Keeping Away from Your Own Vomit

Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11).

Growing up, we had a dog named Sammy. Sammy was dumb. He was “a few fries short of a happy meal.” He ate parts of his own dog house, he would try to catch the weedeater as I trimmed the grass, he dug holes in the ground looking for the water source that was actually splashing on the ground from my water house. And he ate other dog’s feces and vomit. He was a cute black Labrador, but he was dumb. He was the kind of animal that seemed to live each day according to his own foolish choices.

Have you ever known someone who just can’t seem to stay away from their own idiocy?

The Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus is such a character. Every time Moses confronted this man with the need to release the Hebrews from slavery, Pharaoh said, “No.” And each time, God used Moses to bring another awful plague upon the land and the people. Each time Pharaoh made the foolish decision to reject Moses, Pharaoh returned to his own vomit.

And just when you think Pharaoh finally got the message, when he lost his firstborn son in the 10th plague and he let the Hebrews leave Egypt, he returned to his own vomit (his folly) and chased them to the Red Sea.

What does his craving for foolish vomit get him? The destruction of his chariot army as they attempted to follow the Hebrews into the newly parted waters of the Sea…and failed.

A foolish man will repeat his mistakes. No matter how often a Moses-like character might warn him of his idiocy, a fool will do it again, because, well, he is a fool! He is like the false teacher who keeps returning to his own errors and sin (II Peter 2:22).

So, what hope does such an individual have?

Well, that depends on where he looks for help. If he looks to his own resources, he will return to his own vomit again, because he is a fool. If he recognizes his own folly, and looks to wisdom, help will follow.

Friends, surround yourself with wise people who can help curb the temptation to act foolishly. Make friends who know a foolish decision when they see one and will tell you that you are about to make mistake. Listen when you are warned or corrected. Don’t make excuses and don’t blame shift. Show humility; show wisdom.

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