More than half of the world’s chameleons live in Madagascar. They have a special technique for stalking insects to eat. They quietly creep up on the little fly with their two protruding eyes scanning everything in two different directions from their head like the seahorse. Their long tail can curl about a branch for good anchor as they are ready to spring their tongue out as far as two and a half the length of their body to grab the fly. Their toes are opposite each other and can grip two sides of a branch in a pinching motion. The sticky tongue can dash out and return faster than the human eye can see. No wonder the fly cannot get away very often.
The chameleon is well known for its ability to change colors when frightened, or whenever the temperature changes. The color change is caused by hormones that affect certain pigment cells in the skin. The color change can happen from a male wanting to frighten off another male entering his territory. A mirror was used for getting a picture of this territorial color change. When the male saw himself, he dashed up to the mirror and turned a bright red and crashed into the mirror. The color changes do not always match the environment.
Many chameleons have heads that looked like they are armed for war. Some have three horns and they use these horns in combat. The tiniest of these will fit on the end of a thumb.
They eyes that can see separately, the toes gripping like pinchers and the tail which anchors this little lizard on a branch, reminds me of a sawhorse’s abilities. The same God has fashioned this little fly catcher with some special talents. He has not left you without talents. You can choose to use your special abilities for helping others learn about God, or you can pretend you can do nothing.
God has designed a teaching tool where He teaches using colors. In Exodus 25:8, God instructed Moses to build a colorful tent for God to live among the other campers. He wanted to be right in the middle of all of them. Each color in the tent told a part of the story. The red represented His blood shed for us. The blue represented His law. The purple was a mixture of the two symbolizing mercy. The silver, bronze, gold and white also had meaning. Read these stories for greater detail.
Sea horses have a very interesting appearance. They kind of look like a horse but they are a fish. These fish with heads like horses, live in warm ocean waters where they hide among the grasses, sponges, seaweeds, or corals. God has designed them in several different colors and shapes. They have cousins that look like floating branches or weeds like the sea dragon. The pipe fish is also a cousin and it just looks like a long pipe body. These are designed so well that it is very hard to see them among the sea weed.
Have you ever seen people that look like they are looking in two different directions at once? The sea horse has this ability. They rotate their eyes in different directions on either side of their heads.
Their thick bumpy skin is tough and prickly. It can change color to match anything they have around them. They can turn white, red, or yellow. Some can turn orange or purple. Usually they are beige, brown or gray. They have a little fin on their back and at the place you would expect an ear that beats back and forth and helps them to move along through seaweed without getting tangled up.
The long skinny snout works like a vacuum. It vacuums up its food like some hungry children I have seen. It looks like they eat it so fast it is just vacuumed inside. They like to eat shrimp.
Their long tails can curl around a seaweed and anchor themselves to one place. Their eyes, their ability to change color to match their environment and their tails gripping remind me of the chameleon. The same CREATOR made them. One is under water and the other runs around in the trees.
Now when it comes to raising families, the daddy seahorse does all the work. Did God make a mistake? He loves variety. Packed into a pouch on the Seahorses, God made a baby nursery. Like the kangaroo this pouch is the place where the baby can grow up till it can care for itself. The female comes to this pouch and puts in as many as 1,500 eggs. She sticks around as if waiting for the results. Often every morning she comes to her husband, changes color, grabs him by the tail with hers and she twirls around. This is probably seahorse language for "Hi, how are you?"
When it comes time for the babies to come out of his pouch, the daddy seahorse grabs onto a seaweed with his tail and begins rocking back and forth. With little puffs of energy he pushes them out one by one. It is interesting that the pouch has spongy walls with food provisions for the babies. These babies look just like the parents but are the size of a fingernail.
Use this story and the chameleon story to open the Bible lesson number 11 on
the basic set of Bible lessons beginning the sanctuary. Or use this story to
open the 5 different Bible lessons on the Sanctuary theme: Passover, Pentecost,
Day of Atonement, or Feast of Tabernacles. See website www.larom.org
Story and illustration by Dr. Rose