In a world and time where there are a ton of spewing words, we need a well-spoken word from God.
This week, our travels through the stunning and treacherous lands of the Psalms have us stop at Psalm 59. The Psalms are beautiful for their lush peaks and soaring vistas, and they are hazardous for their winding roads and curves which confront us with our amateur driving skills. The piercing tune, “Do not destroy,” has been playing on our radio as we lament a craggy landscape for these recent miles (Psalms 57-59). We are ready for an uplifting song and landscape but we aren’t quite there. Our Driver urges us to hold on a while yet. He has more to tell us. Such impatient travelers we are.
How contemporary can a Psalm be! Does this not sound like many nighttime cities: “Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. There they are, bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips…They wander about for food and growl if they do not get their fill.” And, if we are honest in our prayers, we can ask like David when God will “Awake, come to meet me, and see! You, LORD God of hosts…Rouse yourself to punish…spare none of those who treacherously plot evil.”
Timothy Keller is a commentator I appreciate. Speaking of the variety of communication vehicles today (e-mail, texts, etc.), and the danger to spew harsh things, he said, “Because of anonymity we think no one can identify us. Words are thus more weaponized now than in David’s day. But every word—even an offhanded careless one (Matthew 12:36)—is an indicator of what is in the heart (Matthew 12:34) and will be judged by God. More often than ever we are saying, ‘I didn’t mean what I said.’ But we did.”
Dogs bark but Christians pray and praise.
Psalm 59 is remarkable for its dense view of God who directs us through this rugged hillside and dangerous road. We call out and praise Him who is “my” God, LORD—Yahweh—the great I Am, the God of innumerable angel armies, our Strength (16, 17), “My God in his steadfast love” (10, 16, 17), our fortress, and our refuge. What a driver-guide-counselor-warrior-companion we have!
Followers of the Way, when we are pulled aside to our safe and indescribably beautiful forever rest stop, we will sit and listen with wide eyes and fallen mouths and realize our tour guide was Jesus the Christ, who said “My sheep hear my voice and they follow me,” and, “Come to Me all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The words of the howling dogs will be gone. Burning streets will turn into golden highways. We will see Him face to face.
Who is under your sphere of influence that needs to savor your acts and words instead of the anger of howling dogs, spewed without care?