Daily D – Psalm 32:8-10
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. (NIV)
Let me give you some good advice; I’m looking you in the eye and giving it to you straight: “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule that needs bit and bridle to stay on track.” God-defiers are always in trouble; God-affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around. (MSG)
We can live in the abundance shaped by self-control, or we can live under the control of those who will exhaust our best strength.
Verses 8 and 10 in this well-known and much-loved psalm are the kinds of verses leading us back to Psalms with regularity. These verses are positive and affirming. They are as sweet as honey. They fortify. They edify. They put strength in our spines. They are wonderful memory verses.
Look more carefully at verse 9 for a moment. Right in the middle of all the sweetness is a little sourness. If verses 8 and 10 are all about DO, verse 9 is all about DO NOT. In fact, this is how the verse begins:
which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
Growing up in Texas around horses and cows and pigs and such, this verse makes perfect sense. Some people have not enjoyed the perfect pleasure of growing up in Texas. They may have never ridden a horse except for a pony at the county fair, and the pony was harnessed together with other ponies all walking in a circle nicely and safely.
The truth is, most horses and mules are not that excited for you to place a bit in their mouths and a blanket and saddle on their backs. They will avoid this particular experience if they can. A person learns pretty quickly to approach a horse with the bridle behind her back and something yummy in her other hand to begin this process.
People often act like horses and mules. They are not very interested in God taking control of their actions. They do not want anyone to tell them which way they should go, how fast, and for how long. Bring on the sweet treats, but leave the harness behind, thank you.
In one of C. S. Lewis’s books, a lion chases the protagonist. The lead character is scared, terrified, at this turn of events. It turns out later the lion chased our hero because he would not otherwise move in the direction he should go.
If you do not want a lion to chase you in the direction you should go, go in the direction you should go of your own volition.
If you do not want a bridle, a blanket, a saddle, and someone kicking you in your sides, make it your ambition to go with God in the first place. And lay off the sweets!
We will have more verses 8 and 10 in our lives when we have less verse 9.
God’s message to us in verse 8 is, “I will instruct and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye on you.” God offers knowledge, wisdom, guidance, counsel, and positive, focused attention.
God’s message to us in verse 10 is his unfailing love will surround us when we trust in him.
La Dolce Vita is found in verses 8 and 10. La Puke is found in verse 9.
I will live in God’s sweet spot for me.
Our Father, I want more of your knowledge and wisdom. I want more of your clear guidance. I want to know more of your unfailing love and presence day by day and moment by moment. Amen.
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2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)
2 Chronicles 33:15, 16 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.
Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
2 Kings 20:2, 3 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”