I drive through the country on the way to work, past fields, meadows, corrals. This morning, as I drove past a farm where they raise horses I saw a person out getting one ready to ride, just putting the bridle on it and it made me think about my dad talking about his uncle and a mule he used on his farm named Jack. Now, this was in the late 1940’s, there were tractors that could have pulled the wagons but my great uncle preferred to use Jack for some of the things as he was trained, knew when to stop, knew when to move, walking along side the farm workers as they worked harvesting or whatever task needed done at the time. Tractors required someone to get on, start it, pull it forward, stop, etc. Jack just knew what to do.
BUT, with mules, well, that reputation about being stubborn at times is well earned. Jack at times would for some reason, not be in the mood to be hitched to a wagon. He didn’t want to have the bridle on. He didn’t want to do as needed. My uncle would put the bit in his mouth and start to put the bridle on. And, Jack, well, he’d spit out the bit. Uncle would put it back in his mouth, pop, Jack would spit it back out. This repeated a few times. Then, uncle would quit trying to put the bridle on, he’d just put the bit in Jack’s mouth and yank it out, not at all gently. He’d yank it hard, stick it back in Jack’s mouth, yank it out again. Over and over this would be done. My dad watched as his uncle did this. Finally, he asked him why he kept doing that. His uncle (who by the way was a minister) looked at him and said, well, I can’t hitch him or lead him if he won’t keep the bit in his mouth. Sometimes, he doesn’t want it, maybe doesn’t feel good, maybe he just doesn’t want to be lead. So, I have to teach him that the price to pay for not allowing me to lead him and not doing as he should do has a price. He has to sometimes suffer to learn that a bit helps him and actually makes things easier. Without that bit the bridle will slip and rub him in places, making sores, causing him more pain and trouble than accepting it. Then, he went on to add. You know, Jesus sometimes has to do that with us. He has a bit and bridle for us, a harness, that if we accept it, makes our life easier. But, we get stubborn, want to do things our way. Sometimes God lets us do just that, lets us suffer pain and get sore and deal with the wounds we develop. Other times, He will one way or another, through conviction on our hearts, make us understand that Christ is in charge and our Master, that we must submit ourselves to His will. Then, when we do, we find our lives and struggles in life are much easier for us.
Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Deuteronomy 8:5
Well, Seems reasonable to me. Pretty smart old farmer. Not highly educated in a formal way, am not sure he graduated high school, may not have even attended, but sometimes, the smartest people I know are the least educated and the dumbest are the most educated.
Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. Leviticus 26:28
I really can’t add much to that. Other than reference a few scriptures, but wow, there are a lot about chastening and chastising.
Lord, I pray you work with my heart that I don’t need to be chastised, but when it is needed, I understand the lesson you seek to teach me. That I learn from it so I know that it is YOU that is the master and my leader. Help me remember that any bit, bridle or harness is to help me serve you better and that any chastening is to make me a better Christian. Jesus, I ask you continue to help me with my daily struggles and give me the guidance to follow your way in my life. I continue to pray for loved ones that they feel your comfort and peace and that, if they are not following your plan for them that you chastise them in some way that they may become more receptive to your will and guidance. Thank you Lord for my salvation and the forgiveness you show me.