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10 Times God Used Animals to Accomplish His Purposes

10 Times God Used Animals to Accomplish His Purposes

Throughout history, God has shown that He can use any part of His Creation to accomplish His purposes. We are likely familiar with God's use of water in Noah's flood, His use of fish or bread in Jesus' miracle of feeding thousands of people, or many other examples. But have you ever considered how God specifically uses animals for His glory? There are many examples of this both in biblical times and also in modern times. It is also important to note that God values caring well for the creatures He created. Proverbs 12:10 says, "The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel." Here are 10 instances in which God used various animals He created to accomplish His purposes or even to work miracles!

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  • 1. Noah and the raven and dove

    1. Noah and the raven and dove


    In the story of Noah's Ark in Genesis, when the floodwaters are receding, Noah sends out a raven and later a dove to test if there is dry land appearing yet. 

    After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. Genesis 8: 6-12

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  • 2. The Egyptian plagues

    2. The Egyptian plagues


    Half of the plagues God sent on Egyptians and Pharaoh when he refused to let the Israelites go were animal-related. Whether it was frogs, locusts (grasshoppers), or flies, God certainly used His creatures to accomplish His Will.

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  • 3. Balaam and the donkey

    3. Balaam and the donkey


    The book of Numbers in the Bible tells the story of Balaam and his donkey. The king of Moab -- an enemy of Israel -- sent for Balaam so that he could curse the Israelites, but as Balaam was on the way to meet with the king of Moab, God sent his angel to block the path. Balaam's donkey refused to move because the donkey could see the angel, but hard-hearted Balaam could not! Balaam resorted to beating his donkey in an effort to make him move, but the donkey wouldn't budge. Then, God did an amazing thing: He gave the donkey power of speech! "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" the donkey asked (Numbers 22:28). Then, finally, Balaam's eyes were opened to see the angel of the Lord.

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  • 4. Jonah and the whale

    4. Jonah and the whale


    The story of Jonah and the whale is one of the most well-known in the Bible. When Jonah refused to obey God and even ran from Him and what God was calling him to do, God used a whale (or huge fish) to set Jonah back on the right track.

    "Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights" (Jonah 1:17). Jonah's place of repentance and re-dedication to God's mission even ended up being the belly of this huge fish!

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  • 5. Elijah and the ravens

    5. Elijah and the ravens


    The biblical prophet Elijah was sent to deliver a prophecy to the wicked King Ahab and his Queen Jezebel. God said that there would be no dew or rain on the land for the next few years. Then God instructed Elijah, “Leave this place. Go east and hide in the Kerith Valley. It is east of the Jordan River. 4 You will drink water from the brook. I have directed some ravens to supply you with food there" (1 Kings 17:3-4).

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  • 6. Elisha and the bears

    6. Elisha and the bears


    Although this story is a difficult one for some to understand, many commentators have noted that it highlights the importance of listening to God's Word, or in this case, His prophet, and not permitting idolatry. In this story, Elisha, the prophet who came after Elisha, is making his way to Bethel when a group of youths start mocking him. Elisha curses the youths and God sends two angry bears out of the woods to kill them (2 Kings 23-25). Bethel was known at the time for its immersion in idolatry, and God certainly was showing by this shocking incident that such blatant disregard of God and His prophet would not be permitted without consequence.

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  • 7. Daniel and the lions

    7. Daniel and the lions


    Daniel in the Lions' Den is one of the most well-known Bible stories. Daniel, an Israelite who is in exile in Babylon, remains true to his faith even when Babylon's king makes a decree that everyone must worship an idol. Daniel is thrown into a den of lions, which meant certain death--but God intervened and instead of attacking him, the lions did not hurt him one bit. "My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight," Daniel tells the Babylonian king (Daniel 6:22).

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  • 8. Jesus and the Palm Sunday donkey

    8. Jesus and the Palm Sunday donkey


    On what is now known as Palm Sunday, a week before He would go to the cross, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, fuflilling the Old Testament prophecy:

    “Say to Daughter Zion,
        ‘See, your king comes to you,
    gentle and riding on a donkey,
        and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Matthew 21:5)

    But Jesus didn't own a donkey, so in order to fulfill this prophecy, he told his disciples to “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away" (Matthew 21:2-3)

     

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  • 9. Lions that saved Christians from Islamic extremists

    9. Lions that saved Christians from Islamic extremists


    Not all examples of God using animals to accomplish His purposes are found in the Bible or in ancient times. There are modern-day instances of the animals God created being part of His plan. Only a few weeks ago, a story was reported of a pastor and some Christians who were with him being miraculously saved by lions who came out of the jungle and attacked the Islamic extremists who were about the kill the Christians. To read the full story, click here.

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  • 10. Wild boars that attacked ISIS militants

    10. Wild boars that attacked ISIS militants


    Another example of God using animals to accomplish His purposes in modern times involves wild boars that attacked and killed ISIS militants who have often targeted Christians. Sometimes God even sends animals to carry out His justice! To read the full story, click here.

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    Publication date: May 5, 2017