I once owned a black Labrador retriever for fourteen years, (or he owned me I feel quite certain in his mind he owned me). This dog was very smart, I got him as a just-weaned puppy and trained him myself. I had a two- and one-half-acre lake in my backyard and I could take him to the backside of the lake and instruct him to “stay”. I would walk all the way around the lake back to my house, go inside and fix a glass of tea and go out on my deck and he would still be sitting there attentively watching for me and waiting for his next command. I would raise my hand and wave for him, and he would take off running like the wind. I could blow my whistle and he would immediately stop, sit down, and wait for his next command. I would wave him on, and he would take off again. I could motion to the left and he would go left; motion to the right and he would go right. I could motion downwards to him, and he would lie down, and could even command him to crawl. He was a wonderful hunting dog and retriever, and it was a thing of beauty to watch him work.
He would sit next to me in a duck blind and woe unto me if I shot and missed a duck. He would all but bite me and look at me with sheer disgust. I actually had to apologize when that happened before he would lose the attitude and quit sulking.
His name was Bear and he was a great dog and companion, but Bear had his faults. He knew what to do and he knew what not to do, but sometimes he just could not help himself. Once he wanted to chase some tame ducks at a park. He started running after them and I called him, and he stopped and looked at me momentarily. I said don’t you do it, but then he took off like the wind chasing the ducks. He knew he was wrong to do so but he was rebellious. He also knew he would be punished when he got back but he just did it anyway. I removed the tame duck squirming in his mouth and released it and then slapped him about the head and wherever I could land a blow and he would just shut his eyes and take it. It hurt my hand more than it hurt that boney head. When I was through, he would shake his head, followed by his body down to his tail, and then wag his tail and smile at me with a silly look on his face and his ears submissively held back, thankful that I was no longer mad at him, and life would be good again.
I wonder how many of us are like old Bear. We know that something we want to do is wrong but it looks like so much fun, we momentarily consider the consequences, and then we take off like the wind deliberately violating God’s laws and knowing full well that there is going to be a consequence to that sin. I’m sure God takes no pleasure in punishing us, but He demands our obedience and will not tolerate our rebellious nature. He cares that we focus on Him and surrender to Him more and more each day. If we disobey we will be punished.
The best policy is to submit to God and obey His commands. His commands are for our own good and will lead to peace, joy, and prosperity. He loves us and wants to bless us. As with any loving father though, God will discipline us if we force the issue. If we make a mistake, we should follow old Bear’s example, he knew he was going to get a whuppin’ but he took it like a man . . . er . . . dog; we should do likewise. Submit to God today and enjoy life.
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword