Feeding Lions. Feeding Birds.

I continue to be dazzled by nature. Please notice that I did not capitalize the word “nature.” Nature is not a deity, although it seems as though much of the Western world somehow considers it to be, or at least as an entity that provides beauty and wonder in the earth. I thought evolution provided that, from their point of view, so pardon me if I’m a bit confused.

My wonderment lately has to do with the Tailor bird which sews nests together with its beak the same way we sew up a stitch. I’ve been thinking as well about the humble honeybee which creates honey from the nectar it collects from flowers. This insect also creates the wax cells in which it stores the honey. The amazing leafcutter ant brings bits of grass and leaves into its nest. A fungus grows on the gathered litter which is fed to the ant larvae. Tailor birds, bees, and ants don’t teach their young’uns how to do these things. They are doing what the Lord created them to do.

Their Creator provides for them and all other creatures. Otherwise, they would die.

Let’s look at this verse.

“He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry” (Psalm 147:9).1

We read such things in Scripture and say to ourselves, “Amen.” However, in my case at least, I haven’t given it much thought. Yes, He feeds animals as part of His sovereign, creative plan. But what does it mean that He gives food to the beasts? In His answer to Job, He said,

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket?” (Job 38:39–40).

Wait a minute. The Lord hunts the prey for the lion? What does that mean? Perhaps like me, you have watched many nature videos of lions stalking, chasing, and bringing down their prey. Oh, that silly antelope fawn that wandered away from the herd? Yep. It is the provision. What are antelopes for, after all? Well, their beauty and nobility glorifies God, but they are, to put it crudely, lion food.  

The other half of the verse from Psalm 147 tells us the He gives food “to the young ravens that cry” (Psalm 147:9).

Jesus re-emphasized this, saying,

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

Once more, in Job:

“Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:41).

I would like to ask a question here. How wondrous is our God in this aspect alone? How does He feed all the birds? I can imagine a family finding an abandoned nest of raven chicks and endeavoring to feed them until they have grown and flown from the nest. I can imagine thousands of families over all the earth doing this. But it’s not just the chicks, it’s every bird on the earth. Can you imagine what an enormous task that is?

Perhaps we should place it in the same category as this wondrous reality:

“He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4).

There is more going on here, however, than God’s involvement with birds, lions, and stars. Jesus asked that if the heavenly Father cares enough to feed billions of birds, doesn’t He care about us? Yes, of course, He does. He cares enough about us to offer Himself to be punished for sins He Himself did not commit—we did—in order that we may know Him, love Him, and be with Him in life here and in eternity.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy giphy.gif.

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