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You Ain't Nothin' But A Hound Dog

July 21, 2017

by Rev. Stan Key

Luke 19: 1-10
"...the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10, NIV 2011).

According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Elvis Presley's rendition of Hound Dog (1956) is No. 19 on their list of all time greatest hits. Whether or not you like the music, you have to admit the lyrics are rather strange.

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog, cryin' all the time;
You ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine.

Huh? Elvis gave hound dogs everywhere a bad name forever. And yet, if we can get beyond Elvis' body contortions and those mindless lyrics, we may be able to grasp the reality that God is, in fact, a lot like a hound dog. Think about it. Bloodhounds are noted for their ability to follow a scent for long distances. Once on the trail they are famous for their tenacity. They just don't give up. God is like that.

In one of the greatest poems of English literature, Francis Thompson imagines God as The Hound of Heaven. The poem is autobiographical because Thompson sees himself as the prey! Desperately trying to avoid God, his life spiraled out of control, leading to homelessness, destitution and opium addiction. But though he ran as hard and as fast as he could, God had Thompson's scent. And the Hound of Heaven just wouldn't give up!

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him down the arches of the years;
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated
Adown titanic glooms and chasmed fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after;
But with unhurrying chase
And unperturbed pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy
They beat - and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet -
"All things betray thee, who betrayest Me."

The day finally came when Thompson realized the futility of running from God. Not only were such efforts ultimately useless, they were irrational and just plain dumb. Why run from the only One who truly loves me and desires my ultimate happiness?

"Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee, I did but take
Not for they harms,
But just that thou mightst seek it in My arms.
All which thy child's mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand and come!"

Friend, are you afraid of and running from God? It's no use. The Hound of Heaven has got your scent. When you listen, you can hear His unrelenting feet hot in pursuit...of you! Continued flight will only prolong your agony. You can't outrun Him and you certainly can't hide. More importantly, why would you even want to?

Why I am a Christian is due ultimately neither to
the influence of my parents and teachers, not to
my own personal decision for Christ, but to "the
Hound of Heaven." That is, it is due to Jesus Christ
Himself, who pursued me relentlessly even when I was
Running away from Him in order to go my own way.
John Stott

Point to Ponder: You may have stopped searching for God, but He has not stopped searching for you.

Prayer Focus: Someone who is running from God.

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