8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.
9 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
What a picture our Loving Father paints. He has invested His own Holy Spirit to live in us, to be our built-in Counselor, Comforter, and source of all wisdom. Yet, too often, we do not take the time required to quiet our spirits and commune with the Holy Spirit each day. We do not put on the blood covering and enter beyond the veil into the Holiest place in our temple: within our spirit, where He abides.
Instead, we sally forth into the day half cocked, not spiritually dressed in His armor or prepared for what awaits us, not awaiting first His words of direction and wisdom for the day. We move so fast that we don't even notice the next cliff over which we are about to careen, the next enemy ambush into which we are about to blunder. At day's end, we lie crumpled, nursing our wounds and wondering what went wrong--and why God did not prevent what just happened.
The Spirit speaks to us so tenderly in this Psalm. "I will instruct you...direct you...counsel you." He is saying, "Why will you not listen, when I have so much to tell you, which would spare you so much grief?"
When we don't listen, it is as if we are horses or mules without understanding. In fact, we are without excuse, because we do have God-given understanding, but we wilfully ignore what He's saying by not making time to listen. That is when He must arrest us using the bridle and bit--through the hard knocks of life's circumstances. The painful zap of the cattle prod applied to our posterior parts reminds us that we are--once again--running ahead of God.
Let us return to Him now. Notice that the Spirit does not say, in verse 9, that He uses the bridle and bit to lead us--as we might expect. That is not His way. Rather, He uses these things to steer us back to Him!
Next time we feel the sting of the whip, the jolt of the prod, the cut of the bit, let us stop and think: Where did I get ahead of God? How can I hightail it back to Him, and redeem this wasted day, this year, this lifetime?
Thank you, Father, for your patience. Let us find your loving arms and be led by Your voice again, beside the still waters.