Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11

Seeds of the Kingdom

Don’t Be Like a Horse or a Mule

by Liz Griffin

4 November 2017

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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.
Psalm‬ ‭32:8-9‬,NIVUK

King David is leading his people spiritually, pastoring them, and shepherding them. He is lovingly teaching and preaching to them. He appeals to them, as human beings with a gift of free will, to make godly choices. He says "Don't be like an animal with no intellect or wisdom".

When I read the words 'must be controlled by bit and bridle', I remembered my dog. She was a border collie cross, and fairly intelligent. It should have been possible to train her at a young age not to pull hard on her lead when we went for a walk, but I never managed it. I would continually yank her back to me, but it did no good.

How envious I was of the man down the road whose border collie always trotted along without any lead and kept close to heel! I've lived in this village for twenty-three years and he's had a series of dogs in that time, everyone one of them the same breed, and all of them were obedient, and didn't need a lead.

But, what is the subject of King David's teaching in Psalm 32? What is trying to get them to understand? He tells them this: 'Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long' (Psalm‬ ‭32:1-3‬). ‭He tells them how he acknowledged his wrongdoing to God, confessed it and asked for forgiveness. ‬‬

He did this in the certainty that God is merciful and quick to forgive us, because God is love, perfect love. King David knows that God wants us to be in a close intimate relationship with Him. 'Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him' (Psalm‬ ‭32:10‬). ‬

He knows how God has helped him and saved Him. 'Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding-place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance' (‭Psalm‬ ‭32:6-7‬). David's advice to everyone is to get back into a right relationship with God and then to 'Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!' (Psalm 32:11). ‬‬

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Psalm 32 and the amazing encouragement in it to trust in You, and know that we can bring our sins, our troubles and our problems to You. We can know your forgiveness, cleansing away our guilt and shame, and be blessed. We can find a hiding-place in You when we're in danger. We can sing praise and rejoice in Your presence every day. Help me not to be stubborn and go my own way, but let me yield myself to Your ways and be obedient to You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Liz Griffin lived for 20 years as an expatriate in South Africa, Bahrain and Japan, as her husband Paul worked for an international oil company. Paul and Liz became involved with Ellel Ministries in 1991 as part of the ministry team and joined the full-time team at Ellel Grange in 1995. Paul and Liz teach and minister to those seeking healing in their lives and together have written two books, 'Anger - How Do You Handle It' and 'Hope and Healing For The Abused'.


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