A Horse, A Mule, or a Wicked Fool

by Joseph Franks

Wouldn’t we like to be spiritually blessed? Wouldn’t we like to know that our transgressions are forgiven and our sins are completely covered? Wouldn’t we like to walk in joyful transparency before the Lord all the day long and enjoy his sacred presence? Can’t we imagine the awesomeness of enduring our various storms of life with God as our shelter and hiding place? And wouldn’t it be fantastic as we continually grew in knowledge and wisdom? Friends, how ought we to pursue such ends? Let us read the inspired words penned by the Psalmist:

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. 

Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. 

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!     (Psalm 32)

Yes, we generally would like to enjoy transparent communion with the holy Lord, but too often we walk about in silent, prayerless misery. Too often we spend insufficient time communicating with God in prayer and the Word, and too often it seems as though our bones are wasting away from within. Life becomes intensly heavy, and it seems as if God’s almighty hand is pushing on our chest making it hard to breathe. And then when we sporadically and hastily call upon the Lord, ofttimes he seems to be most distant. It is almost like there is some static in the line.

So what ought we to do? We ought to acknowledge our sin and uncover our iniquity. We ought to spend time in sweet communion with the Lord repenting of our sins of commission — those we have actively committed. We also ought to spend time repenting of our sins of omission — those good things, like prayer, that we have not done. Then we ought to end by rejoicing in the cross-work of Jesus Christ. We then should continue in this spirit and maintain a heart of prayer throughout the day. Those who repent of their sinful folly and seek the face of the Lord, they will be restored to spiritual health.

However, too often we are like a horse, or a mule, or a wicked fool. It is not abnormal for us to go through a day discounting the importance of communicating with God through the Word and prayer. Therefore, on such days, we must constantly be jerked about here or there and harshly corrected. The Good Shepherd must use his rod and staff to bring us back, and because we are asinine and will not listen to his voice, we must even be “curbed with bit and bridle.”

But let us learn from the horse, the mule, and the wicked fool. Let us meditate on the Word day and night, and let us pray without ceasing. Let us cherish the opportunity to walk in the Spirit. We will then be less prone to wander and more prone to “be glad in the Lord,” “rejoice in the Lord,” and “shout for joy.” For as the Psalmist states, “steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.”

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