Learning to heel — puppy training and people training

By Sandra Sheridan

1 Chronicles 13:10 “The anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, so He struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.”

I have been trying to teach Apache to “heel.” It is not a simple process. She is learning to walk on a leash, and part of that process is to teach her to stay right at my left heel.

The other day I tried numerous times to show her how to walk at my side and let me lead, but she wasn’t quite getting it. Rather than follow me, she tends to want to run ahead. But when she does this the leash pulls and constricts her collar causing some discomfort. It’s like a tug of war! If she could just understand that when she backs off and falls in at my heel things go much better.

Apache is learning a skill that many Christians need to learn. Many a committed Christian with a heart for serving God has forgotten the importance of letting God lead. We often become so excited about an opportunity that we leap right into it without seeking God’s guidance.

We serve a holy God; it is not enough to forge our own path of service and worship to Him. Success comes only as we do things His prescribed way.

King David learned the lesson of carefully following God’s lead the hard way. Israel had been in a spiritual drought for some years under the reign of King Saul. The newly crowned monarch, King David, desired to bring God back into the center of the nation, so he called all of the people together to participate in bringing the Ark of the Covenant back into the center of the Israelite life. He made glorious plans to transport this special, gold-gilded chest that housed the Lord’s very presence to his headquarters.

His heart was right, but unfortunately, in all the excitement, David and his men had not followed God’s strict instructions to Moses regarding the handling and transportation of the ark. Instead of carrying the ark by poles on the shoulders of the priests, the men placed the ark on a cart drawn by oxen. Along the way the oxen stumbled and Uzzah, without realizing the ark could not be touched, had the misfortune of reaching out to steady it. Immediately he fell dead.

The King’s first reaction was anger, but this soon turned to fear. David realized that day the importance of carefully following God’s instructions and not recklessly forging ahead. In the months and years to come King David submitted to God and sought his guidance before taking any action. He learned to follow, and God blessed him with a powerful kingdom.

Learning to “heel” is an important part of puppy training, but it’s an important part of people training, too. We serve a holy God and our best bet at success is to fall in line behind Him. Seek His guidance, do things His prescribed way, and your walk with God will not be a tug of war – your heeling will make for a pleasant stroll! — Love, Mama


By Sandra Sheridan

Sandra Sheridan is a Midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her letters to her children with our readers. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com.

Sandra Sheridan is a Midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her letters to her children with our readers. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com.