How Well Do You Follow the Lead?

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you how you should go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” This wonderful verse is one that many Christians cling to when they are seeking direction.

But did you know that this Bible verse was a response from God to David when the warrior king turned back to God in repentance for his grievous sin?

David went through some real hardship and inner pain because he decided to turn away from God’s plans and purposes and go his own way. He went against God’s statutes and abandoned his responsibilities to get what he wanted.

Now that we have a bit of a back story, let’s reread verse eight and then go on to verse nine; God gives David some sage advice in the hopes that David takes that advice, so he doesn’t fall into a trap again. “I will instruct and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as a mule, which has no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check.”

Picture a stubborn mule. We’ve all seen cartoons of a mule sitting on its haunches while its owner tries to lead them somewhere. It doesn’t necessarily mean the owner is trying to lead them somewhere the mule doesn’t want to go. The mule refuses to move.

I am not a horse person, but I understand that to lead a horse, they need to have a harness, a bridle and a bit. I also know that a sensitive horse who is willing to obey will have what is called a soft mouth. Only a gentle tug of the bit is all that’s needed for that horse to respond how the rider wants it to. If you’re trying to lead a horse, you hope that the horse will fall behind you as you keep a slack line on the rein as the horse obediently follows along. And as you walk along, the horse will walk behind you. The rider needs no brute force, so the horse’s mouth stays soft and tender with no callouses forming.

A rebellious horse who refuses to do what its owners want it to without a battle of wills ensuing first often has a hard mouth. This results from the owner giving repetitive sharp tugs of the bit, so the horse moves to where the rider wants that horse to go.

Perhaps you’re dealing with painful consequences for some decisions that you’ve made. Do you consistently talk back to God, trying to convince Him to do things as you want them done? Are you always trying to find an easier way to that you don’t need to do things the way He asked of you? I encourage you not to lean on your understanding. Don’t sit back on your haunches, but lean into God and take a step forward in response to every step He walks before you.

©2023 Katherine Walden

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