A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10, NKJV)
Every beast belongs to God, who created and who sustains them (Psalm 50:10; Matthew 6:26). A man’s animals were beasts of burden, beasts of labor and sources of food and clothing. While the Law of Moses had many animal sacrifices, it also commanded consideration toward animals. Domesticated animals were not to work on the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10); a person was to help an over-burdened animal, even an enemy’s (Exodus 23:4-5); one was not to unequally yoke an ox and a donkey (Deuteronomy 22:10); one was not to muzzle the ox when it was treading out the corn (Deuteronomy 25:45); they were not to disturb a bird sitting on its nest of young (Deuteronomy 22:6); and a young goat was not to be cooked in its mother’s milk (Exodus 23:19). While the upright person considers the welfare of his animals, the wicked have no such thoughts. Cruelty is their compassion. One can learn some things about a person’s character by how they treat animals. What are people learning about you?