Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord. (Jeremiah 8:7)
Man Is Not The Smartest Animal
It was a sad and tragic time for God’s people. The apple of His eye had turned their backs on Him and the Lord lamented the punishment He would bring upon them for disobedience. Many prophets came to the nation seeking to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord but to no avail. Israel continued in a downward spiral of wickedness and rebellion drawing closer to the final judgment of God upon them. There would be no heeding the dire warnings of the prophets. All of the pestilence sent by the hand of the Lord did not change the hearts of the people. Doom overshadowed the special people of God and they seemed to give little heed or concern. Jeremiah pleaded with his fellow countrymen to change the course of their hearts. The condition was so dreadful the prophet remarked that the animals had more sense than God’s people.
Comparing a flock of birds to the people of God was an obvious condemnation to the depth of Israel’s depravity. Migratory birds live according to the natural laws instilled in them by their creator. “The instinct of the migratory birds leads them with unfailing regularity to return every spring from their winter abodes in summer climes (Song of Solomon 2:12); but God’s people will not return to Him even when the winter of His wrath is past, and He invites them back to the spring of His favor” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary). Isaiah had used the ox and the donkey as an example of how they knew their master’s care for them and yet Israel did not know the Lord. Animals act in a more dedicated manner than the one creation who is a free moral agent. Man has the ability to choose his destiny yet fails miserably to heed the grace and love of his Maker. The animals trust in their Creator. They do not worry like man does. The sparrows of the field are provided for by their Maker and they are content.
Jeremiah’s comparison was not a flattering commentary on the plight of man’s rebellion against the will of God. The animals of the world have no free moral agency yet they have greater faith in the Creator than the one who has dominion over them. How sad that man cannot trust in the Lord with greater faith when he was made a little lower than the angels and received the gift of God in the form of the crucified Christ. Jesus did not die for the animals of the world. He gave His life for men because they can be saved if they are willing. Taking time to look at the animals of the world and see how they are provided for and trust in the care of their Maker should remind the creature made in the image of God to serve Him in faith. Man is eternal; animals are not. God sent His Son to show men His love and to know of His judgment. Sadly, like the days of Jeremiah, most men do not know the Lord or believe in His word.