I was walking my dog the other day when it struck me how a dog could serve as an illustration of human behavior in sin.
My dog is always straining at the leash, and when he is permitted to run free in the yard, he is always testing the limits. It doesn't seem to matter how large or small the yard is, the only thing the dog is interested in is the edge of the yard - and he is constantly trying to escape to the 'outside'.
My dog is generally responsive to voice commands, so I can walk him around the yard - or sometimes the neighborhood - without a leash, but now and then, he acts as though he is deaf. I know that he is not deaf; he can hear me open a bag of dog treats (or the container of animal crackers - his favorite!) from three rooms away. Nevertheless, he acts deaf when he thinks I cannot see him, or I am too far away to grab him. He is particularly hard of hearing when he is facing something he does not want to do - like take a bath or get a haircut.
Human behavior when facing the will of God is similar. We tend to always want to go where we ought not to go and to do the forbidden thing. When our circumstances permit little freedom, we seem driven to disobey in some small way, and take a perverse sort of comfort in doing so. Where we have no limits -or so it seems- on our conduct, we tend to try to find the limits by doing more and more absurd, foolish, or dangerous things. We tend not to hear the Word of God unless we are in trouble, or we want something from Him very urgently.
One day, I asked him why he was so contrary (as though he is capable of understanding everything I say) - and it struck me that his conduct was just like sinful man's conduct before God. That did not make his misbehavior much easier to deal with, but it did make me laugh -- and thank God that He is so much more patient and forgiving that I am often minded to be.
It also put me in mind of the poem by Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, called, "To a Louse", referring to the insect, not to a particular sort of human miscreant. Anyhow, the first two lines of the last verse are as follows:
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us.