Beating Back the Dogs
Originally published 1/11/2012 Updated: 8/12/2019
In my opinion, there are not many life experiences that are more painful than the loss of a child. I present this post today in hopes that some other mother who has lost a child will find comfort in knowing that God can give you peace. Although it has been eleven years since I lost my son, there are times when the pain of his absence feels smothering. Though it is easier now to remember the good times and the positive things about his life, the pain of his absence still remains. I have found that the way to deal with the pain is to cry out to God. He is able to comfort me in a way that only He can.
My precious son would be 50 years old if he were here today. He passed away in 2008 as the result of a heart condition. I do have the wonderful peace of knowing that he is in Heaven because he died in the Lord. That also means that we who love him will see him again when we get to Heaven. Meanwhile, Jesus helps us to make it through each day without him.
There are mothers who have lost children who do not know that their sons and daughters are at peace. If that son or daughter was not saved, how does a mother deal with that painful knowledge? They too must give the pain to Jesus. Coping successfully is possible if we allow Him to comfort us. Then we can all sing the words of a hymn penned by Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss, “It Is Well with My Soul”.
When peace like a river, attended my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. Though Satan shall buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate And hath shed HIS OWN BLOOD for my soul. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life, Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
Another thing that we can do with our pain is to do something positive to help others. We can live for the Lord and get busy helping others to cope with issues in their lives. It is towards this end that I write this post today. Perhaps some Mother whose children are still alive will be encouraged and motivated to fight a little harder for the eternal security of their souls.
One of the saddest and yet fiercest stories of a mother’s love in the Bible concerns a woman named Rizpah. She was a concubine of King Saul. Rizpah’s ordeal began when a drought came upon the land and King David sought the Lord about the cause of the drought. God spoke to him concerning the injustices that King Saul had committed against the Gibeonites.
When David asked the Gibeonites what he could do to make up for Saul’s injustices, they asked for the lives of seven of Saul’s sons. Not only did the Gibeonites want the sons dead, but they impaled them and left their bodies hanging for everyone to see. They refused to let them be buried and King David allowed their actions. Rizpah’s story is found in 2 Samuel 21:8-11 (KJV)
8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:
9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.
10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. (Emphasis added by the author)
11 And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.
Rizpah fought for her sons and the sons of another
Can you imagine the anguish of this mother when her only two sons were murdered, and then left hanging? But what did Rizpah do? She did everything that she could possibly do. She had no power to make the King bury them, but she fought back the beasts and fowls with rocks and sackcloth. For five full months, Rizpah sat day and night keeping a vigil over her children. Not only did she protect the remains of her own sons, but she also fought for the five sons that Michal brought up. (I do wonder where Michal was through all of this? In her defense, perhaps David, who had reclaimed her as wife against her will, would not allow her to help Rizpah???)
Who can gauge a mother’s love?
Rizpah had to watch as her son’s bodies went through natural decomposition. She had to endure the odor, the bloating and then the wasting. But Rizpah did not care what she had to go through. She “beat back the dogs” and refused to allow animals to drag them away. She who had been an occupant of the king’s palace, living in luxury and opulence, now sat out in the elements, exposing herself to danger and ridicule.
Even today some may feel that her actions were extreme. But who can gauge a mother’s love? Who has the right to say whether or not her actions were inappropriate? Only a mother who has lost a child can understand. Rizpah had no idea how long she would have to “beat back the dogs”. Her goal was simply to protect those that were hers.
Rizpah’s sacrifice paid off
As a result of her perseverance, King David was shamed into causing the remains to be buried. Not only did he bury her children and Michal’s, but he also went and reclaimed the remains of King Saul and his own best friend and Saul’s son, Jonathan. Rizpah’s sacrifice paid off.
12 And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabeshgilead, which had stolen them from the street of Bethshan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa:
13 And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged. (Emphasis added by the author).
14 And the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father: and they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God was intreated for the land.
How do we “beat back the dogs”?
So how do we beat back the dogs? The first thing that one must do is get right with God. Repent of your sins and get the power of God in your life by being baptized with the Holy Ghost. Live for God so that He will answer your prayers. Then you will have the power to beat back the dogs for your children.
Next, use your godly arsenal of weapons: you can PUSH! – Pray until something happens. You can plead the blood of Jesus over them (Rev. 12:11 KJV); you can use the Word of God as their defense, and you can bind the acts of Satan (Matt.16:19 KJV) in their lives. Mothers, if your children are alive, beat back the dogs. Refuse to allow the devil and the wrongs of the world to take them over. Stand firm in prayer against drugs, gangs, alcohol, promiscuity, and godlessness.
Lead your children in the ways of righteousness
While your children are still at home you should take them, not send them, to Sunday school and church so that they can learn the Word of God. Raise them up in the church. Refuse to allow them to participate in activities that are contrary to the Word of God.
Lay hands on them and pray for them before they leave your house each day. Speak the Word of God over them and prophesy good things for their lives. Hug them and kiss them to show them that you love them, and spank their bottoms when they need it. Be more concerned about parenting than about being their friends. You can be friends later. They need mothering now. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Even after they are grown you can beat back the dogs
And, while it may be true that you cannot control them once they are grown and out of the house, don’t forget your arsenal of weapons. The power of prayer does change things. As long as there is breath in their bodies there is hope for your children. If Rizpah could fight for her dead sons, in spite of what her senses told her, surely you can fight for your living children.
There may be times when you have to confront and take a stand against the behavior of your own children to protect them. I encourage you to stand firm on what you believe. Maybe they are harming their own bodies with cuttings, tattoos, and piercings. Perhaps they are exposing their bodies with tight and revealing clothes. They may even be destroying their own lives with unsafe and unnatural sex and drug abuse, but you refuse to let go of them. Refuse to give up on your children. You can do it! Your mother’s love compels you to beat back those dogs with prayer and determination.
It is my prayer that God will bless you and strengthen you as you fight the good fight of faith for your children. Mothers, do as Rizpah did and beat back the dogs.