Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,
or it will not stay near you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but 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 32:6-11 ESV
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. John 15:12-17 ESV
When people ride horses, they usually use a bit and a bridle. The bit is a metal bar that goes into the horse’s mouth, and the bridle is the set of leather straps around the horse’s head that hold the bit in the mouth and attach to the reins. The reins are what the rider holds to control the horse. The rider pulls on the reins, and the horse feels the pull in its mouth and obeys what the rider wants it to do. It is uncomfortable for the horse to disobey its rider, so the horse learns to obey and go in the direction and at the speed the rider wants.
Psalm 32 warns us not be like horses and mules. God doesn’t want us to only obey him because it is uncomfortable or painful for us to disobey. We are sinners who still fight against God, but God always forgives our sins and gives us new hearts. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us follow his leading and guidance. God gives us guidance through his Word, the Bible, and through the Bible we learn about what God wants his people to do and how he wants us to live.
Jesus came to teach us God’s ways and also to show us God’s ways by his life. He told his followers that he didn’t treat them like servants, who only obey because they have to. Jesus calls us his friends. He wants us to follow his ways because he loves us and because we love him. He teaches us what God’s plan is so that we can understand. God’s plan was for Jesus to come and lay down his life for us and show how much he loves us. Because Jesus laid down his life on the cross, we are forgiven for all our sins. God gives us new hearts and lives, and is with us every day to guide us and to love and forgive us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making us your friends through the forgiveness Jesus won for us. Help us to go the way you guide us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.