellowship with God: ‘Let us make …’ And the New Testament adds that the Son of God, who had been involved in their creation, is constantly interacting with them since ‘he upholds the universe by the word of his power’ (Hebrews 1:3).

The Creator has covenanted himself to the welfare of his creation. He promised in Genesis 9:8-17, ‘Behold, I establish my covenant with you [Noah] … and with every living creature of the earth…This is the sign … of the covenant … for all future generations. I have set my bow in the cloud… I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature on the earth.’

But that covenant is much more than some ice-cold legal agreement. God has a warm, even playful relationship with the vibrant works of his hands, as expressed in Psalm 104:24-26, ‘O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both great and small,’ including ‘Leviathan [think: whales and dolphins] which you have formed to play with(margin).

Our son and his wife, visiting us from New Zealand, described some strange pairs of animals they had watched on a television programme, plus a change in their home, that are excellent illustrations of God’s enjoyment of his assorted pets.

[] Goats are renowned for eating everything at any time, including washing off the line. One goat led a retired horse (who was blind in one eye) every morning, by moving in a straight line in front of his good eye and, never stopping to chew a single thing, led him to a meadow where they both browsed quite separately all day, then guided it back to its stable every evening.

[] A wild, young orphaned deer in America came out of the woods each day to frolic in an unfenced garden with the domestic dog; their play was neither typical of deer nor canine, but a hybrid fusion; and every night it would return to the wild.            .

[] Their own cat, Poppy, had maintained a love-hate relationship with Monty, their Labrador cross, who they had to have put down recently because of a huge cancerous tumour. Poppy has now replaced him by suddenly – uncharacteristically – becoming a lap-pet and travelling with them in their car (behaviour alien to the average cat). When a Lab that resembled Monty visited their home she put her nose against his then ran off round a corner to wait to pounce on him as she had always used to do to Monty!

[] Our current pet is a rescue doggie, a West Highland terrier that I bought as an incentive to get daily exercise by going with her for a walk. She had no concept of playing with a thrown ball or stick as most dogs love to do. But after she settled in with us she invented a game of her own. While she sniffs bushes in the park or seaweed on the shore I walk steadfastly ahead. She takes a series of sprints to catch me up. And her sparkling eyes and wagging tail assure me that she enjoys the game. As does he master – and the Creator!  

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