Of Senseless Horses and Mules

Psalm 32:9 “Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control”

I’m not sure what God is trying to tell me but over the last week, this verse has been tossed in my pathway in various forms and methods.  The more I thought about this comparison the more uncomfortably true the thoughts became.

Here’s the context for this verse:
In the beginning of the psalm, David talks about the effect of his sin.  And how while he refused to confess his sin, God’s hand was heavy on him and he was “weak and miserable and groaned all day long.”

verses 5 – 10 (NLT)  Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them.  I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. (Selah) 
Therefore, let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.  For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.  You surround me with songs of victory.  (Selah)
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.  Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”  Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

I can testify from personal experience that as long as I tried to hide my sins from God, I was miserable with an all-fours-locked-up approach to life and God.

I like the promise that when I confess my rebellion to God, He becomes my hiding place and my Protector.  Confessing my rebellion is not just confessing my action; it implies that my mindset, my attitude needs to be confessed.  God not only becomes my hiding place but He also surrounds me with songs of victory.  This reminds me of the picture of God’s delight over us in Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

It’s a given that God will guide me.  Not just anywhere, but in the best pathway for my life.  It’s not a maybe, it’s a will.  He goes on to promise that He will give me advice and watch over me.  He’s willing to be my personal guide.  The key for me is to not be like a senseless horse or mule who needs to be bridled.  God can’t guide me if I don’t allow Him to be my Master.  He’s not interested in having a forced obedience.  He’s not going to bridle me up against my will and force me to follow Him. No, He gives me guidance and shows me what He wants for me but then allows me to choose whether or not I will follow His direction.  That my friends, is the mystery of God’s love for us.  He gave everything in order to have a relationship with us.  He became vulnerable in order for us to become secure in His guidance.

I know the extreme frustration of having a horse go against your wishes.  Some days, my horse decides she knows best.  Wills clash when she’s got her agenda and I’ve got mine.  I just want to have a delightful relationship with her, I don’t want to have to battle her stubbornness every time in order to have a relationship with her and enjoy a ride with her.  The times I ride and I constantly have to be asserting my commands by a strong hand on the rein and a stiff leg dug into her side, I am not experiencing much pleasure in our relationship.  But the times where she’s one with my wishes and we’re in sync, those are the times where I find intense delight in spending time with my horse.

The same is true with God and me.  God longs to have an in sync relationship with me.  He longs for me to want to follow His wishes for me.  God doesn’t want to have to drag me along on the pathway He’s chosen for us to walk on.  He wants me to be walking right next to Him hanging onto His hand, in step with Him.  He uses a strong hand with me when I need it but He doesn’t delight in doing so.  When He allows me to go through painful times, He hurts with me.  He doesn’t sadistically find pleasure in my intense battles with my prideful will.  He wants to see me willingly follow His lead.

I know the pure delight I feel when my horse chooses to walk alongside of me without being tethered to me, nudging my hand with her nose.  So it is with God and me.  He went through hell just to be able to sing over me in His great delight in my relationship with Him when I willingly walk beside Him.

May you hear your Father singing over you with great delight and may you feel His unfailing love surrounding you in the coming week.