God has taught me countless lessons in my 25 years on this earth but the ones that stick with me most are the lessons He’s taught me through dogs. Dogs are the best! You know it, I know it, we all know it. Most often, these dog lessons come as a result of reading my Bible and experiencing Biblical truths played out in my interactions with dogs. But every so often the Bible itself teaches lessons specifically through dog analogies. Needless to say these are some of my favorites! In this installment of “Dog Theology” we’re going to look at a couple verses that warn us not to be like a dog. Proverbs 26:11 is a great place to start, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness”. This is a powerful (and pretty disgusting) image. Usually when we think of foolishness we tend to think of the town drunk or perhaps the class clown from high school. Foolishness, understood in our current culture, is usually synonymous with silliness or goofiness. But this analogy is much more severe. A dog eating it’s own puke is not a funny thing, it’s vile. I picture a golden retriever wolfing down his vomit before his owner can come stop him.
“Ok, Park! That’s enough. Get on with the point!” Well, my point is that foolishness, as described in the Bible, is not a fun or wacky thing to be amused with. Foolishness is serious business. This depiction is more than just being ignorant, it’s an active and continuous refusal to learn from your foolishness and turn from it. We have a disgusting sort of love for our own foolishness, because it’s ours, yet we have very little tolerance for someone else’s.
This metaphor, as used in the Book of Proverbs, it’s about foolishness in general but in the New Testament, Peter places this dog proverb in the context of pronouncing condemnation on the foolishness of false teachers and he warns those who have heard the true gospel not to turn from it, for that would be the essence of foolishness. He also adds a pig to the analogy just in case we miss his meaning, “the dog returns to it’s own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:22). Earlier in the letter he reminds his audience that “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved”.
Peter’s admonition is still important for us today. While we should all take the warning in Proverbs seriously, it’s important to especially avoid the greatest foolishness possible, which is hearing the good news of Jesus Christ and turning from it back to our own vomit. Creation testifies to our Creator God and our conscience condemns us everyday; we know that God is good and that we continually anger Him with our thoughts and deeds. God decided to punish His own Son for our sins so that anyone who would put their faith in Jesus is free from condemnation and gets to enjoy an intimate relationship with God forever! If you’ve just read that for the first time ever then I urge to turn from your foolishness/perceived self-sufficiency and cling to Christ. For those who have heard this good news and actively embrace it, I urge you to continue turning from your foolishness as well.
It’s a daily fight, I can testify to that personally. My own vomit is particularly disgusting and yet I still feel it’s allure everyday. By the grace of God, my nature is being changed and that vomit is looking less and less like a T-bone steak and more like the pile of puke it truly is. God, save us from our foolishness! We need You to open our eyes and teach us to run for our vomit rather than wallow in it and snarf it down!
Most of my dog theology posts are more tender than this one but this is a lesson I continually need to learn and that I pray I remember more often when my old life try’s to get it’s hooks back in me.
We no longer have to live as irrational creatures of instinct, rather, we are free to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.