Friday, April 9, 2010

Do Not Be Like the Horse or Mule

My daughters sat around me in the living room as I opened my bible to the Psalms. We were reading through Psalms and Proverbs together. That day I turned to Psalm 32. I smiled as I read verse 9.

Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.
Psalm 32:9

At that time we had five horses. Three of those we had purchased several years earlier and two were foals we raised on our own. At first each of the three horses we had purchased had issues with being caught in the pasture. If you’ve had the same experience, you know how frustrating that can be. You walk calmly out to them in the pasture and they stare serenely at you, until you get within about an arm’s length, then they whirl around and run off. We had worked with each of them until we were able to catch them easily. In fact they usually all came running to the gate when I whistled for them.

That morning we had put all five horses out in the pasture in front of our house. Each afternoon the kids and I would catch them and lead them back to the barn, since there was no shelter in the front pasture.

After we finished our bible study and homeschooling, we went out to take care of the horses. I whistled as usual and four horses came running to the gate. We attached lead ropes to their halters and I looked up to see if the one straggler had finally made it to the gate, but Ginger was still out in the middle of the field grazing.

“Ging” I yelled. “Come on girl!” and I whistled loudly again. Ginger paid no attention, so I trudged through the tall grass to retrieve the rebellious one. When she saw me coming, she turned and ran. “You little rascal, “ I said to myself. She had not done that to me in a long time. Knowing that pursuing her would be a game I didn’t have time to win, I decided I would outsmart her.

Ginger was our lead mare and normally hated to be without her herd, so the kids and I started off toward the barn with the rest of the horses. I kept glancing back, confident that I would see Ginger galloping for the gate as soon as she realized the others were leaving without her, but each time I looked back Ginger was in the same spot, not in the least disturbed about being left all alone.

It wasn’t until we had all the other horses situated that I thought back to our bible lesson. Was this evidence that God had a sense of humor? It seemed like He wanted to put an exclamation point on verse 9 of the Psalm we had just read. It worked. It’s been years ago that this happened, but I still remember it very clearly.

“Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.”

I had a plan for Ginger and I needed her cooperation, but her lack of understanding and unwillingness to come near me, prevented me from carrying out that plan. When I came near her, she ran from me.

Is that what we do to God sometimes? If He calls us to do something, do we run the other way? Remember Jonah? When God called him to preach to the Ninevites, Jonah hopped on the next ship going in the opposite direction.

The verse says that the horse has no “understanding”. That’s not to say that horses are stupid, but that in comparison our ability to reason and understand is far greater. That means we have less of an excuse when we run from God and attempt to avoid the duties He has prepared for us.

Have you been running from God? Is there something He’s been calling you to do, but when you hear His voice, you run the other way? Stop running and come near to Him.

P.S. I went back out late that night and Ginger repented of her previous misbehavior and allowed me to catch her easily. :)

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