Proverbs 26:11 (NLT)
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.
There are estimated to be about 90 million dogs in America with roughly half of all homes owning one. We all know the saying, “A dog is a man’s best friend,” but where the bible actually mentions dogs forty times…it never mentions them on a positive note. In biblical times, dogs were not kept as pets or guards or companions of any kind…they were basically looked upon like rats…only bigger. In today’s passage, Solomon references one of their more disgusting traits – dogs will eat their own vomit.
Solomon’s point should strike a familiar chord with anyone who has owned a dog or grown up in a house with one. Most dogs will indeed return to their own vomit and proceed to dine…again. It turns one’s stomach and most of us would move quickly to drive them away and clean it up rather than just letting them do it themselves. Oh, that we should be so disgusted when we return to familiar sins or foolish ways of living. In essence, our own piles of vomit.
A dog does not have the ability to contemplate the disgusting nature of this trait…nor does it have any ability to turn from it. But we are not dogs. Sadly, many of us return to our familiar sin patterns, and we oftentimes will repeat a foolish decision. God is always willing to receive our confession and repentance and restore us to a right relationship with Him (1 John 1:9), but we should never take our sin lightly nor should we take advantage of God’s amazing grace (Rom. 6:1-2).
There can be no partial turning from sin. None of us should seek to manage it. It never works. It never will work. You can still smell the vomit, and sadly… you will turn to it again. Like Joseph with Potiphar’s wife, every Christian must flee their temptations and sins with all their might and speed. We must eliminate the sources of the temptation, or at the very least, choose to stay far away from them. We must completely satisfy our appetites with spiritual things. We must direct our thoughts to “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Phil. 4:8). Only then will we have no hunger for our own vomit.