Be not like a mule without understanding Psalm 32 March 31, 2019 Trinity Lutheran Church, Chestertown, MD




We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know how they feel to be confined by their sin said … AMEN!

ESV Psalm 32:1 A MASKIL OF DAVID. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” A Maskil is a poem or song, this is attributed to David. “2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” In verse 9 David writes: “ 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.” We have this little dog, Uriah, he’s about the size of a large loaf of bread. He’s well named, because Uriah’s a tough little guy. I look all the way down at him about 10 inches off the floor and he’s looking back at me like “hey whaddya looking at! I want something to eat!” His namesake, one of David’s great warriors, Uriah, would be proud. Overall he’s a good dog, once in awhile … When he gets scolded, what’s he do? Just looks back at me like, “don’t know what you’re getting all spun up for, I’m just doing what dogs do…” Kind of what we’re about right?  Isn’t that special…

Verse 8 it says: “ESVBe not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.” David’s saying “don’t be stupid…” It’s a common English phrase to say don’t be stubborn like a mule. Matthew Henry writes: “1. Here is a word of caution to sinners, and a good reason is given for it. The caution is, not to be unruly and ungovernable:. When the psalmist would reproach himself for the sins he repented of he compared himself to a beast before God (so foolish have I been and ignorant, Ps. 73:22) and therefore warns others not to be so. It is our honour that we have understanding, that we are capable of being governed by reason and of reasoning with ourselves. Jam. 3:3. Let us not be like them; let us not be hurried by appetite and passion, at any time, to go contrary to the dictate of right reason and to our true interest. … Sin will have sorrow, if not repented of, everlasting sorrow. It was part of the sentence, I will greatly multiply thy sorrows. “Be wise for yourselves … that you may prevent those sorrows, those many sorrows.”

If Uriah is loose, and he sees something that looks good to eat, or fun to play with he’s going for it. Dogs, horses, mules, they don’t “sin”, they do what is natural to them. We try to correct them so they won’t tear things up, but they’re only doing what they do. So it is with people who aren’t born again in Jesus. People who are born again sin too. What’s the difference? When you are genuinely in Jesus you know you’ve sinned, you turn in repentance to God. In Jesus we have the mind of Christ. It doesn’t mean that we can’t ignore what we know in Jesus, we do. But we also know that our mind in Jesus, will keep convicting us. It will keep reminding us that because of our sin it has created strain in that relationship with God. Some people call that a guilty conscience. Well… I submit, it’s much more about the Holy Spirit working through your conscience, to remind you of that strain in the relationship with God. David writes: “2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” We all know that feeling. We also know that feeling that tells us that God is keeping us away from the things that do damage us, that cause us to, as David writes: “3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” We know that feeling when everything feels much heavier, much more cumbersome. I don’t like winter, working outside in the cold. Everything is more awkward. In the summer you just grab, put it where it’s needed, light it off, everything’s good. In the winter you fumble with things, it’s harder to move physically, you’re wearing this big awkward suit… Sin is like that big suit that you have to wear, confining, inflexible, difficult to function in. Whereas when we’ve confessed, when we are in that right relationship with God, you’re warm, energetic, flexible, grab what you need, do what you need, you can feel God’s delight to see you doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Whether in terms of your physical functioning, or your state of mind. We all know how sin clouds our state of mind. We’re not little dog Uriah, or a mule, we’re people who have been born again in Jesus. We have the mind of Jesus. We know when that mind becomes clouded in sin. Uriah might look at me like “…huff, huff, just gimmee, what’s your problem, just hand it over”. Our mind is just as obsessed with what we want. We also know when our mind is really obsessed in Jesus. Everything is brighter, we’re quicker, sharper, easier to be with, joyful in Jesus. Not the slothfulness, dourness of sin dragging us down, but the love, the great spirit, the excitement of true life. We’ve left the drudge of sin behind us through our confession, our repentance, our forgiveness in Jesus, and the weight and cumbersomeness has been lifted.

David talks about “confession”, “…5 I acknowledged my sin to Thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.” We have confession, corporate confession, what we do at the beginning of worship and individual confession that I reserve for Thursday afternoons. You don’t have to wait, if you want to talk, you can call me when you need to. When I’m giving what Roman Catholics would refer to as “Last Rites”, I ask if they have anything they want to confess. I don’t want that person going in the presence of the Lord with it on their conscience, any unforgiveness. Likewise, I don’t want anyone here to bear the burden of sin and unforgiveness. Their sin binding them up like a strait- jacket, weighing a lot, almost smothering them. David closes writing: “3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”

I’m sure Uriah is joyous in what he knows, he gets something, he probably shouldn’t get, then pushes for more. For us in Jesus in the mind of Jesus, in God’s economy, we know what we should have and shouldn’t have. Uriah kind of understands relationship, when he knows I’m upset about something he’s done he often skulks away or maybe nuzzles up to reconcile. He has some understanding, we have the understanding the Holy Spirit gives us. My bones aren’t “wasting”, my spirit isn’t groaning under that weight and burden of sin. We are glad, we do rejoice when our sin, our negative spirit isn’t making us burdened and forsaken. We go back in repentance, confess what God already knows and remove that block in our relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

No other religion gives people that opportunity. I always hear this “all roads lead… ” No, they don’t. Any other “god”, belief system does not provide forgiveness, any way of lifting that burden. There’s no relationship in other beliefs, simply you messed up, it’s your problem! God doesn’t want that dampening our relationship with Him. He doesn’t want that as a barrier, or for His people to be burdened. He wants us to rejoice and shout for joy. To move on in our life, not get bogged down as we see the hypocrites, the atheists, the haters, believers in any other thing. We as Christians, if we take what God promises us seriously, we should be joyous, enthusiastic, out there living our life. You should have compassion, pity on others. They are dragged down more and more until they are dragged to death and eternal loss. What a horrible existence for all who do not know Jesus as their Savior. Who do you know who really needs the hope, joy and promise of Jesus and to be freed from the burden, clumsiness, inflexibility of their sin?

The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin

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