Monday, February 08, 2016

Jewel # 239 (February 7th, 2016)

“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 grand children,

The Meerkat

“O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast." 
How excellent is Thy loving-kindness.”
(Psalm 36:6-7)

Meerkats make their homes in southern Africa in two wild areas protected from hunters.  One place is called Kruger National Park and the other Kalahari Gemsbok Park (named after the deer-like gemsbok which is the park’s main resident).  Sharing these areas are gnus, springboks, hyenas, lions, leopards and ostriches.  The Creator has provided them all with abilities to adapt to the red sand dunes and hot, open country with its infrequent watering holes.

These reddish-brown, squirrel-like animals are a member of the mongoose family.  They are noted for living in groups of 25 or more.  Their lifestyle is rugged, and their major enemies are eagles, hawks and other birds of prey.  Another enemy is the cobra, but like the mongoose, meerkats are usually too quick to be caught and even seem to enjoy teasing these vicious snakes into striking without success until they give up.

Meerkats spend much time searching for food, consisting of insects scratched from the sand, as well as mice and lizards. While some are searching for food, others frequently stand upright on their hind feet (much like prairie dogs), in groups of a dozen or more with heads tilted back, on the alert for their enemies overhead.  If one is seen, a shrill warning is given, and all immediately dive into their nearby burrows.

A meerkat is not likely to wander off alone, for the group habit of watching out for each other is really the secret of their survival.  Those hunting food make a purring sound, enabling the others always to know where they may be.  If one wanders to an area where the watchers no longer hear the purr, they call it back.

When food is scarce, they move as a group to another location, usually where ground squirrels have already dug out burrows.  The meerkats take over without so much as a “thank you.”  Twice a year from two to four kits are born in these individual burrows and kept there for about a month.  When allowed outside, they find others to play with and are often joined in their play by older brothers and sisters and sometimes parents, all of whom help in their training.

The clever ways of meerkats in surviving and even thriving in such barren country remind us of the wisdom  of the Lord God when He created them and adapted them to such unusual conditions.  And He has done this with all His creation, as our beginning Bible verse indicates.  But of more importance, He has provided a home in heaven for every man and woman, boy and girl who accepts His loving invitation:  

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).

Have you accepted this invitation?

Love you all,
Grandpa         

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