As a dog returns to its vomit,
so fools repeat their folly.
A pretty confronting proverb isn’t it? It portrays a pretty gross image of the dog returning to something so vile and disgusting.
And yet, King Solomon finds in this illustration of a dog a similarity to humanity. We too, like the dog, can be prone to return something even more vile and disgusting. We too are all too prone to wander from following Jesus to return to sin that Jesus saved us from.
This proverb puts in proper perspective the vile and disgusting nature of our sin. All through Romans 1-3 we have seen how God sees ungodliness, how he hates hypocrisy and how there is no one who is righteous, not even one. We have seen all of the gruesomeness of sin.
But we have also seen the new life available through Jesus. Jesus bore that vile and disgusting life we all lived when he died on the cross and gave us his beautiful righteous life that we don’t deserve. We have been justified, declared not guilty in his sight. We see the new life of following Jesus, instead of Adam, as true freedom and true life. A life that is much greater than what the vile and disgusting life of sin and death could ever offer.
But when you’re tempted to fall back into the old, sinful life that you turned from, let me encourage you to see that sin and that life in its most vile sense that we get from this proverb. See it for how useless and disgusting it is and instead set your eyes on the beautiful life of obedience that Jesus has won for us through the cross.
When you realise you have returned to that old life, remember that God still loves you, that your sins have been forgiven by Jesus and that you have his beautiful, righteous life and let that encourage you to continue living in freedom.
There are times when we are all too aware of our sin and need encouragement to keep going. 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 are some of those verses that can helpfully encourage us.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:13-14. What do these verses tell us to do? What reason do these verses give to do it? What hope do we have when we are facing temptations? How can these verses comfort you when you face temptation to return to the old way of life?
My works and my sin before you are nothing but filthy, disgusting rags. But you are so holy, I do not deserve to be in your presence because of my sin. Thank you for the cross. Thank you that by the cross I can have new life in freedom from sin and obedience to you. Please help me to continue turning from sin to following you. Continue to remind me of the grace you have given me in Jesus, so that I would not value sin but see it as worthless comparing to the real life following you.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.