What does it mean that we should 'not be like the horse or mule?'

What form of warning is this?

Psalms 32:9

ESV - 9 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.

Clarify Share Report Asked August 18 2016 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Psalm 32, like Psalm 51, Psalm 86, and Psalm 122, was written by David in reaction and repentance to the rebuke and punishment that he received from God through the prophet Nathan following David's adultery with Bathsheba, and his ordering of the death of Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11-12).

In my opinion, the imagery in this psalm characterizes the natural stubbornness of the sinful human heart, and its unwillingness and resistance to being led by God, in the same way that a horse and mule are not naturally inclined to do the bidding of humans, but must be forcefully guided to do so by means such as the bit and bridle.

David is essentially pointing to his own case, and saying, "Do not depart from God's commands, as I did. Show understanding by taking a lesson from my sins and failures. Seek and serve God willingly and joyfully, rather than from compulsion, or from experiencing His punishment for sinful disobedience."

August 18 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
“Do not be like the horse or like the mule,” God counsels in Psalm 32:9, and David disobeyed his own counsel. The horse sometimes wants to rush ahead impetuously, and the mule wants to drag its feet and stubbornly stay back, but David was not walking with God now and did not work for God or let God arrange the schedule. 

When David gazed at Bathsheba, lusted after her, and then committed adultery, and when he plotted to kill her husband, David saw himself acting like a free man; but God saw him acting like an animal! We are made in God’s image, but when we choose to knowingly rebel against God’s law, we descend into what the older translations call acting “brutish” (Ps 92:6; 94:8; Jer. 10:8, 14, 21) 
Psalm 92:6 A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.
Psalm 94:8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?
Jeremiah 10:8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.
Jeremiah 10:21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
Jeremiah 10:14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
King James Bible

and modern translations “senseless.” 
Psalm 92:6 Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand,
Jeremiah 10:8 They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols.
Psalm 94:8 Take notice, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?
Jeremiah 10:21 The shepherds are senseless and do not inquire of the LORD; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered.
Jeremiah 10:14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. The images he makes are a fraud; they have no breath in them.
New International Version

Like the horse, David rushed ahead impetuously, and like the mule, he was stubborn and tried to cover his sins. The only way to control animals is to break them and harness them, but God didn’t want to do that to His beloved servant David. Instead, He would teach him His Word and keep His eye upon him, surrounding him with mercy (Ps 23:6). Warren Wiersbe 

What should the King and we do? Psalm 32:9-10 advises that he and we should obediently follow God, having no need of a bit or bridle.

December 11 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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