What wonderful creatures dogs are! I have two; and, ironically enough, one is a guide and one is a herder. They are loads of love unless they think there’s a problem and then they are on high alert and ready to attack! I have no doubt these two understand this is a home they are safe in, they’ll be fed in, and they’ll get the brushing and ear rubs they enjoy. I also have no doubt that if the walking dead was to happen today, these two would do all they could, include giving their lives, to keep me safe as we wander around.
What one word describes a dog? Faithful. In fact, there is an attitude within Christianity stating that dogs represent faithfulness. (Sherman, Josepha (August 2008). Storytelling: An Encyclopedia of Mythology and Folklore. Sharpe Reference. pp. 118–121. ISBN 978-0-7656-8047-1.)
Faithful. We are told repeatedly that God is faithful in His Words.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deut 7:9 (NIV)
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor 1:9 (NIV)
We are also repeatedly called to faithfully follow God, faithful does not mean blindly but that’s another topic.
For if you carefully observe every one of these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, and remain faithful to Him— Deut 11:22 (HCSB)
He follows My statutes and keeps My ordinances, acting faithfully. Such a person is righteous; he will certainly live.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. Ezek 18:9 (HCSB)
But how do we do this? Life is hard! Temptation is everywhere! Morals and standards, reality and fantasy are confused! How do we remain faithful?
We LISTEN. “Anyone who has ears should listen!” (Mt 11:15, 13:9, Mk 4:9) (HCSB). We turn our emotional, biased, learned hearing off and listen to the purity of God’s words, through the Bible, prayer and faithful guidance from the Holy Spirit.
We DO. We worship God (Mt 2:8). We recognize Jesus Christ as His One and Only Son (Jn 1:14). We turn to the Holy Spirit to guide and goad us minute by minute, giving us courage when we decide to step away (Jn 14:26).
What does any of this have to do with dogs? When we CRY OUT, our faithful dog comes running, no matter the situation, just like the Holy Spirit. When we LISTEN and walk through the world around us, our faithful dog guides us (leads) or goads us (nudges from the back side to get our attention), so we avoid the ‘bad’ people, and find the ‘hurt and suffering’ ones. Then, we DO, and our faithful dog does with us; if he’s like mine sometimes it’s more licks than help but that’s help too.
As we struggle to understand God, His Word, and His Ways, it helps if we keep things simple and place things in terms people understand. I’m not calling the Holy Spirit a dog by any means, but my dogs do help me remember the Holy Spirit when I falter and don’t know where to lean.