Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beware Of The Dog!

The other morning as I was sitting on my back porch drinking some coffee, I noticed my neighbor’s dog chained up in their back yard. The chain was attached to the corner of their shed, and the dog paced back and forth in an arc from one side of the shed to the other. I’d seen this same image before growing up. I too had a dog I had to tie up because no matter what, she would manage to dig out of the yard and send me on a wild dog chase. At the end of her rope all along the farthest point she could walk, was a well worn path -- the proof of her presence, the limit of her reach. For the outsider, it was a line that shouldn’t be crossed. For me, it was a limit of how close I could get to her, without her jumping up on me and getting my clothes muddy. Occasionally, I would cross the line – the mud worn path and enter into her world to offer her contact, touch, & companionship.

The neighbor’s dog reminded me of that old Looney Tunes cartoon where the big, obnoxious rooster – Foghorn Leghorn would constantly harass the tied-up Barnyard Dog. The rooster would even measure at times, the extent of the dog’s rope, to know just how far or how close he could get without getting chewed on. At some times, the conniving dog would lengthen his rope and catch the unsuspecting rooster and really give him what for.

I started thinking about this story and relating it to another story that’s found in the bible. The 20th chapter of Revelation (a book with which I hesitantly mention because it has so much symbolism, and I am such a novice with its interpretation) also tells us a story about a dog that’s chained up. Well, it’s more accurately described as a dragon, or that old serpent – the Devil.

Just briefly, the story as first read in Revelation 12:9 implies that the Devil was cast out of heaven and given roam over the earth. The Devil no longer pestered God with accusations of His people, but moved through His people on earth and entering into whomever allowed him to. The story again is picked up in Revelation 20:2 in how the Devil was bound by a chain for a time. This chain again implies that the Devil was not destroyed, but was limited to a certain area – kind of like my neighbor’s dog. As long as I stayed away, he could not get to me. But, if I chose to stroll on into his domain, he’d have much to do with me.

The simple point I’d like to offer is this: How easy it is to see a vicious dog on a chain, see the worn path, and know it’s limitations of how far it can move and decide to stay away. It doesn’t take a real bright person to know to stay away from this threat. We know the consequences of stepping across the line. Even an innocent excuse as needing to get a ball that rolled over into this area, and suddenly find ourselves trapped doesn’t diminish the consequences of stepping over into the area.

Sin is the same way. If we think about it, we don’t purposely look at a temptation face to face – eye to eye and say, “I’m going to go in there, grab a coke, be out the door, and be on my way.” It’s a crazy, risky idea and one that needs to be thrown out as quick as possible. In fact, the brightest thing I could think to do, would be to see how far away I could stay away from the threat.
James 4:7
1 Corinthians 10:13

Am I Listening To What God Is Saying In His Word?


  1. Good stuff Paul; love the chain imagery!


  2. Great point! How often do we convince ourselves we can mess around with sin? Thanks for the reminder!