Through many biblical stories, God shows us that he can use any element of his Creation to accomplish his plans. He used water during the flood, a burning bush to talk to Moses, and even a stick to split the sea in two. But that’s not all. Here are 7 animals that God used in the Bible to serve his purposes!
1. The dove to inform Noah
Everyone knows the story of this ark, built by order of God to save Noah, his family, and a couple of all animal species from the flood. After spending more than a hundred days on this ship, Noah decided to send a dove to find out if the water had diminished and given way to the ground’s surface. The first attempt failed because the dove, finding no place to land, quickly returned to him. But the second attempt was successful, as Genesis 8:6-12 recounts:
And the dove came to him towards evening; behold, a fresh olive leaf was in his beak, and Noah understood that the waters had greatly diminished on the earth. And he waited another seven days; then he released the dove, but it no longer returned to him.
2. Frogs and grasshoppers to chastise Pharaoh
The book of Exodus is the story of Moses and Aaron, responsible for delivering the people of Israel from the slavery of the Egyptians. The two men repeatedly tried to convince the Pharaoh to release them, but the latter, filled with pride, refused each time. This is how God decided to send the famous 10 plagues of Egypt, a large part of which was accomplished through animals. These ten plagues are ten punishments that the Eternal inflicted on the Egyptians to convince Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go. Among them, we denote, for example, the invasions of mosquitoes, frogs, beasts, or grasshoppers. (Exodus 8:1-25).
3. The donkey to stop Balaam
This story is found in the book of Numbers. Balaam was a seer sent by Balak, king of Moab, to curse the Israelites who came out of the desert and crossed his territories towards the land of Canaan. So Balaam set out on his donkey. Now, God had forbidden him to curse Israel. So he sent an angel to stand in his way to block his path. Balaam did not see the angel standing on the road armed with a sword, but his donkey saw him and ended up lying under Balaam to avoid him. He does not understand his donkey’s action and beats the donkey with his stick. God then did an astonishing thing: he gave the power of speech to the animal, which began to reproach its master for his harshness. God then opened the eyes of Balaam, who saw the angel, recognized his sin, and finally blessed three times,
The donkey said to Balaam: Am I not your donkey, whom you have always ridden to this day? Am I used to doing this to you? And he answered: No. (Numbers 22:30)
4. The whale to bring back Jonah
The story of Jonah and the whale is one of the best known in the Bible. When Jonah refused to obey God and tried to flee from his face, He used this animal (or a big fish) to lead him back on the right path. Jonah’s place of repentance was thus the belly of this huge fish!
The Lord brought a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17)
5. Ravens to feed Elijah
God sent the prophet Elijah to deliver a prophecy to King Ahab and his queen Jezebel, who was killing His prophets: their land would be struck by drought. So that this punishment would not touch Elijah, God later asked him to leave the country to go to the desert. It would be refueled there by the crows. In this way, Elijah was safe from any risk of reprisals from King Ahab but also found himself totally dependent on help from heaven (the food brought little by little and gradually by the crows) and so of God.
Depart from here, turn towards the east, and hide by the torrent of Cherith, opposite the Jordan. You will drink water from the torrent; I ordered the crows to feed you there. He went and did according to the word of the LORD, and he settled by the brook Cherith, which is opposite the Jordan. The crows brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank water from the torrent. (1 Kings 17:3-6)
6. The bears to defend Elisha
In this biblical account found in the book of 2 Kings, Elisha is on his way to the city of Bethel and crosses paths with a group of young people who mock him for his baldness. Elisha cursed these young people. God then sends two angry bears to kill them (2 Kings 23-25). This tragic episode may seem difficult to understand. But in reality, he makes us understand the importance of respecting the anointed or servants of God and the power of the words that come out of our mouths.
He went up from there to Bethel, and as he was going uphill, little boys came out of the town and laughed at him. They said to him: Climb up, bald! Go up, bald! He turned to look at them and cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the forest and tore forty-two of these children. (2 Kings 2:23-24)
7. Lions to accredit Daniel
Darius, king of the Medes, appreciated the prophet Daniel and entrusted him with important responsibilities, which attracted the jealousy of his colleagues. They then had the idea of suggesting to the king to pronounce a decree prohibiting for thirty days to pray to a god other than Darius himself, under penalty of being thrown into the lion’s den. The king accepted. Daniel, who continued to pray to the God of Israel, was then denounced to Darius, who had no choice but to apply his decree by condemning Daniel to death. He thus sent him to the lion’s den. But the next day, when Darius went to the pit, he found Daniel alive. The latter explained to him that God had sent an angel to close the jaws of the lions. The king then ordered that Daniel be taken out of the pit and his accusers thrown into it, who were promptly devoured.
My God sent his angel and shut the mouths of the lions, which did me no harm because I was found innocent before him; nor before you, O king, have I done anything wrong. (Daniel 6:22)
These seven situations testify that God is not limited by the nature of any elements of his Creation. He expects us to have a pure, sincere, and above all, submissive heart, like that of these different animals. If God could use them to accomplish His plans, how much more is He able to use us to do great things!