Summary: An exposition of Psalm 59
Islington Baptist Church September 18, 2005
Like a pack of snarling dogs
This week, by means of the Internet, I spent some time in Australia researching wild dogs. In Australia, wild dogs are a major problem. Every year they slaughter and eat thousands’s of sheep and young cattle. The problem is so bad that in Western Australia the government is considering building a 1500 kilometer fence to keep the dogs at bay. This is in addition to a bait dropping and a bounty program (hunters are paid $20 per dog skin) that is already in place.
The reason I have begun today by talking about the wild dogs of Australia is because in Psalms 59 David compares his enemies to wild dogs.
This is not the only time David describes his enemies in less than flattering terms. If you read Psalms 57-61 this week you, would have noticed that in Psalms 57, David there described his enemies as lions, ravenous beasts who are looking to devour him. In Psalms 58 David further pictures his enemies as dangerous cobras, filled with deadly venom, who cannot be charmed no matter how skillful the charmer is.
Now the big question is: Why does David speak of his enemies in such a way? To answer this you will have to turn with me to Psalm 59.
General info before reading
1. We have this Psalm because of a great trial that David faced and made it through.
1Samuel 19:11, which we read during our Scripture reading this morning, recounts for us the circumstances that gave rise to this worship Psalm; Jealous King Saul trying to kill David yet again (this time sending men to kill him as he lies in his bed).
2. This Psalm is a prayer for deliverance, but not a gloomy one. This Psalm is full of confidence and faith.
BROAD LESSONS OF THE TEXT
1. We’ve got, or will have, our own snarling dogs to deal with.
While it may not be terribly polite to say that someone is like a snarling dog, the fact is, no matter how we say it, there are and will be people who hate us and who want to harm us.
Now of course, people may dislike a us for a variety of reasons.
i. Sometimes we bring stuff on our own heads and deservedly so because of the way we treat others.
ii. Sometimes a person may start to hate us because of jealousy and envy
iii. We will have enemies because of our commitment to Jesus and holiness. Of such ones we can properly say, “they are like snarling dogs”
In John 15:18-20, Jesus warns us of the opposition we can expect to face as his followers. "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."
In 2Timothy 3:12-13 the Apostle Paul also says “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived."
II. When you hear the howl of those who are like snarling dogs, don’t be afraid; instead, exercise your faith in God and call out to Him.
The taunts, attacks, and intimidating actions of those who make themselves our enemies can scare us.
-If we are right with God we should not be afraid, because as John says in 1John 4:4, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
The taunts, attacks, and intimidating actions of those who make themselves our enemies can also at times lead us into a wicked response
i. Revenge, retaliation, grudges, bitterness of heart.
Yet in the Bible, God clearly says in Romans 12:17-21, "do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:’It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ’If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
ii. Hesitation or refusal to acknowledge that one is a follower of Jesus