Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land;
there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field
and the birds of the heavens,
and even the fish of the sea are taken away. Hosea 4:1-3 ESV
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:19-21 ESV
On March 24, 1989, a huge oil tanker named the Exxon Valdez ran aground up north in Prince William Sound, by Alaska. Its oil tank burst open and spilled over 11 million gallons of oil into the water. The effects on the all birds and fish and animals were terrible. The oil contaminated the shoreline for over a thousand miles. Two thousand sea otters, 302 harbor seals, and about 250,000 seabirds were killed in the days that followed. Even more than ten years later, the oil contamination continued in the water, causing a higher than normal death rate to salmon and mussels. Human carelessness and sin very often causes pain and suffering in all of God’s creation.
God’s people Israel continued to sin and turn away from him, even though he sent prophets to warn them of his punishment if they didn’t turn away from their sins. The prophet Hosea said that the people didn’t know their God, and that they weren’t faithful or loving to him or to each other. Instead, they were doing things like swearing, lying, murdering, stealing, and not being faithful in their marriages. There was a lot of violence and blood being spilled. Their sins were not only hurting each other, but even their land was suffering. The animals in the fields, the birds in the air, and the fish in the water were all hurt because of the sins of God’s people.
The Bible says that the whole creation is hurting and groaning under the weight of the sins of all people. When our first parents sinned, it didn’t only hurt them, but death and disease and suffering spread not only to all the people who would be born, but also to all of creation. The whole world is waiting with us for the time when God will make everything new and right again. We wait eagerly, and sometimes it’s hard to wait and live with all the suffering in the world. But we can be sure that death and pain will come to an end someday, because Jesus came to defeat sin and death when he died on the cross and rose again. Jesus undid everything that went wrong with his creation, and someday we’ll see everything made beautifully and wonderfully new again, the way God meant it to be in the beginning.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your good creation, and for caring for everything you made. Thank you for sending Jesus to make us and everything new again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.