We’ve been in our new house for about a month or so. I’ve only met a few of the neighbors but most of them seem really nice. The guy across the street used to ride motorcycles with a friend of mine. The guy next to him likes to talk about guns. And the kid down the street likes to stand by silently while his dog tries to maul me.
Two out of three ain’t bad.
Several days ago I went for a run. I think that dog had me down on his calendar.
Friday, 6 am – scrape posterior on driveway
Friday, 7 am – try to kill the guy that just moved in
I don’t know how things worked out with his 6 a.m. appointment but the one at 7 was almost a success.
When I ran by the first time I saw the dog standing with his kid owner. For some reason, this reassured me. I knew that this dog was trouble but I thought that maybe the presence of a five-year-old would help him to stay calm. I was wrong. The dog chased me for about fifty yards while the kid gave almost muted commands.
“Stop. Don’t bite him. Please.”
I’m not sure if the kid was talking to me or the dog. Neither one of us listened.
I finally got away but knew that I would be back in about 30 minutes. I prepared myself for survival. As soon as I came up over the hill and onto my street for the second engagement, the dog saw me. This time he chased me even further before I finally pulled away, safely in my house. That dog is really intent on keeping his appointments.
Both times, my adrenal glands came to my rescue. There’s just something about a set of jaws that are coming after you that does wonders for your speed.
Sometimes the Bible is like our adrenal glands. In it we find hope that carries us through very difficult and challenging times.
The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you. Psalm 102:28 (ESV)
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3 (ESV)
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (ESV)
But sometimes Scripture is like the dog at the end of my street. Along with the Holy Spirit, it chases us down, exposing our sin and attacking our indifference, until we have arrived at God’s intended destination.
My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Proverbs 5:1-4 (ESV)
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26 (ESV)
I’ve decided that there are other ways to get my adrenal glands fired up every morning so I’ve picked a new route. One that helps me to avoid Cujo.
But this must not be our approach to God’s word. If we only run to it when we need a little hope or encouragement we’re missing the message. The Bible is more than a collection of uplifting sayings. It’s God’s revelation of himself with Jesus as the central figure.
Jesus did come to bring hope to his people.
But he also came to confront sin. And he confronts sin with the same violence and aggression that my neighbor’s dog likes to confront me with.
The difference is that, at the cross on my behalf, it was Jesus who became the victim of that violent hatred of sin.
Praise God for his ferocious Word.