O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. - Psalm 104:24
Our summer skies used to be filled with multicolored butterflies. They flitted and flirted with soft-winged abandon. But now many of them are in danger of becoming extinct. What a shame! Our grandchildren may never chase them as we did. Some things are being irretrievably lost from our world, never again to grace the sky. And who’s to blame? “Magnificent man,” who failed to be what he and woman were created to be: “masters over all life” (Gen. 1:26).
The mandate was clear. God delegated the oversight of his bewildering and beautiful creation to humans and told us to “be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals” (Gen. 1:28). Perhaps we thought being masters meant being tyrants and exercising brute force. And maybe we misconstrued the mandate to “multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28) as giving us a free rein to pursue our own purposes without thought to the well-being of God’s handiwork. Not so!
But all is not lost. There is still time for us to look again with wonder on the fish, the birds, and the animals; to study them as our first father who named them did (Gen. 2:19-20); and then to see them as the psalmist did: “O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures” (Ps. 104:24). The oceans teem with life; the forests are full of his creatures; pastures and mountains are the habitations for his handiwork. Storks among the firs, badgers among the rocks, young lions in the bush, and goats in the mountains (104:17-22)—all these things silently testify to the wonders of God’s creative mind, the glory of his wondrous skills, and the beauty of all that he has made.
Seeing this, man should learn to worship (104:33), joining with creation in acknowledging the one from whom we come and through whom “we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). This attitude will not only lead to the preservation of that which was entrusted to our care but will also contribute to our adoration of God as we exercise our God-given ability to see something of the wonder of him who is hidden from the natural eyes but who shines forth for the eyes of faith in the things he has made.
Each time the man of faith sees a butterfly flutter by, he should see a revelation of God’s wonder and raise his “Praise the Lord!” (104:35).
For Further Study: Psalm 104