“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”
A cable TV news commentator often poses the question – “Who’s looking out for you?” – implying that he’s looking out for his viewers. Well, Christians know who’s really looking out for us. That would be Jesus, the One who created us, saved us and watches out over us every hour of our lives. But in His wisdom, our Creator has also given us a number of animals to watch out for us in a more earthly sense. These creatures are known as animal sentinels.
Perhaps the best-known animal sentinel is the canary. As Wikipedia tells us, “The idea of placing a canary or other warm blooded animal in a mine to detect carbon monoxide was first proposed by John Scott Haldane, in 1913.” This is where the familiar phrase “canary in a coal mine” came from.
Over the years, man has turned to many other creatures to keep us safe. Honeybees, for example, have been used to test for air pollution. Bivalve mollusks help us do water-quality surveys. Pigeons are excellent at detecting lead in the atmosphere. Man’s best friend has been used to provide early warning of lead-poisoning hazards in the home. Even cats have been helpful in determining household exposures to pesticides, cigarette smoke and other carcinogens.
Let us not forget to thank God for giving us these animal sentinels and for giving humans the ingenuity to know how these animals can be used for our protection.
Heavenly Father, I just want to thank You for watching out for me, not only in this life but in the never-ending life to come. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Wikipedia entry on “animal sentinel.” Photo: Courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Labor. (PD)