Varmints, critters, and animal sacrifices

If you are an over-the-top animal lover, stop reading right now. I love animals, too; but what is happening in my garden is making me irritated and angry.

I came home a couple of days ago to see that my backyard had been turned into a rabbit dance hall. At least three very large and obviously well-fed bunnies were playing tag and dancing in the garden.

They may have been celebrating their latest meal consisting of my most prized perennials, or possibly doing a preparatory dance in anticipation of eating my vegetables.

They aren’t even afraid of me. They actually appear to be laughing at me. They know I’m not adept enough to carry out the thing that my brain is envisioning — rabbit stew!

Those little monsters have eaten two azaleas and three blueberry bushes all the way down to the ground, and in past years have decimated the vegetable garden. I can’t think of them as cute anymore, no matter how furry they are.

Many of my gardening friends harbor similar malevolent feelings toward certain animals. One of them is seething with quiet rage over the squirrels that are digging up her potted plants and eating her bulbs.

Another has recently been shocked to find mockingbirds tearing apart her beloved irises. She thinks they may have been fooled into thinking that the iris’ beards are caterpillars.

I brought her some bird seed to lure the evil birds away from the pretty plants. And for those of you who have not read Harper Lee’s classic novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is not a suggestion, it’s considered a bad thing. Besides, there are no instructions in the book. No recipes either, in case you were curious and had your own problems with mockingbirds.

Normally, I would have more compassion for animals. Indeed, it is something of a theme in the scriptures about being kind and humane towards animals. Nathan told King David a story about a pet lamb to illustrate David’s sin in taking another man’s wife.

Even oxen that were working to thresh grain were allowed to partake of that grain. God has clearly taught us to be good to animals, even though they are given to us for food.

A question was recently posed about why God allowed the massive amounts of animals to be slaughtered under the old covenant. At the dedication of the temple alone, they literally lost count of the number of animals.

“And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who were assembled to him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen they could not be counted or numbered” (1 Kings 8:5, NASB).

All of the Old Testament has a lesson that is explained in the New. While there were millions of animals sacrificed as offerings, it was not sufficient to atone for sin, it was just a symbol of the true sacrifice, Jesus! (Hebrews 10:2-4)

If the amount of animals killed for sacrifices is staggering to a compassionate mind, what of the Lamb of God, who actually does take away the sin of the world? What of his innocence, his deity, and his love that motivated him to go through that when heaven was his? Now, that just boggles our fragile and finite human minds!

When we try to grasp the concept that Jesus did more in his one death than all the previous sacrifices and rituals in the whole history of the nation of Israel, it really does put it in perspective.

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