The Peaceable Kingdom


The young lions roar for their prey,
seeking their food from God.
When the sun rises, they steal away
and lie down in their dens.
Psalm 104:21-22 ESV

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:6-9 ESV


There’s a story that says cats and mice were once friends. But one day the mouse complained to God that he and the cat had nothing to eat. The mouse secretly wanted to eat the cat, but God knew what the mouse was thinking. He punished the mouse by having the cat eat the mouse instead. From then on cats and mice have been enemies, and cats have eaten mice.

This is only a story. God originally made animals to eat plants, not each other. But people’s sin changed all that. Now animals kill and eat each other. Even so, God is in control. There is a food web that keeps all the animals in creation in balance. Mice eat seeds, and cats eat mice. Robins eat insects, but foxes eat robins. When animals die, maggots eat them. If all this didn’t happen, there would be too many insects or mice, and dead animals wouldn’t become part of the earth again. It’s really marvelous the way God works everything out.

God is able to take something bad and bring something good out of it. He does this with the food web. But the best time he did this was when Jesus died on the cross. The cross was a place of horrible pain for Jesus. But God used Jesus’ death to bring us back to him. Jesus’ death means that God will make everything new again. The Bible makes a picture of God’s new creation as a place where animals no longer hurt and kill each other, and even the most dangerous animals won’t hurt little children. Because Jesus died for us, we can look forward to God’s new creation.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making good things come out of bad things. Thanks especially for sending Jesus to die for us. In His Name, Amen.


Ginzberg, Louis Legends of the Bible Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America 1956 p. 19.