Links Daily Devotional

Provided For

These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. (Psalm 104:27, NIV)

I never met C.S. Lewis. He died the same year I was born. But like many people, and especially Christian men and women who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, I became familiar with him through his Chronicles of Narnia series. I didn’t get the attraction at the time. One friend I knew would read through the entire series at least once a summer. I was too busy shooting baskets in the driveway or trying to figure out how to get up and down from a bunker to bother with reading stories.

Jesus used the birds of the air, those who do not sow or reap or store away in barns, to establish the reminder that it is our heavenly Father who provides.Like me, you may not be one given to the genre of fantasy. Generally, my interests lie elsewhere. But reading the Chronicles—as well as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy—is as much an exercise in theology as it is in literature.

If one particular theme seeps through the main plotlines of Lewis’ books, it is this: God has his eye on the animals. And in Lewis’ stories, the animals have their eyes on God.

As with fantasy, I am not a “pet guy.” Some of my friends have beautifully adopted rescue dogs, and I commend them; the dogs in the path of my life, however, have bitten me, peed on the carpet, and destroyed yards. Sad but true. What I have kept for many years are cats—one or two. They were very helpful with mice when we lived in a more rural setting, and the lot next door was vacant. But even now, when my remaining cat is old and lives in the concrete jungle, he is fascinating to watch, a lion in miniature, moving with grace and purpose, except when he is sleeping, which he also does with simple accomplishment.

It has been said that to dogs their owners are God, while in a cat’s mind he himself is God. We cannot know how true this is, but I do know that not being much of a hunter anymore—he won’t even scare the birds from his bowl—my own cat would not eat if it weren’t for me.

Psalm 104 is a menagerie of animals both husbanded and wild: donkeys, birds, cattle, goats, badgers, lions, “beasts of the field,” “beasts of the forest,” and “creatures of the sea.” Even the leviathan—and here scholars are uncertain whether the biblical writers meant crocodiles, whales, or some other large animal—receives mention. This song of the psalmist is a perfect companion to Genesis 1, the original Animal Planet.

Then above all these animals is God, their creator and provider. It is he who “gives them their food at the proper time.”

Of course, Jesus took up this same matter in the Sermon on the Mount. His words were pointed to human hearers, but he used the birds of the air, those who do not sow or reap or store away in barns, to establish the reminder that it is our heavenly Father who provides. Because of him, we may go about our business, doing the work of our day, but we do not need to fret, worrying about our stomach and our skin. God takes care of us, right down to our daily bread. That again is who he truly is.

Jeff Hopper
May 10, 2017
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