Dense as a Donkey?

Roadside Donkeys

Posted above our white board in our Happy Blue School are these words:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you and watch over you.  Psalm 32:8 NIV

These words capture the prayer of my heart as I seek the guidance and direction of my God as I instruct, teach, counsel and watch over my children in our classroom. I take homeschooling my children seriously. The proverbial buck stops with me for whether my boys are remembering and applying the skills and concepts they have been taught over the past two and a half years. This is a work in progress.

Yet, today, in my trust study, two other verses caught my attention in Psalm 32. I’ll start with verse 8 and continue on…

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you and watch over you.

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.

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him. Psalm 32:8-10 NIV

The promises are clear. When we accept the guidance, counsel and protection of our LORD, we will be given direction and purpose. With the LORD watching over us, our choices, decisions, and steps and life itself are surrounded by the LORD’s loving care and faithfulness.

It sounds like a great place to be, doesn’t it?

Yet, for some of us, myself included, we can be as stubborn as a mule. Yes, me too – just ask my husband.

As our family travels in rural southern Africa, we often observe mules, oxen and goats meandering beside roadways, upon roadways, or just beyond. These creatures graze without care or concern. Their behavior demonstrates their lack of awareness of every kind of approaching and passing vehicle; large or small. Due to their ignorant nature, their roadside behavior is dangerous and unpredictable. Vehicular collisions with goats, donkeys and cows are a common occurrence here. Tragically, both the vehicles’ passengers and the stubborn creatures suffer loss of life and/or limb when they collide on the rural African roadway.

Unbridled and unrestrained, these animals do as they please regardless of the deadly consequences.

I have a vivid picture in my mind of the aftereffects of a mule’s decision to step on a Zimbabwean roadway that was never designed for the donkey’s travel. Had the mule been bridled or fenced in, he would have been protected from the jeopardy of the road. He did not understand the risks or the hazards of crossing the road when a vehicle approached; in fact he ignored it.

What about me?

Do I understand the perils that are just a step away when I walk outside of my Lord’s will, care and protection?

Am I savvy enough to recognize the risks of any decision I make that is outside of the LORD’s counsel?

Do I consider?

Am I as dense as a donkey?

I experience sorrow and regret when I act like a mule. In fact, I feel pretty stupid when I do something without thinking the decision through or consider what kind of consequences that may result.

How grateful I am for these promises…

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you and watch over you.  Psalm 32:8 NIV

How thankful I am for this encouragement…

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him. Psalm 32:10 NIV

My God offers a wonderful way for me to travel through life, one step at a time. His lovingkindness, grace, mercy and goodness surround me. He hems me in. As many of you know my favorite verse is from Psalm 139:5:

You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

He hasn’t bridled or restrained me. He isn’t treating me like a donkey. He is caring for me as His child.

My God has placed His loving hand upon me and hemmed me in behind, before and stitched me up tight; secure in His protection and His will. I want to stay there. It’s a good place to be.

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