Monday, June 27, 2016
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Barking Dogs
To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.
Tradition says this Psalm was written at the time described in I Samuel 19, when Saul was plotting to murder him and Michal helped him escape through a window, them arranged pillows to look like someone was still in the bed to fool the men who were staking out the house.
“Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men. For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD. They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold. Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.” (Psalm 59:1-5)
David asks God to deliver him from wicked people who have rose up against him, plotting to kill him, even though he had done nothing wrong to deserve their hatred. They have rejected God’s standards and laws, making themselves no more deserving of mercy than any of the heathen.
“They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear? But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.” (Psalm 59:6-8)
Saul’s officers were maintaining a twenty four hour watch o David’s house, so the statement that they returned at night causes me to doubt that the Psalm was written at when tradition says. Other times Saul’s army chased after David in the daytime, then returned to the cities to unwind, making a lot of commotion, like a bunch of dogs barking, getting drunk and fighting and talking about what they were going to do to David. They assumed that no one cared what they are doing . God would laugh at their bragging just as he did with the other heathen, who thought God was powerless.
“Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence. The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.” (Psalm 59:9-10)
Because he knows God’s power, David had chosen to depend on him for protection, God would go before him and he would see God accomplish what he hoped for against his enemies.
“Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield. For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak.” (Psalm 59:11-12)
David asked that God not just Kill the evil because other people needed to see and be reminded of the consequences of sin. If they are not reminded of the consequences, people tend to forget that there are consequences and do the same things. In our politically correct world, we are concerned about embarrassing the guilty. Jesus gave specific actions to take in dealing with sin in the church, in Matthew 18:15-17, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.”
If a person is willing to take responsibility and stop the sin, there is no need to spread it beyond those who are directly affected. If the person refuses to take responsibility or make changes, then it is to be brought before others to be judged and if necessary, publicly put out of the church. As Paul told Timothy, in I Timothy 5:20, “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” If a person refuses to change, the sin is deliberate, and there is no need to worry about hurting his feelings. The hope is that the shame will act as a deterrent to others.
“Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah. And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.” (Psalm 59:13-15)
The psalmist asks that while they not be killed, the evil suffer visibly, so that they and those who see them can know that God is the ruler, not only of Israel, but of entire world. He asks that they’d be like a bunch of dogs fighting over the food realizing that their lifestyle will never satisfy them completely.
“But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.” (Psalm 59:16-17)
Instead of worrying about the power of those barking dogs and their threats, David is committed to trusting God, singing and rejoicing in his power, and remembering the times he has delivered him in the past.