Two years ago my family lost a pet that had been with us for almost 15 years. He was a Manchester terrier named Dunder (our children named him after one of Santa’s reindeer) that we had raised from a pup.
Though Dunder lived to a ripe old age for a dog, he had experienced a lot of trauma that should have cut his life short. He had been shot, run over by a car, bitten numerous times by copperheads and a couple of times by rattlesnakes. He had tangled with coyotes and bobcats, but the one thing that caused him the most suffering was his desire to fight other dogs. I can’t begin to tell you of the times that he was chewed up in dog fights that he himself had instigated.
I recall that once my neighbor and I were separating some cattle. My neighbor’s large German Shepherd (about 90 pounds) was with him, and Dunder (about 20 pounds) was with me. Dunder just had to jump on the big dog. My neighbor ran and pulled his dog off of Dunder (who was being used for a chew toy) and held him so Dunder could get away. Instead of running, Dunder grabbed a hind leg of my neighbor’s dog and proceeded to chew it off while his owner held him. I had to get Dunder and put him in the pickup so the big dog couldn’t get to him. This was only one of numerous incidents that caused Dunder to get severely chewed.
I have often wondered what caused this little dog to get into so many fights with dogs that he had no chance of whipping, and I have come to the conclusion that it was his perception of himself. Though he was only a small terrier, he saw himself as a Rottweiler. He perceived himself to be bigger than anything that he faced. It made him look like a fool and caused him great suffering.
The same can be true of men when they perceive themselves to be “bigger than they really are.” When the word of the Lord was brought by Moses to Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go, Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2. Pharaoh perceived himself to be greater than God and not subject to His commands. He and all Egypt suffered greatly because of his arrogance.
In Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was warned in a dream of the judgment that was about to come upon him. We read the Daniel interprets the dream and then councils Nebuchadnezzar to humble himself and change his ways that his prosperity might continue. But Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance is demonstrated when he states in Daniel 4:30, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Because of his arrogance, he was driven from his palace. He was made to graze with the cattle until his hair grew like eagles feathers and his nails like the claws of a bird.
Later, the Lord restored his sanity and his kingdom to him. Then Nebuchadnezzar stated, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.” Daniel 4:37.
We live in a powerful and wealthy nation…we have the freedom to pursue happiness and the opportunities afforded us seem limitless. Yet, we must keep in mind, all that we are and all that we have, is given to us from God. In Acts 17:25, we are told, “…He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” In Deuteronomy 8:17-18, Moses warns Israel, “…You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you the ability to produce wealth…”
As we celebrate yet another year of our independence in this great nation; as we consider our great blessings of wealth and prosperity; as we reflect on the freedoms that we hold so dear, let us keep in mind that all these blessings are from the hand of God. Let us humble ourselves before God that He will lift us up. Let us never entertain the thought that these blessings are the result of our own power and strength. Let us never perceive ourselves as bigger than we really are!
Remember, the perception of being bigger than one really is…brings great suffering upon men and small dogs. -Wendell Ingram