What dog loves a leash? What colt loves a halter? What calf loves a noose around its nose? None! Of course not. All want to be free.
Who loves a mask? Who likes the restrictions we have to follow to keep safe? The answer is the same: none of us love it by nature, yet we know the restrictions keep us safe. Without the restrictions we could become victims of the virus.
The same is true of the animals. The dog may do his best to get free of the leash, never realizing he owes his survival to it.
The colt has to get use to the halter if it is to be of any long term benefit. And the same with the calf.
A number of years ago we had a neighbor who had a little Chihuahua puppy she dearly loved. She wanted the best for that little animal, but she made herself a lot of trouble because she would not cross that puppy’s wishes. The dog didn’t like the leash, and she would not press the issue. No, that dog would not have a leash against its will. She didn’t realize how seriously she was hurting the dog.
This is where God sees what is best for us. In our wild, willful state, God can’t use us. We have to learn to submit and know that the restraints in His law are all for our good, our safety, our benefit.
Ultimately they are for our ETERNAL good. Shouldn’t we thank God for the “leash”?
A dog may not come to understand that, or the colt, or the calf, but we who have been given minds can understand. In our submission is our safety.
Is submitting our only option? No, we can refuse to submit. We can revolt—and die. We get our own way, but with what benefit?
This is the attitude God found in his people all through the ages. The leash – the restrictions, the boundaries, the commands, the strict enforcement of the laws, was all for Israel’s good. But they didn’t like it, and they revolted against it. To their own peril.
Psalm 10:4 4The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
And what is their end?
Proverbs 2:21–22 21For the upright shall dwell in the land, And the perfect shall remain in it. 22But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, And the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
Where does this take us? Right to the commands of Scripture, where we can read in so many words what happened to those who refused to submit, refused the leash, refused to be trained, and went their own way. To their own death.
It happened very early in the day of salvation. In fact, it is included in the allegory of Genesis to show us what we are. As soon as the law was given, it was declined. Those in the garden did not want the leash, they did not want to hear the “thou shalt not’s,” even if it was for their good! Let us read the account. And keep in mind that this is all written in timeless symbols, to show us ourselves:
Genesis 2:15–17 15Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
As soon as God said, “Thou shalt not,” Eve said, “I shall!” Why should she limit her thinking to any mandate of the law of God, especially when the serpent (her own nature) was there to take her side.
And influence? By her actions, she persuaded her husband to do the same. No “leash” for them! Where did it take them? Right outside the garden, where the “flaming sword” guarded the way to the tree of life.
They wanted their own way. And they got it.
Everything useful has to have controls, restraints, a “leash.” James says:
James 3:2–4 2For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
Bits for horses’ mouths, rudders for ships, a leash for dogs, and “thou shalt not” for us.
But any of these requires a humble spirit. Submitting. Giving up our will and our way.
This is not natural. Where does the saying come from, that “it is not in flesh to be humble”? Right out of the Scriptures, and right out of our naturally stubborn heart. Hear more of it from James.
James 4:1–3 1Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
It is our instinct to look out for ourselves. But James says more, about the benefits of submitting to God because God loves the humble.
James 4:5–7 5Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? 6But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 7Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Submit to God. In other words, accept the leash.
Paul said it also in Ephesians 5:
Ephesians 5:21 21[Submit] yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Why is the law of God unpopular? Because it is a restraint, a control outside ourselves, given to keep us in the right way. It actually keeps us from hurting ourselves until we are safe and out of trouble.
What was David’s feeling toward the law of God?
Psalm 119:72 72The law of thy mouth is better unto me Than thousands of gold and silver.
He saw it as REAL VALUE—above anything he could imagine. The law of God was worth more than “thousands of gold and silver.”
He saw the law of God as the treasure of the godly man.
Psalm 1:1–2 1Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
The one who gets God’s blessing DELIGHTS in the law of God.
2… his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
What did David say about his own regard for God’s law? He loved the “leash!”
Psalm 119:97 97Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Again he said:
Psalm 119:163 163I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law.
Psalm 119:113 113I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law.
Psalm 119:77 77Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.
Psalm 119:165 165Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.
Like David, we have every reason to accept – and LOVE the leash. In it is our safety, our surety, and ultimately our escape from death.
One more thought about the leash: When we clip it to the collar of our little animals, WE are in control. With God, it is all VOLUNTARY. He is not forcing us. It is for our good, if we submit. But if we pull away, that is our choice. And our peril. But it is OUR decision. And that is what He is looking for. He wants our WILLING obedience. Our WHOLE hearted service. Our ENTIRE dedication. WE hold fast. That is what will keep us safe now, and give us the right to STAY in His keeping and care through ETERNITY!