When you are in great distress and all these things have happened to you in later times, then you will return to Jehovah your God and listen to his voice.
Jehovah knew that eventually the Israelites’ descendants would lose faith in him and be ‘scattered among the peoples,’ (De. 4:27).
There, they would offend him when they fell into the practice of idol worshiping (De. 4:28).
But he would not forsake them.
“If you search for Jehovah your God from there, you will certainly find him, if you inquire for him with all your heart and with all your soul. […] For Jehovah your God is a merciful God. He will not desert you or bring you to ruin or forget the covenant that he swore to your forefathers,” (De. 4:29, 31).
Within the congregation, this may apply to those who either in the past or future commit serious sins against Jehovah and break the pact they made with him upon baptism.
What recourse do they have when later on in life they find themselves alone and in trouble?
God himself extends the following invitation:
“[…] If you return to me and observe my commandments and obey them, though your dispersed people should be at the end of the heavens, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place that I have chosen to have my name reside,” (Ne. 1:9).
The congregation doors are still open “and he will not turn his face away from you if you return to him,” (2 Ch. 30:9).
If you see that the donkey of someone who hates you has fallen under its load, you must not ignore it and leave. You must help him release the animal.
But the seventh year you should leave [the field] uncultivated and let it lie fallow, and the poor among your people will eat of it, and what they leave, the wild animals of the field will eat.
Six days you are to do your work; but on the seventh day, you are to cease from your labor, in order that your bull and your donkey may rest […]
You must not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
These verses are particularly moving as they highlight how Jehovah’s compassion extends to all living creatures.
His law protected even those who have no voice: animals.
Thus we humans are provided with some insight as to what he considers to be the ethical treatment of animals.
Though it is true that God put every living thing under the authority of humankind, he did not authorize us to abuse animals or expose them to cruel, anti-natural conditions, (Gen. 9:2,3).
This is why he prohibited the Israelites from boiling a goat in its own mother’s milk, for that milk was originally intended to nurture the goat, not kill it.
Truly, “the righteous one takes care of his domestic animals, even the mercy of the wicked is cruel,” (Prov. 12:10).