(From the 12/21/2020 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie)
The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 26:11-20 Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly. Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!” As the door turns on its hinges, So does the sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can give a discreet answer. Like one who takes a dog by the ears Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him. Like a madman who throws Firebrands, arrows and death, So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “Was I not joking?” For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.
Dog vomit is not a subject matter one expects to hear about when at church. Talking about it stinks, it's sticky business. When dogs behave as dogs do, in relation to vomit, we are repulsed. We cannot imagine behaving in such a vile manner, yet this is nothing for the dog because it is well within its nature. If you own a dog you are surely aware of their natural tendencies toward disgusting behaviors, and recognize that were a man, woman, boy, or girl to behave as the dog does, it would be an abominable thing to behold.
Yet, this is the comparison we find in the text this morning.
Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly
Peter, in reference to false teachers, says it this way in his second letter:
2 Peter 2:20–22 (NASB95): 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”
So you see, just as our sensibilities are assaulted by the thought of a dog returning to their vomit for "second breakfast", so too ought we be mortified at the thought of someone who has tasted and seen that the LORD is good, turning from Him back into sin, and death. Brothers and sisters, it happens. A young person comes to what appears to be a saving knowledge of Christ for a season, then they fall away in favor of pursuing the lust of the flesh.
A child grows up in church, riding the coattails of mommy and daddy's faith, grows up, turns 21, then realizes they love their hidden sin more than Jesus. They stumble and fall headlong into destruction, returning to their sin as a dog does to its vomit. A grown man or woman, after spending decades in the church finds out that their child is a homosexual, and low and behold, suddenly they no longer agree with scriptures position on human sexuality, and they plunge into apostasy.
These examples of men, women, boys, and girls ought horrify us infinitely more than the thought of dogs returning to their vomit. They serve to remind us that the deceitfulness of sin, and sinners, is greater than we can imagine. People who run the race for a season and fall away show us that unless God in His grace gives us a new nature, our disposition as natural men and women will always lead us back into sin to feast upon that which made us sick and separated us from God. Like dogs returning to vomit are fools that repeat their folly. This all too common occurrence is painful to behold, and should strike us square in the heart with a healthy fear of the LORD.
Hebrews 6:4–7 (NASB95): For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
Brothers and sisters, if this is you, if you are one who is merely playing church: be warned. If you are a young person who has mommy and daddy fooled, biding your time till that day when you can cast off the loving yoke of Christ in favor of the shackles of sin: beware. If you are one who recognizes the disgusting, abominable, gut wrenching nature of the dog returning to its vomit, yet fails to see the danger of your flirtations with sin: take heed lest you fall. If outwardly you conform to God's word like a good little Pharisee, clean on the outside, yet inside you are filthy and vile and full of sin and lust: be very afraid. As Hebrews tells us your fruit is worthless, you are close to being cursed, and will end up being burned.
Repent dear friends, and turn back to Christ. There is no help for you in the things after which you lust. There is no salvation for you in the things of this world. The promises of life offered to you in regards to things God has declared to be abominable, are lies whispered to you from the devil himself, and will lead to your fall. Run to the refuge found in Jesus.
If you are able, let us kneel and repent of drinking from the bitter spring of sin.
Pardon all our sins of this day, week, year,
all the sins of our lives,
sins of early, middle, and advanced years,
of omission and commission,
of morose, peevish and angry tempers,
of lip, life and walk,
of hard-heartedness, unbelief, presumption,
of unfaithfulness to the souls of men,
of want of bold decision in the cause of Christ,
of deficiency in outspoken zeal for his glory,
of bringing dishonour upon thy great name,
of deception, injustice, untruthfulness
in our dealings with others,
of impurity in thought, word and deed,
of covetousness, which is idolatry,
of substance unduly hoarded, improvidently
not consecrated to the glory of thee,
the great Giver;
sins in private and in the family,
in study and recreation, in the busy haunts
in the study of thy Word and in the neglect
in prayer irreverently offered and coldly
in time misspent,
in yielding to Satan’s wiles,
in opening our hearts to his temptations,
in being unwatchful when we know him nigh,
in quenching the Holy Spirit;
sins against light and knowledge,
against conscience and the restraints
of thy Spirit,
against the law of eternal love.
Pardon all our sins, known and unknown,
felt and unfelt,
confessed and not confessed,
remembered or forgotten.
Good Lord, hear; and hearing, forgive.
In Jesus's Name we pray, amen.
Prayer adapted from the Valley of Vision prayer titled "Sins".
Please stand and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:
Luke 1:68-75 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant— As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old— Salvation from our enemies, And from the hand of all who hate us; To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!