Stewards of Creation Genesis 9

Psa 104:31 May the glory of the LORD endure for ever; may the LORD rejoice in his works-

1. God rejoices in his works because his works are an expression of his glory.
2. God rejoices in the works of creation because they praise him. – Even the great sea monsters in the deeps that nobody has even discovered yet!!
3. God rejoices in the works of creation because they reveal his incomparable wisdom.
4. God rejoices in the works of creation because they reveal his incomparable power.
5. God rejoices in the works of creation because they point us beyond themselves to God himself. God means for us to be stunned and awed by his work of creation. But not for its own sake. He means for us always to look at his creation and say: If the work of his hands is so full of wisdom and power and grandeur and majesty and beauty, what must this God be like in himself!!

The Lord rejoices in His works! God indeed delights in his creation. So should we! We thought about the wonders of Creation earlier in this series. Creation is amazing! Whether is is puppies or plants or planets or particles there are so many parts of God’s creation for us to enjoy! To study and to enjoy! Celebrate Creation!

A clergyman once acked the noted biologist J.B.S. Haldane what one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of his creation? Haldane is said to have answered, “The Almighty must have “an inordinate fondness for beetles” Beetles–more precisely, insects belonging to the order Coleoptera–make up a hefty 20 percent of all known biological species – 350,000 different species of beetles on the planet!

Celebrate Creation! God created everything in perfect balance. Psalm 104 echoes Genesis 1 speaking of the symmetry, ecological balance and majesty of creation. The six days of creation reveal the plants, of the animals, of human beings, of the times and seasons. And leads on to a glorious declaration of praise at the wonders of God’s creation. Then Psalm 104 reminds us how the whole of creation remains under God’s tender care.

Psalm 104:10. He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.
21 The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then man goes out to his work, to his labour until evening.
24 How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
27 These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.

God provides food for all he has made. In the framework of creation, God has provided all that we need. Day by day in his faithfulness God continues to provide for all that we need!

Gen 1:29 ¶ Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground- everything that has the breath of life in it- I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

So human beings were originally vegetarian!! But after the flood God changed that.
After God rescued Noah and the ark from the flood which brought judgement on the evil which human beings had brought to the earth, God made this promise to Noah and his family in GENESIS 8: 22
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
Here is God’s Promise of the blessings of seasons and harvest forevermore.

9: 1 ¶ Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. … 3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

So God gave Noah and his descendents permission to become meat-eaters and use animals for food. And he also gave human beings the carnivorous teeth to enable them to eat the meat too! Now there’s something to think about.

God gives all creatures – including us human beings – all the food we need. But he also gives us a job to do!

Stewards of creation

GENESIS 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Gen 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Taking care of the world God has made includes at least two responsibilities. Caring for God’s creatures, and caring for the people God has created.
Caring for God’s creatures

God still cares about his creation! The story of the flood reminds us of this truth.

Genesis 9:8 ¶ Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 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. 11 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.”

The Noah covenant, the rainbow covenant was not just with Noah but with ALL living creatures!!

So God cares about the animals he has created – and not just the beetles. He cares when animals are mistreated and abused in laboratory experiments, some of which may be justifiable but many of which certainly are not! God cares when animals are reared and treated in barbaric conditions to give supermarkets bigger profits! God cares when a species becomes extinct, as dead as the dodo!

I read a most disturbing story: “Lions are close to extinction”

Lion populations have fallen by almost 90% in the past 20 years, leaving the animal close to extinction in Africa, a wildlife expert has warned.
There are now only 23,000 left, compared to an estimated 200,000 two decades ago, according the University of California. A study in Kenya says that the only hope for lions and other predators is for humans and wildlife to live together as Kenya’s human population will double in the next 12 years. It’s not just lions. Populations of all African predators are plummeting. The wild dog population has fallen to between 3,500 and 5,000 and there are now fewer than 15,000 cheetahs.

“People know about elephants, gorillas and rhinos, but they seem blissfully unaware that these large carnivores are nearing the brink,” he says. Predator numbers are dropping because people are killing them to protect livestock. People have always killed predators. But there’s only so much damage you can do with spears and shields. Now people have rifles and poisons. Wild predators and farmers could co-exist peacefully. Improved fencing and dogs to raise the alarm when predators approach could cut attacks drastically. But with each lion killing livestock worth on average £200 a year, equivalent to one cow or three sheep, people think that “bullets and poison are always cheaper than good husbandry”.

Human beings were created in the image of God to be stewards of creation. That isn’t just the responsibility of Christians – but the task God has given shared by every human being! We all have a responsibility for the planet!
Caring for other people

God has provided the whole earth with more than enough food to go round.

Psalm 104:14 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate- bringing forth food from the earth: 15 wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.

God provides the food – but millions die hungry. There are different problems with the same underlying cause. In some places the populations are growing too quickly and there is not enough food to go around because people are packed more densely into an area than the crops can sustain. People are having to move into areas where there is no safe water supply because the areas near the safe water are too crowded. And there are other places where people are starving because the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Landowners rob their tenants. Governments spend money on wars instead of on food and development and health care.
The underlying cause of all these problems is simply greed. Too many people taking more for themselves and not caring if others suffer and die. This works at a local level, and at an international level.
God calls all human beings to care for each other. But especially he calls his Church to speak out for the poor and the needy and the oppressed! We thought about this in our home groups a year ago. God calls us to “act justly”.

‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.’ (Proverbs 31:8,9)

We have a Biblical responsibility not only to meet people’s immediate needs but also to ‘loose the chains of injustice’. Being religious, or even having compassion and showing charity, are not enough. We must ‘loose the chains of injustice’ to tackle the root causes of injustice in our world.

• A call to act justly – loving our neighbour in Bulgaria and Uganda and North Africa and in the house next door and down our street.
• Social action – caring for the starving and aids victims and orphans – wherever they may be!
• Drop the debt – releasing poor countries from the debts which mean that they only get poorer as the rich get richer.
• Fair trade and consumer power – international trade agreements and purchasing fairly traded products to make sure that the producers of our food earn a fair wage.
• Rich Christians are challenged to consider the environmental impact of their lifestyles and to ‘live more simply that all may simply live’

In the beginning God looked at all He had created and saw that it was very good. So we should celebrate creation. But we should also remember that God made man to take care of his Creation.
GENESIS 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

This means caring for the planet, caring for the animals, caring for the people. This is our responsibility in this wonderful world which God has created for us to enjoy. Human beings were created in God’s image to be stewards of Creation.

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