Psalm 24:1 (NLT) tells us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” In this series, we have been studying God’s order of authority. We know that at the very top of that authority umbrella is God Himself. He is the creator of everything and lines up all authority down the chain. There are many different authorities the Lord has given to people, and I was asked to handle the topic of animals in this devotion.
If you know of me and my “situation” you probably are not surprised that this topic was given to me. There is a chance that it was randomly assigned to me, which would be comical. In my current state of life, most people (especially those who follow me on Instagram) would call me a “crazy cat lady.” I am not exactly sure when and why I turned into a crazy cat lady, but the term is accurate. While I only have two cats who live inside my house, we recently moved to some property that was slightly overrun by partially wild cats. I say partially wild because while they are feral, they had come to expect somewhat regular meals fed to them by the previous owners. We moved in shortly before winter, and the cat situation was getting out of control. There were at least twelve adult cats, several teen cats, a few grade school age, and 3 brand new little babies. I have always loved cats so this was both a dream and a nightmare.
At first, I tried just not feeding them, figuring they would eventually get the hint and leave my back deck for the forests full of mice. I would make it a few days and then just feel really bad for them so I would sneak some of our indoor cat food and put it outside when my husband was not looking. Funny thing is that he was doing the same thing. Do not ever let him tell you that he does not like cats because he babies them just as much as me. While several of the kittens did not make it through the winter, when spring rolled around I found myself the owner of ten outdoor cats, all of whom now have names, all of whom are now fat from being fed three square meals a day, some of whom I may actually like more than my two indoor cats. When I say crazy cat lady I am not just using an expression. I fully admit that I have become crazy. I once actually made bowls of chicken soup for them because it was cold and damp outside and I just love them so much. Turns out my favorite cat, Alice, is currently pregnant and I am once again reminded of the dream/nightmare situation I am experiencing. By the time this book goes to print, I will likely have 135 cats on my back deck and will have to get another job just to feed them.
Craziness aside, God created animals and put them under human authority. Genesis 1:26 (NLT) tells us that after God created the animals, He created Adam and gave him dominion over them, “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.’” Genesis 2:19-20 goes on to tell us that “out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field.” I give a lot of credit to Adam for creativity. Naming ten cats (plus three possums and the occasional stray visitor) is challenging enough, I cannot imagine being responsible for naming every type of creature!
The man was given the task to be the steward of the Earth, bringing all the other created creatures and elements into the service of God. Things changed a bit once sin entered the world. After the Flood, mankind was once again given authority over the animals, and God even widened their usual plant-filled diet and gave them permission to eat the animals as food. It was then that the human/animal relationship shifted and animals started to fear humans. Even though God changed the way we interact with animals, we are still responsible for treating them humanely.One day, after the Lord returns, things will once again look like they did originally in the Garden. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6). Until then, we get the honor and blessing of being caretakers to His creation. As for me, that includes all of my crazy cats.