Psalm 32—How Not to Be Like a Mule Through Loss

Psalm 32—How Not to Be Like a Mule Through Loss

When you understand what we’re up against in this world, there is no greater blessing than to experience the kindness of the Lord. An insurmountable debt paid by an unhindered God. Regardless, forgiveness is an undeserved kindness.

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1

We who have experience forgiveness have experienced a blessing that comes from the Lord. Romans 2:4 reveals it’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. We repent. He forgives. Covers our sin.

There is no greater blessing.

By contrast, there is nothing worse than refusal to acknowledge guilt. Some throw insults at believers who need a crutch. Absolutely. When you understand what we’re up against in this world, there is no greater mistake than to ignore our need. Heartbreaking.

“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” Psalm 32:3

Respond to his kind conviction, turn, and receive forgiveness. Refuse his kindness by keeping silent and your bones will waste away. You’ll groan at the weight of sin’s heaviness. Unconfessed sin is like oppressive summer heat. Sin must be acknowledged and uncovered. David says he confessed his transgressions, and forgiveness was bestowed.

Repentance and forgiveness are not to be sought in a haphazard manner. David implores that we pray to God when he may be found. Or as Isaiah said, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

“You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

If we seek the Lord and run to him only, we are able to stand in confidence that he is our place of safety. My testimony is when I was at my lowest, he was my hiding place, my preservation, my deliverance. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “…he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Shouts of deliverance.

When days are dark, when sight is not your friend, and when your pain is unbearable, he is a hiding place who shouts victory over you. Repentance. Forgiveness. Hiding place. Deliverance.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8

In the despair of loss and your pathway is dark, he is your guide. He holds your hand. I remember meeting with a counselor friend three weeks after Kim’s death. I asked for time because I was starting an unwanted journey. I did not know what was before me. It’s good to have guides. It’s even better to have the Guide. He instructs and teaches a mourner in the way he should go. His eye is trained upon us to counsel us in the way.

If we’re not stubborn.

David tells us in verse nine to be pliable; do not be “…like a horse or a mule, without understanding…” Instead, be humble. Be trusting.

“I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live…All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.” Judson W. Van de Venter, “I Surrender All”

Horses or mules have to be curbed with bit and bridle. Without bit and bridle, they will not stay at your side. The trusting child is guided by the trustworthy eye of a loving father. This faithful instruction is always vital, but grief and loss mark a time of great need.

Saul, in Acts 26:14, was rebelling against God. And Jesus tells him, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” To kick against a God who laughs at raging nations (Psalm 2), is displaying misplaced trust, at best.

If we refuse to be silent about our sin and run to him for forgiveness, we will find a refuge of steadfast love. Psalm 107:2 is appropriate here: “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.”

Let us say so, indeed, with shouts of joy.

“… 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 32:10-11


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