In the beginning ….
So begins the greatest story of creation. (Genesis 1:1)
In the beginning, God created our wonderful world. The crowning act of His creation was mankind. He entrusted us with the task of maintaining this beautiful world and the creatures it contains.
“GOD took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order.” (Genesis 2:15 MSG)
“So GOD formed from the dirt of the ground all the animals of the field and all the birds of the air.He brought them to the Man to see what he would name them. Whatever the Man called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19 MSG)
In the beginning: God entrusted us with a beautiful world
- Describe a favourite scenic spot that you enjoy visiting whenever possible.
- Can you think of somewhere you once enjoyed visiting that is no longer available to you? Why is it no longer available?
Let’s see what Habakkuk has to say:
Habakkuk 2:17 TNIV
‘The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed human blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.’
Our text states that Babylon’s devastation and violence would come back to haunt them. In their greed and conquest, they had stripped the forests of Lebanon of its vegetation and animals.
Similarly, our picture above illustrates how vast forests are cut down to make way for railway lines, highways, sports stadiums, town extensions, larger cities and industrial sites. etc. All this has a detrimental effect on both plant and animal life.
Just recently at the COP26 Conference held in Glasgow, Scotland, 130 countries resolved to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.
Right now, there is a huge outcry as mining companies operate a massive seismic blasting operation along the shores of the wild coast of South Africa. This will have devastating effects on the sea animals as far as the arctic circle. (Read more about this horrific destruction of God’s creation here.)
In addition to the deliberate deforestation, there are numerous forest fires caused by man’s negligence. Many of God’s creatures are being deprived of their natural habitat.
Some time back there was an outcry in the media. In Bangladesh, sand is being dredged out of the rivers, causing the river banks to collapse and fertile farmlands to erode away.
Entrusted but Endangered?
The Almighty God, Creator of the world has always had a concern for ecology ‘the study of the relationships between living organisms and their environment’ (Collins English Dictionary). In His command to the human race, He includes the responsibility for both plant and animal life.
Moreover, deforestation and forest fires are not the only means through which animal life is being diminished. Sadly many of the creatures God created, that once freely roamed our earth, no longer exist because of man’s failure to carry out this responsibility. An example of human-induced extinction is the dodo bird which once inhabited the island of Mauritius.
Today, almost all emperor penguins face extinction in the very near future. Thanks to man’s pollution of rivers, lakes and the sea. Between oil spillages, discarded waste and plastic goods man is killing off sea life.
Cruelty to Animals
In fact, sadly on our own continent (Africa) rhino’s and elephants are being mutilated and slaughtered for their horns and tusks which are being ground into powder and used medicinally.
- Are we any less guilty than the Babylonians of misusing and abusing what God has created?
As the representative of all mankind, Adam was entrusted with God’s creation. This responsibility has been passed down to you and me.
- What are we doing to protect what God has entrusted to us?
Yet the more serious crime was the Babylonian bloodshed and the slaughter of the residents of the towns and cities which they overpowered.
Down through the centuries, this malicious taking of human life has become a plague.
Our Lord prophesied that “Nations will go to war against one another, and kingdoms will attack each other.” (Luke 21:10 CEV) This certainly has been true. Apart from the two great world wars throughout history, there has been strife between nations, between communities, and even within families ending in bloodshed. Gang warfare destroys Innocent parties.
- Is there warfare (perhaps not physical) but nonetheless ill feelings between you and a family member, a relative, a neighbour, a church leader? How can you bring about reconciliation?
Apart from conflict situations involving violence, lives are being lost on our roads through negligent driving, road rage and people taking chances. Thieves resort to violence and murder in their quest for material goods. And here in South Africa earlier this year, a protest overflowed into rioting and the damage of shopping malls, in which lives were lost in a stampede to loot the shops.
Sadly law enforcement agencies do not seem to be able to stem the violence and killings. They seem unable to bring the guilty parties to book.
Trustees of an Amazing World
You and I have been entrusted with this world that God created. We need to seek His guidance on how to handle the negative impact that man’s actions are having on creation.
Until the Lord’s return or our departure for heaven, we need to be proactive in our efforts to do all we can to save our world from utter devastation.
As we noted in the last study God’s message via Habakkuk was that the time for the turning of the tables on all wrongdoers was rapidly approaching. God declared
‘You destroyed trees and animals on Mount Lebanon; you were ruthless to towns and people everywhere. Now you will be terrorized. (Habakkuk 2:17 CEV)
Ask the Lord to show you today something you can be doing to nurture what He has entrusted to our care.
If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.