“The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered.” Genesis 9:2 ESV
Hunting season is moving into full swing. Already pictures are showing up on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere of successful hunters. Where I live, the early archery (does only, no bucks) has begun and in a couple of more days I will be on my way back to Maine and Smoldering Lake Outfitters to film and guide wounded warriors on moose and bear hunts.
This verse reminds us that man is still at the top of the food chain. Despite the occasional mauling by a bear, a lion attack, or in what this year seems to be a disproportionate number of beaver and otter attacks, God created man to be feared by the rest of His wild creation. Man kills it and eats it. Whether it’s a whitetail deer, a pheasant, or a trout, God has given it all to man for his use and benefit. Even if you don’t normally attend church or do not consider yourself “religious”, but you do love to hunt and fish, this verse ought to at least give you pause to stop and be thankful. I know I am. I look forward to spending time in the field each fall and spring. I appreciate the fact that not only do I get to spend time in His creation but that I get to bring some of it home with me to feed my family. I believe this was God’s intent.
There are some in the world today that despise the fact many of us like to hunt and fish. It is too bad they don’t have a better understand of Genesis and all that God intentionally entrusted to man. It is ours but it is truly a responsibility as well. God gave man His creation to rule over, the Bible says God gave man dominion over earth. The Bible also tells us we must also be good stewards and rule it responsibly. As a matter of fact the word “dominion” in its original Hebrew translation literally means to “rule with responsibility.” It was Moses that wrote the first game laws recorded in history and managed the taking of wildlife so as to protect the natural resources God gave man for food. Conservation and wildlife management is nothing new; it is in the Bible. So is hunting and the killing of animals for food. Remember it was Isaac who directed his son Esau in Genesis 27:3-4, “Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” In Acts 10:13, the Lord told Peter, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat” and then reminds an apprehensive Peter that nothing he (God) has created should be considered unclean or forbidden.
Killing for the thrill of killing is not hunting, it is psychopathic. Fortunately, I do not know any psychopaths. The people I associate with, as I am sure you all are, hunt ethically, utilize the resource to feed yourselves and others, and see hunting as an effective wildlife management tool that provides more money for conservation efforts each year than any other source of funds.
As you head out to the hunting woods pause and give thanks for the opportunity God has given you. Examine your motives and intentions for doing what it is you do and remember to use the responsibility you have been provided wisely.