The Ultimate Whisperer
Noah, his family, and the animals, were released from the ark. Before them lay a new life and new beginnings.
To commemorate the event God made a promise to Noah: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:9-11).
The sign of this promise was the rainbow.
I never noticed before that God makes very clear that this promise is also one made to the animals—as though He were talking to them as much as He is talking to Noah and his family.
We have horse whisperers, dog whisperers, and who knows what other whisperers are out there. But it appears that this gift is a divine one, just as every other gift is.
God talks to the animals—and they understand. I’m sure I’ll get a “duh!” from someone out there in cyberspace. Isn’t this something everyone knew? Or, this is serious “hair-splitting,” Lynda!
Perhaps. But then again, God doesn’t say anything unless it means something.
At the very least we can safely say that though we may claim special privileges as the crown of God’s creation, everything isn’t all about us. Jesus used the lilies and the birds as examples of the care He takes in looking after that which we so often give little thought to (Matthew 6:25-30). The latter part of the book of Job is full of reminders of God’s personal involvement and concern with other parts of His creation besides us.
But right here in Genesis 9, I get the sense the when God makes this promise to Noah, He is communicating that same promise to the animals who, having survived the flood, now set out to begin again. This sense is fortified by what He says earlier in the chapter: “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything” (9:1-3).
We get the impression that up until now the animals had not been afraid of man, and that man hadn’t represented a threat to the animals. God would now allow man to use the animals to provide sustenance for his family. But at the same time, God was “whispering” fear into the animals to protect them from being decimated by man. He knew man’s capacity for tailing death in his wake without consideration for either good husbandry or the lives of his fellows.
God would also, as the Scriptures put it, “demand an accounting” from both man and animals for blood shed. This was the instituting of the death penalty for those who caused the death of others (9:4-6).
I sit here with a cat on my lap. watching the birds in the trees beyond my window, and feel my obligations.
Adam and Eve were designated to care for God’s creation—to care for their fellow man and for the animals and plants, for the earth, which God had provided for them (Genesis 2:15).
That responsibility has not been reassigned. Our relationship with God is modelled in how well we look after those responsibilities—or not!