I could hear the plate being nudged and licked from the next room. Instantly, I knew who produced the eating noises because the suspect was a repeat offender. “Hey! Are you back on the counter again?!” Knowing she was caught red-handed, the guilty beagle hurried forward with her head bowed in shame. The little scalawag had swiped my entire turkey sandwich off the counter.
I have often wondered why she behaves this way. I understand the theft of my turkey club, but why does she always run to me in servility when she’s in trouble? Apparently, dogs do this as a sign of submission. According to zoological research, dogs will frequently lie down, lower their gaze, and bow with guilty eyes to convey, “I was wrong, and I am sorry.” Such humility is an innate habit that dates back to their wolf ancestors. They are demonstrating that they have transgressed the leader of the pack—you.
Mark that down as yet another reason why dogs are better than humans, because we do precisely the opposite when we steal the turkey. When we sin against God, our wicked instinct is to flee from Him rather than run to Him. We seldom ever confess our wrongdoing immediately after grasping something that God has purposely placed out of our reach.
We all suffer from “Jonah syndrome,” in which we strive to stay as far away from God as possible. If there’s a Tarshish-bound ship rowing away from His presence, we’ll pay the ticket and come aboard (Jonah 1:3). Such rebellion and resistance dates back to our human ancestors, Adam and Eve. When they sinned in the Garden, they made a hasty exit from the presence of the Lord: “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8).
However, the right response to transgressing God’s divine law ought to be submission to His authority and confession of wrongdoing. We ought to rush into God’s presence saying, “I was wrong, and I am sorry,” especially if we possess a new nature through faith in the “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45). When we “steal the turkey,” we ought to pray with King David:
“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment” (Psalm 51:3-4).
Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.