His Steadfast Love in Psalm 59 Protects from Howling Dogs

His Steadfast Love in Psalm 59 Protects from Howling Dogs

Life can be very difficult.

“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men.” Psalm 59:1-2

Again, life can be very difficult. Most of us are not confronted with bloodthirsty men. Most us have learned to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18) and don’t have serious enemies. Often, if we do have enemies, we’ve been part of the problem.

But loss can feel like you need deliverance from enemies. Protection. It can feel like there are enemies lying in wait and seeking to bring strife. Even when you’re innocent. You’re in pain, and you need help.

“Awake, come to meet me, and see! You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations…” Psalm 59:4-5

Lament dares to ask God to wake up. Lament advocates your case before God. Be it real physical enemies faced by Israel or the enemy of our soul and the brokenness in his wake. Either way, you go before your king to rouse him.

Pain recurs and crashes like waves. It pursues you like a howling dog roaming a city at night. I was jogging one pre-dawn morning in Istanbul on a trip. We were attacked by a pack of dogs. They were aggressive. I was with a bunch of younger colleagues, and I was the slowest. The adrenalin kicked in, and all of us took off. The dogs got close enough to lunge at me with their teeth exposed. Their teeth might as well have been swords being thrust at me by an enemy. I was afraid.

However, God laughs at such danger knowing the end of our enemies.

“But you, O Lord, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision. O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress. My God in his steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.” Psalm 59: 8-10

God laughs because he is omniscient and omnipotent. He knows he will overwhelm these enemies. All enemies. This is where we simply allow the Lord to fight our battles. 2 Chronicles 32:8 reminds us, “With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles…” We look not to our own strength but watch for him and hide in his fortress. His fortress must have observation points because his steadfast love meets us and invites us to look in triumph on our enemies.

I need to say that again: My God in his steadfast love meets us. This is among the top lessons I learned through my grief.

His power causes our enemies to totter. We observe, and he shields us. We are perfectly safe. Our boastful enemies are trapped in their pride and in their lies. God’s protective wrath overwhelms them.

But there’s a reason beyond our protection. God desires “…that they may know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth (Psalm 59:13).

“Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. They wander about for food and growl if they do not get their fill.” Psalm 59:14-15

I found loss to be persistent, recurring. Like the returning dogs of Psalm 59. Response to loss or enemies is not a one-time discipline. It’s a lifelong answer to the brokenness we experience in our damaged world.

“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.” Psalm 59:16

In the midst of your courageous response to brokenness, you experience his sufficient grace, new mercies, and surpassing peace. There are times when you break out in spontaneous worship. Sing of his faithful and steadfast love. He is your fortress and refuge in your day of distress. The brokenness is real; however, the steadfast love within his fortress is eternally secure.

“O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.” Psalm 59:17


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