The battle of Eylau in East Prussia, 8 February, 1807 left nothing decided but littered the snow-covered ground with French, Prussian and Russian corpses. Associated with the dead were their field packs, cannons, shells, horses, muskets and swords. Napoleon wrote that the very sight of the carnage should convince rulers to seek peace, not make war.
A convenient piety. For someone accompanying him as he walked the battlefield heard him say the dead were only “simple soldiers.” More such “little people” would soon be coming to replace those now dead. Age of Napoleon, 182. Maybe he didn’t mean it as a derogation. But military leaders of the time, Wellington included, considered their troops useful only as cannon fodder.
Jesus loved those “little people”: the anonymous widows others overlooked; the sin-burdened prostitutes who heard him offer forgiveness and accepted cleansing; the fishermen whom leaders considered able to feed, but never lead the nation; the aristocrats who, despite their position, understood their place as “little people” needing God’s grace.
Jesus came as the Fullness of the Godhead in bodily form TO: seek every sinner; forgive everyone who admitted he needed it; raise everyone’s sights from self to God; recruit disciples willing to follow him wherever he led them and to serve wherever he placed them.
The hard truth confronting everyone: we’re all “little people” to God, whatever position we occupy among men. His comforting word to us: he LOVES each as completely as he loves all, the greatest sinner being the most vigorous object of his grace. His challenging word to us: accept him as Lord and Savior, then follow him perseveringly.
In Matthew 16:1-4 Jesus levelled a blistering accusation against the leaders of Israel. They could tell the day’s weather by looking at the sky. They couldn’t understand the change he brought to history by living among them. That problem only burgeoned in the centuries after him. And in the 20th and 21st centuries became international.
While the classification of the animal kingdom is as ancient as 1500 B.C., Leviticus 11 leaves no doubt God ordered Israel to distinguish between clean and unclean animals in their diet. He was always central to all Hebrew life and its activities.
Our society instead eliminates God and exalts the environment and its creatures. A Parade Magazine article, June 24, 2018, highlighted our national parks. It covered the spectrum: from the quietest to the driest; where you could see the most birds, including the smallest owls in the world, so cute they’re “almost painful”; where a broad range of wildlife existed, including bears; where you could see the brightest stars, etc.
So enamored are we of nature that we call attention to kindness to creatures: a mother duck leading her brood across a busy road, everyone stopping to permit it. Or, in Virginia, a rattlesnake crossing an intersection had the privilege of a cop stopping traffic both ways until it cleared. San Diego U-T, 6/24/18.
We think nothing of it when policemen put their lives on the line to protect the public—as happened in San Diego College area Saturday night, June 23, 2018. A violent criminal shot two officers when they entered his condo. Fortunately, neither suffered fatal wounds. In the mind of the public, cops are expected to die if necessary when confronting bad guys. It’s in their job description. But “oh how swell” when they unexpectedly protect the creatures.
Is there so much fascination with creation that we have no interest in appreciating God, the Creator? Will we continue to think of creation as an end in itself rather than God’s handiwork to make living on earth pleasant, not just survivable? And will we never stop to think that, at God’s command, all that’s here will one day disappear? -End Part I-