We go camping fairly often and, when we do, we frequently take the dogs with us. Years ago we had retired racing greyhounds as our canine daughters, and they LOVED to ride in the RV. They were quiet and never barked, even when we were in the campground. Perfect traveling companions.
Now, as the hounds have passed on, and thinking that greyhounds were too big for us to handle, we have two small MinPin canine daughters, Cuddles and Snickers. I frequently refer to them in posts as they provide never ending illustrations, usually of behavior that we should avoid!
We have been trying to train them not to bark when we are in a campground. That is no small task given the fact that there are people (many of whom have their own dogs on leashes) walking past the RV, there are campers coming and going, there are people talking outside around the campfire, there are just noises upon noises all beckoning the girls to bark.
For Snickers, this no-bark concept is especially difficult. We don’t know how she was treated before coming to us, but she is very defensive and the hackles on her back raise at the slightest sound, which she then barks and growls at for an extended time. We have used various techniques and we are on the way to getting her to behave better, but we have found it curious, and humorous, that she has to have the “last word”.
She will start to bark and we say “No bark”, she will shut it down a notch and after several rounds of this between us she will put her head down, grumbling in doggie language, with one final subdued “woof”. If we say “No bark” after that “woof”, she will whine and then even more softly go “woof”. It is as if she has to have the last word.
All this background is to say that, if we are honest, we really are no different from Snickers. Consider for a moment Moses when he was saw the burning bush. The Lord told him that he was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but Moses raised numerous objections detailing why he could not do it. Exodus 3. The final “woof” was Moses’ cry “please send someone else”! Exodus 4:13. Scripture says:
“Then the Lord’s anger was kindled against Moses.”
No more excuses, Moses. Do what I direct you to do and I will be with you. Moses obeyed, God had the last word.
We humans think we can have the last word, but in reality, it is God who always has the last word.
We are lost in sin, we cannot stop ourselves. We may be able to do some nice things for others, but there is almost always a self-centered aspect to our activity. We are the center of our universe, and we think that this entitles us to have the last word about anything that touches us or our own universe.
This attitude ignores the cosmic reality that we are nothing, we are created beings who depend upon the Creator for our very life, for the air we breathe and for each beat of our heart. Satan is ruling us because of our sinful nature, but God even has the last word in that regard.
When Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross, it was not because of any sin that He had committed, rather it was because He was taking on the sin of all God’s children. Jesus was paying that price that God’s justice demanded so that those who believed in Jesus would be saved from eternal death. Just before He died, we read these words:
“… ‘It is finished’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”
Jesus did not just mean that it was time for Him to die. He meant that the job He came to earth to do was completed. There was nothing more that needed to be done to save His people, to satisfy the debt that they owed because of their sin. The way of salvation was completed, it was then and it still is finished. Sin had met its Conqueror, and God had the last word.
God will again have the last word as we see in the final book of the Bible, Revelation.
So, Beloved, rest in the Lord. When He is leading you to do something, do it without giving in to the temptation to try to get the last word, the final “woof” if you will. God always has the last word. Don’t test His patience, just raise your arms to your Father and thank Him for loving, guiding and encouraging you through whatever is ahead of you.
Father, please forgive me when I have insisted on having the last word. Enable me to see that this is disobedience of the highest order. I pray that the Holy Spirit would touch my heart when I am tempted to disobey and run in my own arrogance away from what You desire for me. Enable me to love You more, through Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Redeemer.