Lessons from Man’s Best Friend
October 16, 2019, 10:27 AM

Last Christmas, Emily finally gave in and allowed us to get a dog. Of course we got him for the kids, but naturally, he has become like one of the kids to us. He has become a part of the family and is pretty special to us. He has perfected the “puppy dog eyes” when he wants something and how to give attitude when he is mad at us. As I said, he’s like one of the kids. But for all of his good qualities and behavior, he does do some things that I find quite irritating. For instance, 3am bathroom breaks, going into the kids' rooms and waking them up at 7am on Saturday mornings, licking me on my bald head, and the way he chews up clothes hangers. The Bible talks about a particular habit that dogs have that is just a touch beyond irritating and leans to the side of repulsive. This teaching became abundantly clear to our family when Thor, our dog, got sick and vomited. While Emily and I were trying to get things together to clean it up, Thor began to clean it up himself. Toby thought this was cool and the girls were grossed out. It was a good opportunity for us as a family to discuss Proverbs 26:11. It says, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Some may think that’s a little over the top and offensive but there is much truth in it. First of all, the offense of the illustration is how God sees our sin and how repulsed He is when we continually return to it. Yet His mercy and grace always extend beyond the depth of our sin.

Secondly, sometimes the Lord allows us to return to our vomit after He repeatedly prevents and protects us from it. Not because He hates us but because that may be the only way we get our belly full, so to speak. Take for instance the Israelites living in the divided kingdom. Captivity was the eventual fate for both Israel and Judah because of their allowing and partaking in idolatry. In Daniel chapter one, we find Daniel and his friends as a part of the people having been taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and carried away to Babylon. Babylon was a place well known to be a major participant of idolatry and pagan worship. So, because of the people’s inability to remain faithful to God and abstain from idolatry, He allowed them to be carried away into a land consumed with idolatry. I can’t help but think that this was, in part, to allow them to get a belly full of the vomit of their sin of idolatry. Maybe their exposure to the sin would cause them to realize the folly of their ways and drive them to repentance and returning to God. In essence, God gave them over to the desires of the heart in order to cause them to eventually repent and return to Him.

Paul uses a similar rationale in 1 Corinthians 5 in dealing with the immoral brother. He says in verse 5 to hand the brother over to Satan that the sinful nature might be destroyed and the man’s soul be saved. The idea is to allow the man to get a belly full of his sin to the point he becomes sick of it and broken over his fallen condition and repents. This should not be confused as a license or encouragement to sin. God demands holiness and we are called to holiness through Christ. The prodigal son had to get to the point of being disgusted with his circumstances so that he would return to the father.

There is nothing pretty about a dog licking his own vomit and I intend in no way to glamorize sin. It’s the difference between eating from the King’s table and licking the vomit off the ground. Choose life and blessing by living according to the Word. Choose salvation in Jesus and walk faithfully according to His commands.  If you've been dining on the dog's cuisine, confess and repent and turn back to God that you may taste and see that the Lord is good.