When my wife or I take our 10-month-old Bichon for a walk – even if it’s out to the unfenced backyard to do his business, we always place him on a leash. We know without a leash he’d take of like a shot at the first opportunity. Sometimes he would seize the opportunity as a time to play ‘chase’ or other doggy silliness. Other times he might sniff something interesting in the air and chase out after it. Mostly, though, I think he is just too exuberant and filled with life to want to stay tethered.
But Frenchie doesn’t know what we know about ‘life.’ There’s great danger off the leash. He could be hit by a car. He could be attacked by a coyote (I’ve encountered coyotes in our housing area, as close as our next-door neighbor’s yard). He could become miserably lost and frightened and hungry and cold for a very, very long time. Nevertheless, in his simplistic puppy-ness, he doesn’t like the leash. He probably gets annoyed with us because we’re preventing him from having fun.
One morning, as I stooped to pick up his offering in the grass, his leash slipped from my hand, and he took off. It scared me half to death. I tried all kinds of methods to coax him back to me – none were successful. Thankfully, Nancy saw from the window what had happened, and she was able to get him back into the house with the promise of one of his favorite treats.
We love our little dog. It would break our hearts if he broke free and got lost, or if harm came to him.
The other day as I walked with him around the neighborhood, Frenchie strained once again at the leash. And a thought suddenly dropped into my mind: “The Bible is like a leash.” I thought about that analogy for a few moments and realized how true is that comparison. Scripture’s commandments and exhortations and warnings and instructions are all there – like a leash – to keep us from getting miserably and frighteningly lost. His leash keeps us from harm – sometimes unspeakable harm.
That’s what God tells us through the apostle Peter: “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) It's what He tells us through Solomon: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” (Proverbs 3:1-2) And again: “Bind [the commandments] continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life.” (Proverbs 6:21-23).
From one end of the Bible to the other, God tells us He loves us so much that He has given us a leash to protect us. And I believe it breaks His heart when we throw off our leash for whatever reason. I believe it breaks His heart that we even get annoyed with His rules because those rules spoil what we think would be fun.
Reader, please listen. There’s a deadly, malevolent jungle beyond the walls of our homes. It even enters our homes through television and computer screens. And the roaring lion is always seeking to devour the untethered.
So, here’s the point: Embrace the leash. Do not simply read the Bible from cover to cover but ponder its messages to you. And then strive, with the Holy Spirit’s help, to obey those messages.
Oh! How your Father will grieve if you slip away from Him.