You may not know him by his name, but you’ve probably seen Nipper the dog. He’s quite famous, although he died in 1895. Nipper, of course, is the dog from the painting “His Master’s Voice” where he is listening intently to a gramophone. The picture became a popular logo for many companies, including RCA to sell record players, because the dog looks like it thinks his master is in there talking to him. The RCA recording technology is so clear!
“His Master’s Voice” is also a good introduction to some posts I’m working on about hearing our Master’s voice. We might like to be like Nipper, and every now and then we might get a glimpse of what that’s like, but we’re unlike the painting a lot of the time.
For one thing, most dogs are naturally loyal and want to please their masters. That’s why Nipper loves the gramophone so much. A funny thing about dogs is that they don’t care what their masters believe. They won’t discuss philosophy with them. Not that their master’s philosophy doesn’t matter to the dog, because if their philosophy includes cruelty to animals, that’s very bad. Dogs just don’t think at that level. On the other hand, dogs are very, very excited and eager to hear you tell them to do something. Cats of course are very different – I have two of them – and they’re too often a better picture of how I really relate to my Master in heaven than Nipper is.
The other point is that dogs have great hearing. The painting has no sound, but you get the idea that, no matter how much noise was going on around him, Nipper would be right there, trying to find his master in the gramophone. In contrast, people are bombarded with loud voices from all directions and usually aren’t as good at filtering the good from the bad.
Centered on the story of Gideon from the book of Judges, I’ll be sharing a few posts soon about how difficult and messy listening for God’s voice really is. I’m trying to figure it out every day.
Lastly, if you see Ebenezer (a squirrel and the blog’s mascot), tell him Nipper is only here for a short visit. Also remind him that in heaven, even the dogs and squirrels will lie down together in peace.
One of my favorite song lyrics of all time is:
“I’m looking past the shadows of my mind into the truth; And I’m trying to identify the voices in my head; God, which one’s you?”
It’s from a 2000 song called “Breathing” by Lifehouse. They probably didn’t have Nipper in mind when they wrote it, but it’s about us all wishing we could pay better attention to our Lord, to know His will, or sometimes just to be present with Him.
The next post in the series is here