"He made the moon for the seasons;
The sun knows the place of it setting.
Thou dost appoint darkness and it becomes night,
In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
The young lions roar after their prey,
And seek their food from God.
When the sun rises they withdraw,
Confession: I never watched the movie Lion King and don't ever plan on it even though I'm more than proud of our Noah who played Simba in a musical drama this summer. He's the lion I love!
But I'm more of an North American animal lover, not so fond of African though my cousin just went on a safari into the midst of them in Uganda. We've lived near Wild Life Safari in Oregon and the San Diego Zoo which we enjoyed on many occasion, but you won't see me wearing zebra stripes or leopard spots. It's just not me. Now I love bear, deer, and elk hides. Yet, I respect the king of the animals whose roar can be heard eight miles away and so unnerves its prey that it falls down and becomes an easy meal. Nothing pierces my stomach with fear than the sight of a tiger. One of our favorite books is the true-life experience of a man in the '40's who was hired to hunt man-eating tigers which terrorized villages. But even lions eat out of the hand of God.
"Man goes forth to his work
And to his labor until evening."
It is clear here that the sun and moon are not gods to be worshipped like the pagans do, but are created by God for man. "It is not the design of God that there should be either constant darkness or constant light. That man may labour, He gives him, by the means of the sun, the light of the day; and that he may rest from his labour, and get his strength recruited, He gives him night." (Adam Clarke) In heaven, this rest from labor will no longer be needed as we will delight with the Son as our light with no more night. Children especially like this promise from Scripture.
"O Lord, how many are Thy works!
In wisdom Thou hast made them all;
The earth is full of Thy possessions (creatures).
There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
There the ships move along,
And Leviathan (a sea monster)
which Thou hast formed to sport in it.
They all wait for Thee,
To give them their food in due season.
Thou dost give to them, they gather it up;
Thou dost open Thy hand,
They are satisfied with good.
Thou dost hide Thy face, they are dismayed;
Thou dost take away their spirit, they expire,
and return to their dust.
Thou dost send forth Thy Spirit (breath), they are created;
And Thou dost renew the face of the ground."
This is a description of God's menagerie, one of His joys from Creation. "All abuse and of God's creatures are spoil and robbery on the property of the Creator." (Adam Clarke) I believe in gun rights especially for the hunter. However, it is not for the right to exterminate beasts like the bison. The hunting licenses are so well regulated that they fund their management so they do not overpopulate and thus help keep the balance of the animal kingdom, a sacred trust.
"This very sea, great and extensive of hands."
"Its waters, like arms, encompassing all the parts of the globe...By means of navigation, countries the most remote are connected; and the inhabitants of the earth become known to each other...Dreadful and tempestuous as the sea may appear, and uncontrollable in its billows and surges, it is only the field of sport, the play-ground, the bowling-green, to those huge marine monsters (dragons of the deep)." (Adam Clarke) All creatures great and small, He feeds from His hand and they are satisfied with good. This echoes the words given earlier in this chapter, "The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works." (verse 13)
Monterey Bay, CA.
Isn't there a playful sense such as what is meant in Proverbs 8 (which I hope by now you are becoming well acquainted with as it is one of my favorite passages), verses 30-31, "Then I was daily His delight, Rejoicing (playing) always before Him, Rejoicing (playing) in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men." God is so great that the most fearsome of creatures, Leviathan, is just His bath toy.
Looks like the hand of God.
However, just as death befell man at the fall, so all of creation from the grass that withers to the animal kingdom are all under the curse. Yet this passage has the long view with a hint of what God has planned: "Do not these words plainly imply a resurrection of the bodies which have died, been dissolved, or turned to dust? And is not the brute creation principally intended here?...when Jehovah Himself shall rejoice in His works; when the brute creation shall be delivered from the bondage of its corruption." (Romans 8:19-23) (Adam Clarke) In a blink of God's eye, it will all change.