SermonRitualism Often Causes Animal Suffering
An all-creatures Bible Message

Ritualism Often Causes Animal Suffering
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
11 November 2018
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Ruth 4:1-17
Psalm 127:1-5
Mark 12:38-44

Ritualism often causes animal suffering, because most people only think about themselves or other humans, but unfortunately, even in the Bible and from the pulpits, they omit the animals or make them part of the ritual, such as with sacrifices, or with the “food” they eat.
If we are truly listening to the Lord our God, and living in His heavenly will, where there is no pain or suffering or death, we should be doing everything in our power to free the whole of creation from its present corruption.
And if we are doing this, then we need to think about everything that our religions advocate as well as worldly rituals, and seriously consider whether any aspect of them causes any harm to other humans, to other animals, or to the world we live in, and if they do, we need to reject them, because they are not in the heavenly will of God.
In Ruth 4:1-17, we will look at the ritual that Boaz goes through to marry Ruth…

1. Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, "Turn aside, friend, sit down here." And he turned aside and sat down.
2. And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, "Sit down here." So they sat down.

This is how rituals complicate our lives and often lead to further corrupting creation.

3. Then he said to the closest relative, "Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.
4. So I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it before those who are sitting here, and before the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if not, tell me that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am after you.'" And he said, "I will redeem it."

This ritual causes confusion because it does not bring out all the facts necessary to make an intelligent decision, which is very similar to what happens when people eat animals and their by-products, for they fail to consider the pain and suffering inflicted upon the animals.
So, after going through all of this ritual, Boaz presents more of the information that should have been presented in the first place.

5. Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance."

This kind of ritual also makes women to be the “property” of the men, which they should not be, and even worse, there is nothing said about any animals involved, and the animals are thinking, breathing beings just as we are who should not be exploited.

6. And the closest relative said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it."

This may make an interesting story, but it is not the way we should resolve situations like this, or the rituals that further corrupt any aspect of God’s creation.
We are to rise above these worldly rituals and think with the mind of Christ that reflects the heavenly will of God.

7. Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter: a man removed his sandal and gave it to another; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel.

This is a human ritual that is not in the heavenly will of God, for if it was we wouldn’t need such a ritual for our “yes” would mean “yes” and our “no” would mean “no” and we wouldn’t need anything else.

8. So the closest relative said to Boaz, "Buy it for yourself." And he removed his sandal.
9. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, "You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon.

The interesting thing about this is that Naomi and Ruth have no say in the matter, for the society discriminates against women.

10. Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today."

I hope we all have noticed that nothing is said about love, for it is not part of their “equation,” and thus not part of God’s heavenly will.

11. And all the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, "We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel; and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem.

Again, we hope that everyone can see that even the first part of their prayer views women only in terms of “making babies,” which is similar to the way we view animals, and not as the individuals who they are.

12. Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the LORD shall give you by this young woman."
13. So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
14. Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed is the LORD who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel.
15. May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him."

Think about what we are told here…the women seem to recognize that they are individuals with feeling just like the men, but we wonder if they would have said the same things about Ruth’s child if she were a girl.
Thank God, for today we would hear the same things said about women in this country, and hopefully one day we will also see and hear the same things said about animals, for each and every one of them has the God-given right to be recognized as the individuals who they are.

16. Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse.
17. And the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, "A son has been born to Naomi!" So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Notice that the women are also acting out of some cultural ritual, for a son was born to Ruth and not Naomi, and would they have done the same thing if Ruth had given birth to girl?
If not, it indicates that they have a cultural prejudice against women, for at that time men were considered superior to women, and such behavior was not in the heavenly will of God.
In Psalm 127:1-5, a psalm of Solomon, we see some of his cynicism and cultural prejudice being expressed…

1. Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.

If we do things that are not in the heavenly will of God, including most of the worldly and cultural rituals, then we cannot expect them to succeed, for the Lord is not with us.
If we look at the world around us, this doesn’t seem to be true; however, what we are seeing are only the short-time appearances, and not the long-time results.
This is particularly true when it comes to the exploitation and killing of animals, and this is why we say that ritualism often causes animals to suffer, but every year we are seeing more and more of this changing, and one day in the not too distant future, we will again see God’s heavenly will prevail.

2. It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

In reality, God does not seem to give to the lazy people.
We cannot sit back and do nothing and expect the Lord to feed us.
If everything we do is in the heavenly will of God, then we can expect the Lord to encourage us and help us.
Then Solomon switches to an even more cultural thing that we see nowhere in the heavenly will of God, and we still hear it being ritualized in some circles today, even though the world is overpopulated.

3. Behold, children are a gift of the LORD;
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

This can be true, but it is not always the case, as we all too often see.

4. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.

We know that war is always the result of this corrupt world, so it should be obvious to us that any comparison to war, as in this case, cannot be in the heavenly will of God.
And fathers who teach their children to kill any other living being, whether human or animal are not living in the heavenly will of God, but rather in the corrupt and evil ways of this world.

5. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

A quiver full seems to reference the number 6, and since the comparison is being made to violent acts, it tells us that this cannot be in the heavenly will of God.
As we take a look at Mark 12:38-44, think about how ritualism often causes animal suffering…

38. And in His [Jesus] teaching He was saying: "Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places,
39. and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets,
40. who devour widows' houses, and for appearance's sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation."

And in addition to all of this, they also considered animals to be the property of humans instead of God; thus, ritualism often caused animals suffering.

41. And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
42. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
43. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
44. for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on." 

This woman was living by faith and in the heavenly will of God, but many of the others were doing their things to impress others in the world around them, and not for the glory of God.
We all need to recognize the fact that every animal is also a part of God’s creation in addition to the humans He created, and that we have a responsibility to care for and protect the animals, all of them.
We are to take a stand against the corrupt and evil ways of this world, and recognize the fact that ritualism often causes animal suffering.
We can help end the ritualism of eating animals and their by-products and promote veganism and peace in the world around us.
The raising and killing of animals can never be compassionate, and it is never in the heavenly will of God, and we need to speak out against those who promote any and all forms of animal exploitation.

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