Devotional: August 23rd
Animals have played a rather bizarre part in many chapters of both history and fiction. Rodents have been a fixation for some famous people. President Andrew Johnson kept pet mice while he was in the White House. There was no word on whether or not they performed any information gathering functions. Rats were important to the famed Indian Yogi K. N. Udupa. He actually figured out a way to train rats to perform many of the different postures of yoga.
European settlers had long viewed Africa as a place for expansion. However there was a problem with which the Europeans were unable to cope. Areas such as Uganda were overrun with mosquitoes. The native Ugandans were accustomed to the blood suckers but the Europeans weren't. Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator, was so enamored by the winged pest's effectiveness at preventing European settlements that he chose the mosquito as his symbol of victory and inducted the heroes of his military into the Order of the Mosquito.
In 1814, Chilean revolutionaries tried to overthrow the Spanish imperialists. In one particular battle the rebels were struggling to escape when their leader, Bernardo O'Higgins, devised a peculiar strategy. He had his men gather every animal in a nearby village (all the horses, mules, dogs, pigs...if it ran it was gathered) and stampede them toward the Spanish soldiers. The bizarre animal attack so unnerved the Spanish troops that they broke ranks and fled. O'Higgins and the rebels escaped easily, eventually won the war and O'Higgins went on to be the first president of the new republic.
My favorite historical story is one from a few thousand years ago. Abraham and Sarah had finally had the child for which they had prayed for so long. Isaac was their pride and joy. But the day came when God told Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, and sacrifice him on a mountain God would lead him to. When Isaac and Abraham got to the mountain they went by foot to the place of the sacrifice. Isaac carried the wood and Abraham carried the torch and the knife. Isaac kept asking for the sacrifice and Abraham kept telling him that God would provide. Imagine Isaac's shock when his father bound him and laid him on the altar and prepared to sacrifice him to God.
But a sheep came to the rescue. Actually God did. Abraham had passed the test of faith. God sent his messenger to Abraham to tell him not to offer his son. When Abraham looked up he saw a male sheep, a ram, caught in some brambles. God did provide the sacrifice just as Abraham had told his son. Abraham had faith that God would not require his only son as a sacrifice and God had faith that Abraham would offer his son if commanded. (Genesis 22:1-14) How does this compare with our acts of faith? What are we willing to sacrifice of ourselves, our time, our wealth, to serve the God who gave His only Son as the lamb of sacrifice for our sins?
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