In the Scriptures the phrase, “A dwelling place of jackals,” is often used as a metaphor for the utter destruction and desolation that comes from the judgments of God. The jackal was regarded as a scavenger, an animal of reproach. We will read a few passages that bear this out.
“I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, A haunt of jackals; And I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.”
“Hazor will become a haunt of jackals, A desolation forever; No one will live there, Nor will a son of man reside in it.”
“Babylon will become a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, An object of horror and hissing, without inhabitants.”
This desolation, this utter destruction of life and fruitfulness as symbolized by the phrase, “A haunt of jackals,” is to be our experience as well. There is an utter destruction of the life and fruitfulness of the adamic nature within us that must come. This is symbolized by the phrase, “Without inhabitants.” This is not theoretical, and it is not to be just a point of doctrine, but a living experience wrought in us.
1 ¶ <<For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.>> O God, we have heard with our ears, Our fathers have told us The work that You did in their days, In the days of old.
2 You with Your own hand drove out the nations; Then You planted them; You afflicted the peoples, Then You spread them abroad.
3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored them.
4 You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob.
5 Through You we will push back our adversaries; Through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us.
6 For I will not trust in my bow, Nor will my sword save me.
7 But You have saved us from our adversaries, And You have put to shame those who hate us.
8 In God we have boasted all day long, And we will give thanks to Your name forever. Selah.
9 ¶ Yet You have rejected us and brought us to dishonor, And do not go out with our armies.
10 You cause us to turn back from the adversary; And those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves.
11 You give us as sheep to be eaten And have scattered us among the nations.
12 You sell Your people cheaply, And have not profited by their sale.
13 You make us a reproach to our neighbors, A scoffing and a derision to those around us.
14 You make us a byword among the nations, A laughingstock among the peoples.
15 All day long my dishonor is before me And my humiliation has overwhelmed me,
16 Because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles, Because of the presence of the enemy and the avenger.
17 ¶ All this has come upon us, but we have not forgotten You, And we have not dealt falsely with Your covenant.
18 Our heart has not turned back, And our steps have not deviated from Your way,
19 Yet You have crushed us in a place of jackals And covered us with the shadow of death.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God Or extended our hands to a strange god,
21 Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.
22 But for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
23 Arouse Yourself, why do You sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever.
24 Why do You hide Your face And forget our affliction and our oppression?
25 For our soul has sunk down into the dust; Our body cleaves to the earth.
26 Rise up, be our help, And redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness.
This is a Messianic psalm, prophetic of Christ and of those who come forth as sons in Him. Verses 1-8 speak of the great victories wrought in God as a result of trusting in Him. Verse six, along with verses 17-18, are indicative of an innocent heart before God, much the same as Job had in the beginning chapters of that book. Job was described as a blameless man, fearing God. But look now at verses 9-26. Look at the reproach and desolation from the hand of the Lord as voiced by the Psalmist. Each verse begins, “You,” meaning God was behind the adversity. Verses 17-18 are significant as they point toward Christ, blameless in all His ways, yet smitten of God (Isa. 53:4). And now comes verse 19: “Yet You have crushed us in a place of jackals And covered us with the shadow of death.” There is something endearing in the heart of God toward those whom He crushes. Verse 22 states, “But for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.” Romans 8:32 speaks of how God did not spare His own son. Isa. 53:10 says: “But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.” God did not spare His own son and neither does He spare those who come forth as sons in the Son. It is His judgments upon a corrupt nature that qualifies us for sonship. We must see that there is a realm in God beyond just having faith for Him to meet our needs or bless us. This is expressed in Rom. 8:36-37:
36 Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
Paul, quoting from Psalm 44, tells us that there is a victory in spite of seemingly being slaughtered. There is a realm of God’s love we enter, and we only enter by what seems like defeat and our needs going unmet in the soul realm. This may seem confusing, but it is not. One realm is neglected that we might die to it in order to live in a higher one. How can we know the love of the Father for the Son unless we share the Son’s experience? And verse 36 of our text in Rom. 8, quoted from Psalm 44, is prophetic of Christ. Jesus died in one realm, seemingly defeated by the satanic host, only to be raised in perfect victory. Jesus told the chief priests, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours (Luke 22:52-53).” We know that what seemed like defeat was turned into perfect victory through resurrection.
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
1 ¶ The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi.
2 “I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob;
3 but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.”
4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; thus says the LORD of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever.”
Esau, or Edom, is symbolic of our corrupt, adamic nature. God says, “I have hated Esau and I have made his mountains desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” Edom responds in verse four: “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins.” This is exactly the expression of the adamic nature. It relentlessly endeavors to live and express itself. But God says, “I will tear down.” There is to be a finality of the adamic nature within us. It will not endure forever. All of the lingering fruitfulness of the adamic nature will disappear as God has His way in our lives.
We can take heart from the following passages in Isa. 50. It’s significant that Paul draws from these passages in Rom. 8 as he speaks of sonship.
4 ¶ The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.
5 The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient Nor did I turn back.
6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
7 For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.
8 He who vindicates Me is near; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; Who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me.
9 Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them.