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July 13 – Creation and creatures

“A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” – Proverbs 12:10 

Scripture reading: Proverbs 12:1-10

In Genesis 1:28 God appoints man as the lord of creation. “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Clearly, man is to rule over creation and its creatures.

Much evidence today suggests that man has failed in his task. I have seen comments in the media suggesting that God’s assignment to man was very foolish. The commentator should read further in his Bible. Proverbs 12:10 will tell him that the wise man “regards the life of his animal.” He takes good care of the creatures around him. It is the wicked and the cruel that cause neglect and damage.

Man does well to care for the creatures because God himself sets the example. Consider Psalm 145:9, “The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.” This care also appears in the fourth commandment where the ox, donkey, and any cattle are given rest on the Sabbath day as well as man (Deuteronomy 5:14).

This indicates that man’s dominion is to be of a caretaker. Man is not free to treat creation and its creatures any way that he pleases. His stewardship of creation will be judged by God. May the Lord give to us all the wisdom we need, to treat and use the creation and its creatures He has given to us, with thoughtful and appropriate care.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that God’s people will be joined by many in the responsible care of creation and its creatures.

Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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