“Back They Come at Nightfall”
“At evening they return, they growl like a dog...” (Psalm 59:6,14)
Many years ago, when I was a college student, my father and I hiked through a portion of the Big Bend country of Texas.
One night we were rolling out our sleeping bags when a young couple with a dog asked if they could camp nearby. We welcomed their company and turned in for the night. They tethered their dog to a stake outside their tent.
Some hours later my father nudged me awake and turned his flashlight into the darkness. There, illuminated by the light, we saw dozens of pairs of eyes peering out of the shadows. We were surrounded by a pack of coyotes, some sitting on their haunches licking their chops; others snapping and snarling, closing in on the dog. We chased off the coyotes and our neighbors put the dog in their tent, but, needless to say, we all slept less well that night.
I think of that incident and David’s metaphor: “At evening they return, they growl like a dog.” David was thinking of Saul’s army that was closing in on him. I think, however, of predatory thoughts that return in the evening to menace me. “Back they come at nightfall, snarling like curs” (NJB). They snap and snarl at me: “You’re old and useless; who needs you?”
But like David, I can turn my heart to heaven and revel in God’s unconditional love. His steady affection is my refuge in the dark night of self-doubt and fear (59:16). I can say with David, “My refuge is God Himself, the God who loves me!” (59:17 NJB).