Caring for your Animals
“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10 KJV) For the Israelite people from every walk of life domesticated animals and livestock were an everyday part of life. In their agrarian society, most Israelites were involved with animal husbandry. Sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys, horses, and camels were all depended upon for food, burden bearing and transportation. They kept domesticated cats and dogs to deal with various types of vermin and probably sometimes as pets. The Law of Moses had a number of commandments regarding the proper treatment of their animals. But with so many animals involved in their lives, there could be a tendency toward neglect and mistreatment of animals, even cruelty.
A righteous person, who has taken responsibility for the life of an animal understands the needs and the proper care of those animals. One of the things that stand out about the American cowboy was the way he would take care of his horses. After a long hard day in the saddle, he would be tired and hungry and would certainly be looking forward to dinner and rest in the bunkhouse, but before he would do anything for himself, he would unsaddle, rub down and groom his horse, and then feed and water it. A good cowboy understood the needs of horses and always carried essential horse health related gear. He knew how treat it for the most common injuries. He carried extra shoes and could shoe a horse on the range, if the need arose. A cowboy who mistreated his horse would be shunned by most good men and would not last long as a cowboy.
Many people today keep pets or have livestock, not to the same extent that the Israelites did, but we still have those responsibilities. In fact, keeping a pet is often a way we choose to teach our children to be responsible. When a righteous person accepts responsibility the care and needs of an animal, he or she must do everything they can to see to those needs. Does God care about animals? Yes, He does, even as He cares about all of His creation. Does He care how we treat his creatures? Yes. We are to practice good stewardship toward all that God has given us. A righteous person is never cruel to or mistreats any of God’s creations!
Read Psalms 50:10-11; Genesis 1:26; Deuteronomy 25:4; Luke 12:6-7