Have you ever seen a dog throw up only to return and consume what he just purged from his stomach? It is totally gross and beyond anything we would ever consider. The writer of Proverbs uses it concept to drive home a point.
Proverbs 26:11 says “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Now you might be saying that’s true for a fool, but not for me. While I’m pretty certain we’ve never eaten those types of leftovers, how many of us do something we know we shouldn’t do, but we do it anyway. And to make matters worse, we promised ourselves last time we would never do this again. Sound remotely familiar? Well, don’t beat yourself up over it. After all, even the Apostle Paul struggled with this [Romans 7:15]. Sin and temptation are always going to come knocking at our door. The question is, will we answer the door and invite them in to stay?
1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” We have to remember “with God, all things are possible” [Matthew 19:26]. We are not alone.
Being a practical person, I decided to do a little research about dogs eating their own vomit to see what we could learn from it. I have to say, while I don’t recommend reading it right after breakfast, the website I stumbled upon had some good suggestions for us.
First, they indicate the desire to eat vomit is firmly rooted in wild dog behaviors [Romans 7:18]. It is simply the way a dog is made. Sound familiar? We are born with a sinful nature. Once we acknowledge it, then we can begin to put strategies in place to set us up for success.
Secondly, it is recommended you strictly monitor what your dog consumes [Philippians 4:8]. If we feed on the things of God, then they will become what we desire. If we are focused on things that contradict God, then we will begin to crave them and become addicted.
Thirdly, you need to watch your dog carefully; don’t let him out of your site. For us, this step is accountability. We need godly men and women in our lives that have our permission to stick their nose in our lives and hold us to what we say we believe [Proverbs 27:17].
Finally, it recommends you immediately clean vomit the moment it happens, so there is nothing there for the dog to eat and then use vinegar to take away the smell of vomit so the dog won’t be drawn to that area again. The same is true for us when we sin. We need to draw near to God so He can wash the sin away and remove any scent of it that could draw us back [Hebrews 10:22; 1 John 1:9 and Proverbs 5].
Who knew you could learn so much about Jesus from dog vomit? God is practical and He speaks to us by using real life situations to drive His point home. We need to avoid the vomit. It doesn’t sound difficult, does it, yet we tend to be drawn back to those things. We cannot avoid it in our own strength, but we can “do all things through Him who strengthens” us [Philippians 4:13].
Pause for a moment and ask the Lord if the enemy is placing vomit along your path today, and if so, ask Him to redirect your path and give you the strength to avoid it. He’s ready, able, and willing. He’s just waiting on you.