Don’t be Mulish

Psa. 32:8        I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
        I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9     Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
        whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
        else it will not stay near you.


It is in the intimacy of prayer that we learn to hear the voice of God and understand the directions which we may receive. There are constantly stumbling blocks along life’s journey and we must learn to navigate the terrain. It is God who sees it all and can provide us with up to date guidance to get us from where we are to where we are going. We must learn to recognize the voice of the Lord and then we can walk freely. When we fail to listen we become like the horse or the mule who must be bridled and prodded along and around the roadblocks. The mule doesn’t plan for anything but simply goes and must be led moment by moment.

We are invited into a place of special understanding through fellowship with God. It is in this relationship that we discover that we don’t have to bump into the potholes of life, but by listening to the one who is guiding, we can avoid them altogether. When we become mulish, we refuse to listen to the voice of God and stubbornly continue in our own way, having to be pulled back from the brink of disaster for we pay no attention to where we are going.


The comparison made in this passage may be similar to using GPS or a bridled mule. While one would we rather use for the journey?

When we use our GPS we are able to map out our destination in advance, then the computer in our hand held device calculates the fastest route, maps it out for us, and tells us which direction to head. These days GPS even knows when there have been accidents or long lines of construction and offers options to avoid the roadblocks. We can make a decision as to whether we want to accept this advice and take the shorter route. By doing this we are able to avoid some of the downtime of sitting in traffic.

The mule, however, doesn’t have the capacity to take into account any advice coming from a GPS. Instead, the mule has to be bridled and guided every step of the way. If not, it would wander off from the path and stubbornly do its own thing.

Spending time with the Lord is like having spiritual GPS. God sees and knows all the pitfalls and accidents ahead. Sometimes we resent the leading of the Lord and we stubbornly move ahead in our own direction. The result is that we will have to live with those choices and decisions and the wounds that we may receive from falling into those pot holes. That’s what happens when we are mulish.

The call of God’s people is to find that quiet space and learn to listen to the voice of God. We are invited to participate in this journey of life together with the Lord who will go with us every step of the way. God really does care and will be engaged with us day in and day out in all that we do.

In this Lenten season, let’s learn to learn to listen to the still sweet voice of the Lord. Our loving God will instruct and teach us in the way to go.


Lord, may my ears be open to your gentle guidance today. Amen.


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