Proverbs 26:11: As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.
The world around you contains powerful object lessons for your instruction. A contemptible behaviour of dogs should impress on your mind the disgusting nature of sin and the foolishness of those who return to it! Though the picture is less than the reality, the point is made!
What we see in Solomon’s proverbs, here is a simple simile of how he makes a comparison between a natural event and a moral principle. Similes are identified by their use of “like” or “as.” In just a few words, you have a powerful description and condemnation of fools.
You will also notice in Proverbs, that God has chosen different creatures to give us a number of lessons. Within the proverbs we read of the ant, lion, spider, swine, Coney, eagle, horse leach, snake, greyhound, goat, and locust etc.
The dog is not the Creator’s best friend. Scripture mentions dogs forty times without one positive note. They are dirty creatures representing sodomites, wicked men, devils, greed, noise, and viciousness. They are compared to pigs. They are a byword. But fools still exceed them by the greedy and voracious appetite they have for reviling and wicked sins!
A disgusting trait of dogs is to eat their own vomit. When their stomachs reject disturbing food, they return and eat it again. It is a shame you do not have the same sickening horror for sin that you do for this picture of a dog vomiting his dirty and eating it again. It would benefit us spiritually if we could learn to shun our sinful lusts and sins!
Though man was made in the likeness of God, a little lower than the angels, the holy God compares our fallen state to one of His most shameful creatures. Satan told our first mother, “Ye shall be as gods.” But the righteous Judge declared, “You are like dogs.” Sinful comparisons are used in the Bible to show man’s shameful character and treatment of the Most High God, like spiritual adultery in Ezekiel chapters 16 and 23.
Peter declared Solomon’s words to be a true proverb (II Pet 2:20-22). He used it to condemn those who forsake their conversion and return to the vomit of this world, as Lot, Solomon, Demas, and others. To escape the pollutions of this world and then return to be entangled in them again puts a man in a worse condition than before conversion.
Folly is sin. Even the thought of foolishness is sin (Pr 24:9). Folly causes great shame and pain in souls and lives (Pr 13:15; Ps 36:2; Jer 2:19). Sin hurts men; it hurts their families; it hurts their fortunes; it hurts their fame; it hurts their health. Yet men rush back to it again and again, even after sober and vehement oaths of repentance and reformation. What is wrong with them? Their instincts are depraved and defiled! They love that which they should hate, and they hate that which they should love! They are perverse!
A bad heart attack will get a man’s attention – even a lazy glutton! A couple days after bypass surgery, he wants the specific details of super nutrition and the best exercise program. He makes resolutions, plans his schedule, and orders a year’s worth of a good diet to help him heal. But after three months of no nyama (meat) he is again eating the same foods he was told not to eat. Did he forget the crushing pain of his heart attack? Or does he love the poison that almost killed him? Or both?
Consider a drunkard (Pr 23:29-35). He has problems, sorrow, contentions, babbling, and wounds from his drinking. He loses his job, his driving license, his wife, his children, and his reputation. He gets sick and feels as if he spent the night lying on the street! Yet he says, “When I wake up, I will look for it again.” Fool! Dog! Exactly. Back to the vomit!
Ahab repented and walked humbly before the Lord – for a few minutes. Then he rushed back to his vomit and was killed (I Kgs 21:27-29; 22:8). Pharaoh begged Moses for relieve from the plagues and promised to let Israel go. But as soon as he felt relief, he hardened his heart and returned to his stubborn foolishness (Ex 8:15). How many times did God forgive and deliver Israel, and then watch them rush back to pagan vomit (Ps 78:33-42) over and over?
Dear friend, what dirty have you vomited up and thrown away by the grace of God and the conviction of His Spirit? What things have you rejected? You will be tempted to return to it. Which vomit tempts you? Complaining? Pornography? Ungodly music? Drunkenness? Lustful fantasies? Gluttony? Television? Bitterness? Fornication? Disobedience to parents? Marital defrauding? Lack of submission? Backbiting?
There can be no partial turning from sin. It never works! It never will work! You can still smell the vomit, and you will turn to it again. Friend, you must run away from your temptations and sins with all your power and speed! You must eliminate the sources of the temptation! You must completely satisfy your appetite with spiritual things, so you have no hunger for vomit. There are no shortcuts. If you hang around the filth and dirt, you will take it up again.
If a dog had a conscience, it would be ashamed of its shameful nature. But what of human sinners! Their return to defiling sin is worse! Where is their shame? They will soon have everlasting shame and contempt, unless saved by the Lord Jesus Christ (Dan 12:2).
Only by the grace of God and the gift of repentance can a man be saved from his bad practice and the traps of Satan (II Tim 2:25-26). If you have the least degree of conviction about any sin at this moment, repent immediately and take drastic measures to remove from your life of that sinfulness. Run to Jesus Christ. Perhaps the grace of God will save you today.
Let us say with the psalmist, “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly” (Ps 85:8). Let us hear the warning of our Saviour, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14).