The Life I Learned from A Dog

The Life I Learned from A Dog

“But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God….” Jer. 7: 23

When I was a child we had a dog named, Rascal. He was a mutt who loved being around our family. We never did much to train him. If we were outside, he never tried to run away. He only wanted to be with us. When no one wanted go outside with him, we tied him up to a tethered line in the backyard.

One day, when our family went to church, we tied Rascal up and left. On our way home, we saw his limp body on the side of the road. He had escaped from his leash. Most likely, he tried to follow us unaware of the danger of cars. Now that I write about it, I find my only real memory of Rascal were the tears we shed that day.

When we got our next dog, Heidi, we decided to train her. We taught her the boundaries of our property. We made her sit down and look both ways before she crossed the street. Eventually, we could let her outside on her own. She would not run away, nor would she leave her boundaries. Heidi knew our voices and would obey our commands. It was safer for her than being tied up.

Whenever I read the line, “Obey my voice,” in the Bible, it makes me feel like a dog. It’s not the kind of relationship I want with God. Yet, why should I feel this way? When my children were little, I wanted them to obey my voice. It helped keep them safe when crossing a street. Obeying my commands was meant for their own safety. So, now as an adult, why does obey seem so offensive and demeaning?

It is true, obey can be interpreted as submitting to authority. However, it can also mean complying with a command, a direction or a request from a person. My wife requested I do more of the cooking in our house. I obeyed her request and our life is so much better for it. Perhaps, when we read scripture, it is worth looking for the life behind the command instead of the perception of oppression. It just might make you feel more free.

Click to read: Jeremiah 7: 23-27

Reflection Questions:

  • How does the word, “Obey,” make you feel?
  • Where do you obey requests that actually produce great joy and life?
  • When does a command feel oppressive?
  • Where does God commands help us find more life?

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