Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Jewel # 212 (April 8, 2015)

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“And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up MY JEWELS.”
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,

A Big Fish

“The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
(Psalm 145:9)

Large fish are fairly common in salty ocean waters, but not many are found in rivers, streams or lakes.  So when a big pike or salmon, weighing from 30 to 80 pounds, is caught by a freshwater fisherman, it makes a good story.

However, in South America there is a freshwater fish by the name of arapaima, which can grow more than twice as long as a man, but the ones usually caught are no longer than 10 feet and weigh around 250 pounds.  But that is still a big fish, isn’t it?  This one makes its home in several South American lakes, but most are in sluggish streams or swamps that are part of the Amazon River system, where large quantities of small fish provide ample food for their huge appetites.  Mail arapaimas keep eggs warm in their mouths.*

The arapaima’s body (except for its head) is covered with olive-green scales on the front part, with the colour turning to soft red toward the back and deep red before reaching its big tail.  It has a long, two foot fin atop its body, from the tail forward, and another one underneath the same size, from it tail to its stomach.  A strange thing about this fish is that it frequently needs a supply of fresh air, as the water in which it lives does not have enough oxygen for the needs of its big body.  So every 10 to 15 minutes, it rises to the top, opens its mouth above the surface and noisily inhales a big gulp of air.

Fishermen catch them in various ways - sometimes with a huge hook and line made out of strong rope, at other times using a net, or some prefer going after them with a bow and arrow or spearing them with a harpoon.  After catching one and hauling it out of the water, a fish this size is, of course, too big to carry on mountain trails in one piece.  So the natives cut them up into small pieces to take to their homes or to the markets.

This is a very popular food considered by many as good as trout or salmon.  But their tongues are too tough and rough for eating, so these are allowed to dry and harden and then used as files on the woodwork of their native homes.

This unusually large fish is just one more, among thousands of others, which reminds us of the Creator’s pleasure in making many varieties when they were brought forth on the fifth day of creation.

As our opening verse says, He always keeps a watchful eye on them, providing for all their needs.  But His thoughts toward every boy and girl  are even greater.  The Bible tells us, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7).

Do you trust in Him?

Love you all

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